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Believe it or not, the bumpers on your car are some of the most important parts of the vehicle. They limit damage from minor accidents, protect the other components from crashes, and add to the overall flair of your ride.

As such, it’s important to choose high-quality bumpers if you’re considering getting new ones.

Things to Consider When Choosing Car Bumpers

There are different factors to consider in picking a quality bumper. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind before shopping for one:


While bumpers are usually made of plastic, some manufacturers opt to stick to traditional materials, such as steel or aluminum. Consider what material best suits your vehicle’s overall look and aesthetic.

Consider what material best suits your vehicle’s overall look and aesthetic.

Factor in the safety and longevity of the material. For example, plastic is the standard material used because it’s safer in the event of you hitting a pedestrian since plastic isn’t as hard as metal. Additionally, plastic bumpers have a much longer lifespan because they won’t rust or corrode like metal.

OEM or Aftermarket

Some car owners turn to aftermarket bumpers to save more. But there are downsides to picking them over original equipment manufactured (OEM) ones. One of which is aftermarket pieces don’t last as long as OEM bumpers.

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This is because some aftermarket manufacturers like to cut corners on quality. In addition, many aftermarket bumper covers don’t fit perfectly, so they may not stay in place as well as they should.

On the other hand, OEMs cost more upfront since they’re brand new and high-quality. In the long run, OEM bumpers pay for themselves since they last longer than aftermarkets.


Bumpers can be expensive, with high-quality ones reaching close to $2,000, or more, without the installation or labor fee. Before choosing a replacement bumper, consider your budget without disregarding quality. While saving money upfront is tempting, it’s best to choose a quality piece, as you’ll get more value from it in the long run. 

Some factors that affect the price of bumpers include the materials used, if it’s OEM or aftermarket, and the bumper type.

What Are Car Bumpers For?

Besides adding to the overall aesthetic of the vehicle, bumpers reduce the damage to the front and rear of vehicles in minor collisions or low-speed crashes. They protect the hood, trunk, grille, fuel, exhaust, and cooling system of your car.

Different Types of Car Bumpers

As mentioned above, there are different types of car bumpers. All of which have their own purpose, advantages, and disadvantages over the others.

different types of car bumper
There are different types of car bumpers. All of which have their own purpose, advantages, and disadvantages over the others.

Standard Bumper

A standard bumper is the most common and frequently installed bumper on vehicles. It stretches from the front left to right and is mainly produced by the vehicle’s manufacturers to fit that certain vehicle.

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It does a fairly good job protecting your vehicle from minor collisions and accidents.

Deep Drop Bumpers or Cowboy Bumpers

Deep drop bumpers, or cowboy bumpers, are slightly taller and longer than standard bumpers. They’re better equipped for heavy workloads and damage prevention. This is because of their unique, almost hexagonal shape. This makes them more durable and allows for extra towing capacity.

You’ll often find deep drop bumpers on older trucks. They’re also usually chrome plated, which helps make these bumpers more durable than standard plastic ones.

Tube Bumper

Tuber bumpers rest over the vehicle’s lights instead of the usual placement below the grill. They’re also lighter compared to other types of bumpers, but equally as durable and stylish.

Roll Pan Bumper

Roll pan bumpers value functionality over aesthetics, as they blend in with the bottom of the vehicle. This type of bumper is harder to spot.

Step Bumper

Step bumpers are similar to a standard bumper, but they have a step in the middle. It’s often attached to pickup trucks to make it easier to get into the truck bed.

4 Common Car Bumper Materials

Besides the different types and functionality, bumpers are manufactured from different types of materials. Some have advantages over others, so it’s important to consider this before replacing or upgrading your bumper.

Here are the common materials used for modern-day bumpers:


Plastic has become the standard material used for bumpers. While they’re not as durable as the rest, plastic bumpers are safer in the event of a collision with pedestrians. Additionally, they have a longer lifespan than steel since they don’t corrode.

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Carbon Steel

Carbon steel bumpers are a subtype of steel bumpers but are stronger than the stainless steel variant. They’re often used on trucks and off-roading vehicles since they require additional strength.

Some downsides to carbon steel are that it’s heavier and prone to corrosion.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel bumpers are another subtype of steel bumpers. They’re similar to carbon steel bumpers, but stainless steel is less prone to corrosion. As such, they’re more expensive compared to the other materials listed here.

However, as far as quality goes, you could argue it’s the most cost-efficient of the materials.

Aluminum Alloy

Aluminum alloy bumpers are lightweight, rust-proof, and require less maintenance compared to other materials. They’re great options for performance vehicles since they weigh less than steel and look better aesthetically.

How Much Do Bumpers Cost?

Aftermarket car bumpers can go for as low as $200 or as high as $2,000. The price will vary depending on the quality, material, and type of bumper you’re getting. This excludes the labor fee which could cost you another $50 to $215 per hour.

About The Authors
Lisa Conant, Automotive Features Reviewer at
Reviewed By Lisa Conant

Automotive Features Reviewer at

Lisa Conant grew up in Canada around a solid contingency of gear heads and DIY motor enthusiasts. She is an eclectic writer with a varied repertoire in the automotive industry, including research pieces with a focus on daily drivers and recreational vehicles. Lisa has written for Car Bibles and The Drive.

CarParts Research Team
Written By Research Team

Automotive and Tech Writers

The Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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