Bumper Bracket Buyer's Guide
- A bumper bracket is a metal mount that connects the bumper to the vehicle frame.
- Its job is to secure the bumper onto the vehicle’s body, absorb low speed impact and help redistribute collision energy away from the passenger cabin.
- Bumper brackets are typically made of plastic, steel, aluminum, and fiberglass.
- OEM replacement parts can cost you anywhere between $10 to $1,300. These parts are sold individually, in sets of 2 to 6, or as part of a bumper kit.
Most of the time, the car parts we rarely see are those that play a vital role in keeping us safe on the road. A car’s bumper may look simple from the outside, but underneath the plastic cover is a well-designed system made up of several components. These parts work together in minimizing damage to important safety systems and passengers during a collision. Let’s take a closer look at one of these components–the automotive bumper bracket.
What is a bumper bracket?
A bumper bracket is basically a metal mount that connects the bumper to the vehicle frame. It was originally designed as an exposed metal support which held the bumper in place. Today, bumper brackets are a concealed feature, designed to absorb low speed impact and help redistribute collision energy away from the passenger cabin.
How does a bumper bracket work?
The bumper bracket acts as a metal mount for a vehicle’s bumper. It is typically installed on the left and right corner of a car’s front and rear. Some vehicles also feature a center bracket. Its job is to secure the bumper onto the vehicle’s body. Over the years, its function has changed to improve car safety. To better understand how a bumper mount works, let’s do a quick recap of the history of bumpers.
The history of bumpers
Bumpers have been a main feature of automobiles since the 1920s. In its early days, it was purely a decorative feature which was only attached to the front of the vehicle. As demand grew, people used chrome and steel to create flashy designs. These were in no way meant to resist or absorb collision force from objects and other vehicles on the road. Front bumper brackets were also an exterior component that was only meant to hold the metal bumper in place.
While chromed metal bars seemed like a good way to protect the body of a vehicle, it wasn’t effective in preventing extensive vehicle damage and passenger injury. Metal bumpers were also prone to dents and bending, even at low-speed impact.
Over five decades, changes in crash safety regulations pushed car manufacturers to rethink the way the first bumpers worked. They shifted their focus towards developing components that can dissipate force in order to minimize vehicle damage and ensure passenger safety. This led to the development of bumpers systems that are less rigid and more flexible.
Bumper brackets play an important role in maintaining the ability of a bumper to absorb initial impact. In some vehicles, crushable brackets are installed to help absorb shock. As the kinetic energy is mostly spent on crushing these front components, less energy is transferred to critical components like the engine and the passenger cabin.
What are the types of bumper brackets?
Bumper brackets are typically made of four materials: plastic, steel, aluminum, and fiberglass.
Steel has been used in bumper systems for decades. It’s known for being a tough and resilient material. Unlike stainless steel, carbon steel parts require paint and treatment in order to prevent rust and corrosion.
Aluminum car parts provide the durability of steel without adding extra weight to your vehicle. This material is also more malleable, has less tendency to crack during fabrication and are more cost-effective than steel.
More and more vehicle parts that used to be made of steel or aluminum are now being replaced by heavy duty plastics. Often referred to as thermoplastics, these materials are designed to resist heat, impact, and chemical damage. Its main advantage over its metal counterparts is that it not prone to rust and corrosion.
Fiberglass brackets are often paired with bumpers made of thesame material. This type of car bracket is known for its durability and flexibility. While it can be bent and hold its shape to a certain degree, it can be prone to cracks once hit with significant force.
When is a bumper bracket replacement needed?
Bumper brackets must be checked for damage every time the bumper is hit in a collision. Driving with a damaged or misaligned bracket can compromise the safety of your vehicle. If the bumper bracket is not properly secured, it may fall off while driving and put other people on the road in danger.
Rust and corrosion may also weaken the mount. Swift replacement of rusted and corroded parts is important to protect other components of your vehicle from obtaining damage as well.
How much are replacement bumper brackets?
The cost of bumper brackets varies depending on your vehicle’s year, model and make. OEM replacement parts can cost you anywhere between $10 to $1,300. These parts are sold individually, in sets of 2 to 6, or as part of a bumper kit. While it is possible to install bumper brackets on your own, we recommend going to a trusted mechanic to ensure proper and secure fitting.
Geared Up and Prepared: Replacing Your Car's Bumper Bracket
Bumpers are your protectors against massive damage during low-speed collisions. Upon experiencing a mild collision, bumpers are usually left with dents but are still repairable. However, if your car gets a mild hit and the bumper slumps already, it's telling you that you need a new bumper bracket to support it. Changing your bumper bracket is relatively simple and can be done in your own garage.
Here's a step by step procedure on how to replace your bumper bracket:
Difficulty level: Moderate
Tools to be used:
- Socket and ratchet set
- Trim panel removal tool
- New bumper bracket
Step 1: Locate a level surface and park your car. Open the hood and detach the bumper cover from your vehicle by loosening the cover with a door trim panel.
Step 2: At the end of the bumper cover in the wheelwell, you'll notice clips or screws along the top and bottom throughout the cover. Unfasten all these clips or unbolt these screws mounting the bumper cover to your car. Set the bumper aside and place it on a safe location to prevent damaging it.
Step 3: Disengage any wires or connectors such as fog lights from the bumper. Then, locate the bumper bracket or "side supports" beneath the fender on the right and left side of your vehicle.
Step 4: Unbolt the brackets from your car by removing the two bolts holding the bumper brackets. Check the area, around and underneath the bumper bracket, carefully for any damage that may impede the bracket installation.
Step 5: Get your new bumper brackets and install them on their respective places. Tighten each bolt to secure the bracket.
Step 6: Attach the bumper cover to the bumper brackets. Lock the bumper cover on the bracket by sliding it back and forth. Reattach the clips or screws and make sure that they are secured tight enough.