Bumper Reflector Buyer's Guide
- Usually made of molded plastic, bumper reflectors reflect light coming from other vehicles’ automotive lighting through the process of retroreflection. This makes your bumper visible even at night, helping other drivers keep a safe distance.
- Too much exposure to UV rays coming from the sun can damage the quality of your bumper reflector lens. Road debris may also cause cracks, scratches, or dents.
- A bumper reflector usually costs around $50 to $100, depending on the brand. It can get sold individually or in sets of two or four.
A lot of car components assist in road safety. Automotive lights, for example, help the drivers see the road ahead and make the vehicle visible to nearby motorists, especially in the dark. What if these lights fail? Driving a vehicle with faulty automotive lights is not a good idea, but you’ll never know. There are many reasons a car’s automotive lighting can fail suddenly. Thankfully, vehicles and trucks equip another line of defense called bumper reflectors.
Before discussing the specifics of a bumper reflector, let us first discuss safety reflectors in general. Safety reflectors refer to either a device or a sticker made specifically for road visibility. Reflectors are not just for motorists but also pedestrians and runners. Even non-motorized vehicles such as bicycles have safety reflectors installed. The main purpose of a safety reflector is to make the object installed with one, visible to other motorists and pedestrians on the road. Thanks to science and the process of retroreflection, these devices got invented to aid in road safety.
Usually, the most basic reflectors get made using molded tiles or transparent plastic. The outside surface is usually smooth, allowing reflection from other light sources. Safety reflectors often get called luminous badges or tags, but they do not produce light. They just reflect light coming from other light sources.
What is a bumper reflector and where is it installed?
Bumper reflectors are one of the most popular types of automobile reflectors found in the market today. Usually made of molded plastic, they reflect the light coming from other vehicles’ headlights through the process of retroreflection. This makes your bumper visible even at night, helping other drivers keep a safe distance. Bumper reflectors usually sit on or attach to the bumper itself using adhesive. Self-adhesive bumper reflectors are much easier to install. Also called bumper reflector stickers, installing one will just take you less than five minutes. Attaching a housed bumper reflector will require you to remove the entire front or rear bumper. The exact location and specification of your vehicle’s bumper reflector will depend on your vehicle’s year, make and model.
Why should I replace a damaged bumper reflector?
Just like any other vehicle part, your bumper reflectors can get damaged for several reasons. Too much exposure to UV rays coming from the sun can damage the quality of your bumper reflector lens. Since these reflectors sit on the bumper, they also get exposed to road debris. They may crack, scratch or even break your bumper reflector. In case you need to replace a damaged reflector, here are reasons to motivate you to replace it right away.
Having good bumper reflectors may help you avoid unwanted accidents on the road, especially bumper to bumper collisions. If you come to think of it, it is more practical to replace a damaged bumper reflector than to replace the whole bumper set. Avoid getting involved in collisions and replace your damaged bumper reflector immediately.
Aside from practicality, another major reason is safety. Your bumper reflectors are part of your vehicle’s safety features. Bumper reflectors are your second line of defense, next to automotive lights, against unwanted collisions. They not only serve as a warning device when you’re driving but also when you park your car. Just in case you park or stop in an unlighted corner, bumper reflectors will keep your car visible to other motorists. Driving around with faulty bumper reflectors will put you and your passengers’ safety at risk.
Customization and Aesthetics
If the reasons mentioned above are not enough, this might help. Aside from being a safety feature, your car’s aesthetic appeal may be one reason you would like to replace your damaged reflector. Driving around with a damaged bumper reflector will create a negative impression. It will also lessen your vehicle’s resale value. A lot of car owners also use bumper reflector replacement as an opportunity to customize their vehicles. There are a lot of options for you to choose from if you want unique bumper reflector sets for your vehicle. Some even install LED bumper reflectors to make their vehicle stand out.
Compliance with Traffic Laws
Last, the law requires your vehicle to have working bumper reflectors. Driving around with a faulty reflector is a traffic violation. To avoid getting a ticket, make sure that your vehicle’s accessories comply with your state’s existing traffic laws.
What should I look for when buying bumper reflectors?
Bumper reflectors are everywhere on the internet. If you’re looking for one and you do not know yet what to get, you may get overwhelmed by the choices available to you. First, bumper reflectors should use quality plastic materials. It is important to make sure that your bumper reflectors reflect light effectively. There are a lot of affordable options available in the market, but make sure not to compromise the quality of your reflector. Many high-quality options sell at an equally reasonable price. Before buying one, look at the product specification details to make sure that the reflector fits your vehicle. If you aim for upgrade or customization, look for one with an attractive finish.
How much does a bumper reflector cost?
A bumper reflector usually costs around $50 to $100, depending on the brand. It can sell individually or in sets of two or four. Bumper reflectors can also form a part of a kit. To ensure that you are getting the right fit for your vehicle, enter the correct details and vehicle information in our search engine.
Bumper reflectors, along with other automotive reflectors and lights play a very important role in ensuring you and your passenger’s safety while on the road. It is best to have a damaged one replaced right away. Choose the one that best fits your vehicle.
Choosing the Right Bumper Reflector
Along with license plate lights, headlight and taillight requirements, having a bumper reflector is something that is required by law in all states. In 2001, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration required all new passenger cars to have bumper reflectors. In 2007, these safety features became a requirement for light trucks and vans as well. Motor vehicle inspectors now require that a car must have at least two red reflectors on its rear bumper. Additionally, the Traffic Safety Administration mandated that these reflectors must be visible for 350 feet when illuminated by head lamps. If you are on the hunt for a quality bumper reflector, we have put together a quick guide to help you choose the right one for your car.
Why should you buy a bumper reflector?
Besides being required by the law, bumper reflectors also serve to keep you safe while you are driving, as well as when your car is parked. Bumper-mounted reflectors have been found to reduce rear-end collisions significantly. When you park your car on a dark road, or stop on the road shoulder at night, you are prone to unintentional collisions. A bumper reflector lowers this risk.
Some features to look for when buying a new bumper reflector are:
- Resistance to corrosion or vibration
- Easy installation
- Mounts on flat or curved surfaces
- Candlepower per square foot (this will tell you the amount of light it can reflect)
- Attractive finish
As the bumper reflector is constantly exposed to harsh elements like weather and road debris, it must be durable and must be resistant to crusting. If it's of the adhesive type, it must not lose adhesion too soon, especially if the bumper reflector is frequently exposed to water or rain. Most reflectors are colored red, and have prismatic designs that blend in nicely with most taillights that are similarly colored red.
Housed or self-adhesive?
Depending on your car's make and model, the bumper reflectors are either housed in the bumper or simply mounted using adhesive. Installation for adhesive reflectors is simple enough, and takes about 1-2 minutes to do. For housed reflectors, the process is not that simple-it will require removing the bumper and reaching for screws behind it-but is not very hard to go through. Make sure you buy the right type and size for your car, especially since the reflector should fit inside the housing inside the bumper.
A good bumper reflector can last up to 7 years with constant care. Even if it prevents only a small percentage of rear-end collisions, it is a cost-effective feature that promotes safety.
How to Install Your New Bumper Reflector
For the enthusiastic DIYer, most bumper reflectors are easy enough to install. Self-adhesive reflectors can be installed in as little as two minutes. Some, however, require you to remove screws or even housings during installation. You might have a car model that has reflectors housed inside the bumper, with screws that can only be reached inside. Here are step-by-step instructions that apply to a Nissan 350Z and for models with a similar reflector setup.
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools you'll need:
- Flat head screwdriver
- 10- mm socket wrench
- Flat-head screwdriver
Step 1: Locate the bumper reflectors just below the headlights. Its screws are located inside the front bumper, so you'll need to take that off first. To do this, pop the hood, and use a flat head screwdriver to detach the six clips at the top of the bumper.
Step 2: Using a 10-mm socket wrench, unscrew the screws underneath the front of the car. There are a total of eight screws-five of them are along the front edge, while the other three are located not that far from the first five.
Step 3: There are two screws on both sides of the car, one on each side where the bumper and fender meet. Remove these using a 10-mm socket wrench.
Step 4: You should now be able to take the bumper off. Do this, and if it doesn't budge, check if you have missed removing any of the clips and screws.
Step 5: You now have access to the screws that secure the old front reflector. Remove the two screws, and replace the old reflector with the new one.
Step 6: Replace the bumper, and make sure to replace all screws and clips you removed or detached when you pulled the bumper out. Close the hood, and you're all set.