Bumper Reinforcement Buyer's Guide
- The bumper reinforcement is a solid bar that provides support and cushion to the front and rear of a car, minimizing the impact of a collision.
- It reduces the effect of impact on a vehicle by absorbing force and limiting the damage to the bumper.
- Reinforcement bars are fabricated from high-quality aluminum, hard thermoplastics, steel, fiberglass, and other composite materials.
- Urethane, layered fiberglass, vinyl ester resins, and gel-coat paint are some of the materials that make bumper reinforcements strong.
- Damaged and bent bumper bars must always be replaced, never repaired.
- A bumper reinforcement replacement also prevents damage, keeps internal parts safe, and staves off rust and corrosion.
- OEM replacement parts typically cost anywhere from $30 to $2,500. These components are sold individually, in sets of 2, or as part of a kit.
- Installing your new front bumper reinforcement on your own is easy with the right tools and skills.
Collision safety systems have gone a long way from the days of solid metal bumpers. Vehicles today sport softer front and rear bumper covers which crumple in collisions. While this may seem counterintuitive, it’s made vehicles safer for drivers and passengers. Instead of solely resisting force, modern bumpers are made to absorb and dissipate impact from objects and other vehicles. The bumper reinforcement is one of the key components that make your ride safer.
What is a bumper reinforcement?
A bumper reinforcement is a solid bar attached to the metal beam of your vehicle’s bumper. This is commonly referred to as the rebar or the bumper bar. To further understand what it is, let’s do a recap of the different components of your vehicle’s bumper.
The bumper cover is the external plastic or metal component that is often referred to as the bumper. Underneath it is a bumper absorber which is a plastic damper that collapses upon impact. Sandwiched between the absorber and the bumper itself is the rebar which helps keep the bumper stay in place.
The bumper reinforcement provides additional support and cushion to the front and rear of a car, minimizing the impact of a collision on the vehicle’s passengers. Its main purpose is to ensure that the bumper stays in place after a road accident.
How do bumper reinforcements work?
A bumper reinforcement works as a high-performance bar that bolsters your car’s collision safety system. Located underneath the bumper cover, it adds an additional layer of protection to the bumper beam that is connected to the vehicle’s frame.
In minor collisions, it reduces the effect of impact on a vehicle by absorbing force and limiting the damage to the bumper. Some bumper bars are hydraulic devices that can absorb force and rebound. It is often paired with a bumper absorber which allows the front of the vehicle to crumple in order to dampen the force from a collision.
Types of bumper reinforcements
In order to reduce the risk of injury and minimize damage to your vehicle, bumper reinforcements must be made of high-quality materials. Car manufacturers commonly use materials made from high-quality aluminum, hard thermoplastics, steel, fiberglass, and other composite materials. Bumper reinforcements are installed in the front and rear of the vehicle.
Bumper reinforcements come in three forms: as hydraulic devices, simple metal mounts, and rigid bars. Hydraulic reinforcements are designed to absorb collision energy and bounce back. Simple metal mounts are meant to bend and redirect force. Rigid bars add stability to the bumper beam and frame.
What makes a good bumper reinforcement?
Your life is at risk almost every day whenever you're driving on the road. That's why you have to take extra precaution and manage the wheel really well. Apart from that, you also have to make sure that your car's body is strong enough to protect you. It's your first defense against strong impacts of collision.
Bumper reinforcements that are installed in front and at the back of your car to absorb all the strong blows, if by any chance, you hit a wall or another vehicle. It prevents further damage to your car, especially the interior parts and the engine. Given all these importance of a bumper, you have to make sure that what you install in your vehicle is sturdy and dependable.
So what makes a strong and durable bumper? Here are some of special and high-grade materials used to make good bumper reinforcements.
Urethane is a kind of elastic polymer and often used interchangeably with the term rubber. For cars, urethane is often mixed with carbamite particles. Under urethane are two major categories: the ether-based and ester-based urethane. Ester based is softer than ether based. Ester-based bumper reinforcements are made through the molding process, which requires heat in order to cast the material into different shapes. Urethane is also very strong against scratches and impacts.
A bumper reinforcement made from fiberglass is created in such a way that a compact and highly dense core forms at the intersections of the fiberglass layers. This core is really strong enough to prevent any fracture in the bumper even if the car is subjected to a strong force of impact.
Vinyl Ester Resins
Vinyl type of ester resins is more suitable for bumper reinforcement than polyesters because it is way stronger. It can also resist moisture better. The particles from this type of resin also bonds absolutely great with the particles of fiberglass. When the two are combined together, they make a very good bumper reinforcement.
Car manufacturers use a special kind of paint for cars. The gel-like finish of this paint provides better water-resistance for the bumpers. This is to prevent water from seeping through the inside of the bumper and reaching the rubber and fiberglass that can eventually cause decay. This coat of paint is also very durable; it doesn't chip easily. It gives the car not only a glossy texture but also an added support.
Why is a replacement bumper reinforcement necessary?
Your vehicle’s bumper reinforcement plays a critical role in keeping you safe on the road. It is extremely dangerous to drive a car that has a damaged rebar. Without a reliable rigid bar to absorb collision energy, your vehicle can easily get totaled and passengers are at risk of suffering from serious injury.
Here are other reasons why replacement bumper reinforcements are necessary:
Superficial damage can compromise safety
While the bar itself is made of high-performance material, other components surrounding it can be prone to damage. Even the smallest tears, cracks, and deformation on the mount of the bumper bar can affect the crash characteristics of your vehicle. In the event that your car gets into a minor accident, we recommend going to a trusted mechanic to have the re-bar inspected for damage.
Always replaced, never repaired
Once damaged, bumper reinforcement bars cannot be repaired. Car manufacturers provide ample warning and prohibit any attempts to repair this part. Bars made from ultra-strength steel and composites are treated in high heat, making it difficult to re-heat and weld for repairs.
Bent rebars cannot be straightened out without damaging the material. Even the smallest dents will reveal microscopic tears that compromise the integrity of the bar. When this happens, the only way to fix it is to get it replaced.
Keep internal parts safe
Bumper reinforcements are specifically designed to diminish the impact of low-speed collisions. Upon impact, the bumper bar absorbs force and limits the damage to external parts of the vehicle such as the bumper cover, grille, or hood. This way, internal components under the hood such as the condenser or the radiator won’t need repairs or replacement from a simple fender bender.
Prevent rust and corrosion
Like any other metal component in your vehicle, rust and corrosion can inhibit the performance of your car’s bumper reinforcement. To prevent other parts of your vehicle from further damage, rusted parts must be switched out immediately.
How much is a bumper reinforcement?
The cost of a bumper reinforcement varies depending on your vehicle’s year, model, and make. OEM replacement parts typically cost anywhere between $30 and $2,500. These components are sold individually, in sets of 2, or as part of a kit.
While it may be possible to install this part on your own, we strongly recommend going to a trusted mechanic to have it replaced. Accessing the rebar can be tricky because several components of the front fascia may need to be removed. As an integral component of your car’s collision safety system, it’s best to have a professional handle installation to ensure proper alignment and secure fitting.
5 easy steps on how to install a front bumper reinforcement
Installing a new bumper reinforcement in your car may not be as easy as the other DIY replacement jobs. More often, this process is done in auto repair shops where a car mechanic does the job. However, if you feel like a pro and you want to take your tinker skills to a higher level, then feel free to do so. Nobody said that it can't be done anyway.
Since this task can be a little tough, utmost safety is required. Be sure to work wearing your most comfortable clothes and use safety gears all the time. Prepare the tools that you need and read the following steps carefully.
Duration: 30 minutes
- New bumper reinforcement
- Set of screwdrivers
Step 1: Inspect your current bumper reinforcement and verify the size, style, and material it is made of. It is very important for you to know if your vehicle requires a particular type of bumper. If you visit auto parts stores, you would notice that they sell bumpers that are tailored for particular car models. It is very important to get the one that fits your car.
Step 2: Remove the front bumper. The front bumper is composed of different layers: the cover, the energy absorbers, and the bumper reinforcement. These parts are usually bolted together. Use the right-sized screwdriver to take off the screws. After you remove one layer, you can start with the next one. It is better if you are working in a wide area so you can set aside one assembly from the others. Do not mix together the different parts especially the screws.
Step 3: Find the bumper reinforcement bar. You should find it behind the energy absorbers. Remove the screws and take it out of the vehicle completely.
Step 4: Fit the new bumper reinforcement in place. If you get the right bumper for your car, it should fit really well. Secure the crews and bolts to attach it firmly to your car.
Step 5: Follow the steps in reverse order to put back the other two layers of your car's front bumper. Make sure that you return all the screws in their place.
You're done! It's not that hard at all. You just have to concentrate a lot so you won't interchange the different layers of the front bumper. Enjoy this DIY maintenance job and take care!