Diagnosing Trouble with Your Dodge Durango Bumper-and What You Can Do About It
If there's one thing that you immediately notice about the Dodge Durango, it's that it has a huge bumper up front. That's a good thing, of course-all the better to absorb impact with. The bumper is such an integral part of safety-not to mention good taste-that it's impossible to conceive of anyone wanting to let their bumper fall apart. While it's admittedly a rare thing for a bumper to simply up and fall off, it does happen. The trick to heading off disaster before it arrives is to be attentive to the symptoms.
Rattling up front
The first clear sign that your bumper might be in trouble is if you start to hear rattling up front and below. The most vulnerable points, you see, on a bumper are at the junction where it attaches to the body of your Durango. When the rattling gets really loud, there is a very good chance that the bumper is nearing the end of its service life. What you can do at this point-short of replacing the whole bumper-is to reinforce the attachment points. Surprisingly enough, putty serves as an affordable and effective quick fix.
Micro cracks on the surface
Micro cracks-usually no greater than a couple of millimeters-are deceptive little dangers. Apart from the fact that they are difficult to spot via cursory examination, these tiny cracks give you the false impression that they're nothing to worry about. The thing with micro cracks is that they tend to slowly grow bigger and longer when subjected to constant vibration-which is what you get any time the Durango is running! Putty and even some epoxies can be used in a pinch to stem their growth. In fact, you can apply these from the inside so they are unnoticeable by everyone else.
Discoloration or gloss-loss
The least common symptom of bumper trouble is discoloration on the surface or a loss of the glossy look. This is usually due to localized heat damage. So long as the damage does not extend deep into the structure of the bumper-and you can check the interior of the bumper for this-a simple re-paint will do nicely.
Tip-Top Tips for Keeping your Dodge Durango Bumper in Tip-Top Shape
Nowadays, a lot of people tend to forget that bumpers are called bumpers because they were specifically designed to be bumped. Well, they're designed to absorb impact, to be more specific, yet the slightest damage to them drives people up the wall and scrambling to get it fixed. Especially Dodge Durango owners-they have their bumpers prominently displayed for all to see. This attitude might come off as prissy, but it might just be the kind of mindset to adapt to help a bumper last a long time. If you're the type that wants not a scratch on your bumpers, here are a few tips you can follow:
You probably knew the "clean" part already, right? It's actually the carefully that is critical here. Most people, in cleaning their bumpers end up damaging it worse. So, to start off: never dry-wipe your bumper. No matter how soft the cloth, if you wipe dirt while the cloth is dry, you risk having the tiny dirt particles slide across the bumper's surface, and scratching it badly. If the dirt you are trying to clean off is particularly thick, wet the area and give time for the dirt to moisten up before wiping it away. Some people even advice "dabbing" gently on the surface.
If you aren't too keen on the extra work of waxing your bumper, now is a good time to start developing the habit. With the right-weather-proof, moisture-proof-kind of wax, you add a layer of protection over your bumper and even keep it shiny. If you already like the idea of waxing, it's important to clean the bumper thoroughly and to dry it vigorously before applying any wax. With a good coat of wax every three months, your bumper can stay shiny and look like new for a long time.
Don't ignore the little cracks and damages that form on the surface of your bumper. These little cracks, over time-and with constant vibration-can grow much bigger and longer if left unattended. There are custom-made and sold bumper repair kits. Putty and even duct tape can serve as a quick fix if time and money don't allow. The point is to do damage control early on enough!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are winch bumpers, and how are they advantageous for off-road applications?
Winch bumpers are simply metal bumpers with mechanical spools attached to them. This mechanical device, or winch, is usually mounted on the front bumper as part of its structure or as an additional fitting. A winch bumper or bumper with winch mountings is a very useful addition to any work vehicle and is usually used to provide pulling assistance for handling cargo and towing. However, a winch bumper on an off-road vehicle can be described as a life-saving device more than a simple hauling tool. Winches can act as a truck's self-recovery device when it is caught or submerged in difficult-to-handle terrain. Instead of pulling objects towards a destination when installed on a work vehicle's bumper, the winch on an off-roader is used more in pulling the truck out and away from sticky situations than dragging stuff along the road.
What is the best kind of bumper for an off-road vehicle like a Dodge Durango?
Vehicles used for off-road applications, such as the Dodge Durango, require a bumper that will outride rough terrain. Aside from being sturdy and durable, it should also be abrasion-resistant. Since off-road activities will expose the truck to all kinds of weather conditions, road debris, and dirt, a bumper with a simple coating of paint is not enough to keep the front and rear protected while still looking pristine. A primered or textured metal bumper would be the best choice for a Dodge Durango. Although most vehicles would shy away from the heavy weight of metal bumpers, a heavy-duty truck will benefit from its strong makeup and can even help hold the truck's ground during rocky slopes. It is also suggested to pick up a bumper that comes with a variety of fittings that can enhance the utility of the vehicle. A metal bumper with provisions for fog lights, winches, and/or other fittings is the perfect overall bumper that will complete a Dodge Durango's off-road experience.
What kind of bumper finish is the most resistant to rust and road debris?
When choosing a front or rear bumper for a Dodge Durango, it is important to consider how long it would last given the driving lifestyle of the truck. The life of the bumper would depend not just on its material but also on the finish. In order to withstand the demands of the backcountry, a bumper must be coated with a primer coat that features superior coverage, paint adhesion, and abrasion resistance. Most bumpers are dipped in industry standard "E-coat" to achieve these features. So be sure that the Dodge Durango bumper is either primered with this substance and/or is powdered with additional protective coating to give it a more durable exterior when off the road.