Be honest: do you ever really think about the bumper on your vehicle? Are you aware of the purpose it serves? Do you know what it is made of? Do you know what the Safety Standards are in regards to that bumper? Well get ready for a Primer on Automobile Bumpers.
Bumpers have undergone quite a transformation over the years. Vehicles prior to 1973 had bumpers and bumper parts made mostly of a metal of some sort. In 1973 the safety standards were relaxed quite a bit, most likely at the urging of the automobile makers in America to cut costs. At that time, it was required that the front bumper and vehicle be able to sustain a collision with minimal damage at 5 mph while the rear bumper was only tested at a little more than two mph.
The reality of that standard was that passengers in a vehicle were not protected by the bumpers in any real collision; sure, you could feel pretty good going up against a grocery cart, but one-on-one against another vehicle you were going to see damage of varying degrees to both the vehicle and the passenger. Safety Standards tightened a bit during the late seventies but then again at the urging of the automobile makers the standards reached their current level by the early 1980’s, which meant protection was minimal for passengers, so that today we either see the bumpers made of rubber or plastic or a combination of the two.
The interesting part of this study shows that much more consideration was given for the protection of a pedestrian than for the passenger in a vehicle, so that today’s bumpers are not nearly as deadly for pedestrians as they once were. Good news indeed if you are walking!
The bumpers on your vehicle do in fact serve the purpose of protecting your headlights and tail lights, and the shock absorbers built into the bumper can keep you from bending the frame of your vehicle at low speeds, which is truly good news.
Having said all that, let’s assume that you are one of the millions of Americans who will find yourself in need of a bumper at some point. Replacement parts for bumpers are expensive and there is no logical reason for getting a replacement bumper anywhere else than at a salvage yard. Bumpers are relatively easy to replace, even for a novice, and the savings on labor and the actual used part is so high that it is foolish to go anywhere else but a junk yard for your bumper needs.