The Main Differences Between Plastic & Metal Bumpers

Published On: April 1, 2020

When comparing vintage cars to modern production models, one of the most noticeable differences is in their bumpers. Vintage cars often have large, gleaming bumpers made from steel that jut out slightly from the front and back of the vehicle. Modern cars, however, feature smaller, slimmer bumpers that blend in with the car’s panels and fenders. When you’re looking for mobile bumper repair in Riverside, it’s important to know the difference between the two materials and understand why plastic has largely replaced metal in automobile bumpers. 

Metal Bumpers

The first car bumpers were created all the way back in 1901 and consisted of metal beams attached to the front and rear of the car to protect it during a low-speed collision. Designed to protect the expensive and fragile components like the headlights, tail lights, hood, exhaust, and cooling systems, early metal bumpers were focused on sheer resilience. Made from chromium-plated steel, bumpers on cars from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s are large, heavy, and shiny. While relatively durable, they are also expensive to manufacture. They are also more prone to denting than plastic, but at the same time they are more difficult to repair. Today, metal bumpers are typically only seen on vintage cars and larger commercial vehicles such as freight trucks.

Plastic Bumpers

Modern consumer production cars have almost completely switched over to plastic bumpers. Modern car bumpers are made from thermoplastic olefins, a blend of plastic molecules, rubber, and a reinforcing filler like carbon fiber or calcium carbonate. This blend of materials creates a scratch and impact-resistant plastic that can bond with a wide range of paints and finishes, making it ideal for vehicle bumpers. Plastic is the preferred material for modern car bumpers for several reasons. First and foremost, plastic is much lighter and more aerodynamic than metal, which improves the car’s fuel efficiency. Plastic is also easier to shape, which is useful during both the manufacturing and bumper repair process. In fact, plastic’s malleability is a large part of why paintless dent repair (PDR) techniques are possible. PDR is one of the most convenient and affordable services we offer for bumper repair in Orange County.

Plastic is also considered to be safer than metal as a bumper material since plastic does a better job of absorbing an impact during an accident. This is because plastic is meant to crumple and dent during an accident rather than hold its shape. This may sound bad, but when your plastic bumper dents or cracks, it is absorbing the impact energy that would otherwise get transferred to you. Ultimately, it’s better that your bumper suffers damage than you do.

If you need convenient and affordable mobile bumper repair in Riverside, trust the experts at Bumper Buddies. We’re skilled at a wide range of repair techniques, and we offer some of the best rates for bumper repair in Orange County and the Inland Empire. If you’d like to get a free estimate on the cost of fixing your metal or plastic bumper, give us a call at (909) 479-6868 today.

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