Why Your Bumper is Important
The purpose of having a bumper on your car is very specific. Many people think that it’s purpose is to prevent or lessen injury severity in a crash. In fact, bumpers are not considered safety features intended to protect occupants at all. The purpose of bumpers is to reduce or prevent physical damage to the front and rear of vehicles in low-speed crashes. The bumpers are designed to protect the hood, trunk, grill, fuel, exhaust and cooling system. A bumper is a shield that is usually made of steel, aluminum, rubber or plastic. It absorbs shocks from car accidents.
The standard requires protection in the region 16 to 20 inches above the road surface. It also says the front and rear bumpers should prevent damage at barrier impact speeds of 2.5 mph across the full width and 1.5 mph on the corners. The manufacturer can do these things in whatever way they prefer. For example, they don’t have to have a bumper go totally across , if they have bumper guards and corner guards placed strategically. You might think that all vehicles have to follow the Federal Regulations for bumpers. But, that is not the case. this Federal standard only applies to passenger vehicles: cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks. No other vehicle type has these regulations. This is because a bumper could compromise the loading ramp operations or off road situations.
The bumper protection standard mentioned above has not been updated since 1982, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not run tests in regards to the bumper standard since 1987.
How Do I Know If My Vehicle’s Bumper Meets or Exceeds the Standard?
Vehicle manufacturers self-certify their products to meet the bumper standard, thought they might be exceeding the standard. Many manufacturers voluntarily put bumper protection performance information on window stickers of new passenger cars being sold. Only California and Hawaii require manufacturers to specifically disclose a vehicles bumper performance capabilities.