Why should I upgrade my bumper?
Upgrading your stock bumper to a quality off-road bumper can be a very costly decision, but it comes with many advantages. These advantages are not limited only to those that use their vehicle for off-roading. Those of us who prefer to stay on the asphalt will see some serious benefits as well.
The first and probably biggest advantage of a steel off-road bumper is the protection that it offers. The front and back of your vehicle are the most commonly damaged areas. The heavy duty construction of these bumpers mean that they can take a pretty substantial hit with minimum damage. I have personally seen a car hit the back of a truck with a steel bumper at 20+ mph and the truck drove away unscathed. There are many variables in an accident, so this will not always be the case, but your chances of minimizing damage are substantially higher with an off-road bumper. Besides the protection offered in an impact situation, many off-road bumpers provide brush guards and ram bars that help to protect the whole front of your truck, especially the headlights.
Another very important advantage to an off-road bumper is an increase in your vehicle’s angle of approach. Imagine drawing a line from where your tire sits on the ground to the lowest point on your bumper. This is your angle of approach and it determines how steep of a slope that vehicle can travel up, starting from a level position, without damaging the bumper. Because off-road bumpers typically sit much higher than stock ones, they allow for a much steeper angle of approach. This is extremely important for those who use their 4x4s for actual off-road applications. Many people upgrade their front bumpers, but not their back ones which is fine if you primarily stay on the asphalt and just want the bumper for its appearance and functionality. If, however, you plan to off-road and expect your vehicle to climb steep slopes, it is very important to upgrade your rear bumper as well. Getting your vehicle to start up a steep grade is only half the battle. As your rear tires reach the beginning of the incline, you must now worry about your rear bumper hitting the level surface that you just left. This is where your angle of departure comes in play. Again, imagine drawing a line from the bottom of your rear tire to the bottom of your rear bumper and you have your angle of departure. An off-road bumper will increase this angle and hopefully keep your bumper from hitting the ground.
Upgrading your bumper will offer many advantages besides the ones that you will experience while actually driving the vehicle. For this reason, these bumpers are also often referred to as utility or winch bumpers. Many aftermarket bumpers are designed to withstand the stress of an electric winch. The uses of a powerful winch are basically endless. The most important being that if your vehicle or someone else’s gets stuck, a winch is the most effective method of getting un-stuck. These bumpers also almost always have mounting points for additional lighting which will make it easier to see your buddy’s truck as you pull him out of the ditch. Another huge benefit of a heavy duty utility bumper is that they typically have large shackles mounted to them. This gives you a spot to anchor to or pull from without having to climb under your truck in the mud, dirt, and snow. While a heavy duty, rugged design makes these bumpers extremely useful, it also provides their greatest downfall. Most of them are extremely heavy. This can affect a vehicle’s stance, handling, acceleration, and fuel economy. There is, however a solution to this problem, but it is a costly one. Some manufacturers offer aluminum winch bumpers which are significantly lighter than steel ones. They offer all of the functionality and protection of a steel bumper, but are a fraction of the weight.
There are many reasons to upgrade to heavy duty off-road bumpers. Their strength and protection open up a whole world of functionality for your vehicle. If you plan on going off-road, they are almost a necessity. Give us a call today so we can find a bumper that meets your specific needs.