Bumper evolution


Car bumpers, since about 10 years ago, have been made to look like a seamless extension of the car itself. Not surprisingly, damaging your bumper has become tantamount to damaging your car’s body, with the expected high costs. Can it be said that, in effect, cars today don’t have bumpers at all?

A little background: before 1973 or so, bumpers were separate units but small. Then for about twenty years cars came with beefy bumpers. Since then, it’s been what I’d call “null bumpers”.


bumpers in new cars are just a piece of empty plastic that cracks , drop or fly away with a little crash they basically provied minium or no protection to the car besides the fact that is painted the same color of the car so if you scrath it at about 1-4 mph on a parking lot pray that you are lucky enough to only have superficial one so you can take it out with rubbing compound otherwise you have to paint the complete bumper or live with the scratch


It’s all about focusing on minimizing damage to people in higher-speed crashes at the expense of more damage being caused to your car in lower-speed crashes. The trouble is that those big hunks of chrome hanging off of old cars focus the energy in a higher speed collision which prevents the crumple zones from working properly and maximizes damage to the other car. Newer cars still have solid metal behind the bit of plastic that helps absorb damage in a medium-speed crash, but they don’t help you at all in parking lot type accidents.


Some cars have unpainted bumpers, like two-door Cavaliers from the 90s and some newer minivans. In that case, it can take a very mild impact without damage. If the bumper is painted, I agree, it will show evidence of the slightest impact, just like the rest of the body. My painted bumpers are all scratched up. I have thought about stripping the paint off and leaving them unpainted.


Bumpers had to meet minimum standards for impacts of 5 MPH for the front, 2.5 MPH for the rear (at least those were the standards initially) without damage to the main body structure. The bumpers themselves could be damaged, however. When these standards were being phased in starting with the 1973 model year, the auto makers simply grafted the large battering ram-style bumpers with some sort of shock absorbing device onto the older bodies. This approach was heavy and ugly.

Current bumpers still have to meet crash standards (I think they were reduced somewhere along the line), but the current designs also factor in style, weight, and aerodynamics. Newly-emerging pedestrian safety standards will lead to further changes.


I remember my dad old chevrolet beretta it was a 86 -89 model dont remeber the point is that the bumper was not from steel but still it has very hard very rigid and firm plastic and if you remove it you will find 2 shock absorbers atach to the body frame sometimes my dad was careless and hit it with the wall will parking the car on the garage guess what happen the car just bounced and guess what happen to the bumper? absolutly nothing not even a scracth .
guess what happen with my toyota echo if i do that i am lucky if i dont have the bumper fall apart on me really ridiculus


What you see is just the cover for show and aerodynamics. The real bumber is the stiffener and shocks behind the cover. Yes they scratch and tear easily but also fairly cheap.

I had a 59 VW bug and the bumpers were nothing more than about an 1/8" steel. The supports were nothing but sheet metal. I managed to back into a light pole at about 2 MPH and pretty much destroyed the bumper. Then I had a 59 Pontiac. The bumpers on that were like tank armor. One end was bent out a little and no matter what I did to try and bend it back in place, nothing worked. Hammer, tree, etc.

Just depended on the car, not the year. But today’s cars are designed to crush and absorb impact vs. bouncing off an object. They are much safer now but cause more damage to the car.


Plastic bumpers for plastic cars.


Due to federal crash protection regulations, manufacturers have continued to design systems that more and more absorb the impact in a crash via collapse of the outer body structures and keep the passenger cabin intact, as well as designing in more airbags to absort the inertia of the driver and passengers and to keep them seperated from hard surfaces. While it has resulted in crumply bumpers, it has also saved countless lives and prevented countless serious injuries.


Plastic bumpers for plastic cars.

I wish. My car would look a lot better than it does if the whole body was plastic. If Saturn had made better cars ten years ago, I would be driving around with those dent-resistent side panels now.


I just hate the look of post-chrome bumpers on cars, they just look cheap (probably because they are cheap).