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Do You Know---Why Almost 90% Modern Car Bumpers are Made of Plastic?

Views: 256     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-03-29      Origin: Site

What is a Car Bumper?

A bumper is a structure attached to or integrated with the front and rear ends of a motor vehicle, to absorb impact in a minor collision, ideally minimizing repair costs. Bumpers are one of the most common repairs that you will see in an auto body shop. Bumpers have been part of the vehicle framework since around 1901. When you compare vintage and modern cars, you’ll notice that one of the differences is in the bumper.


Vintage cars have shiny metal bumpers made of steel while modern cars will often have plastic bumpers that match with the panels and fenders of the vehicle.

In fact, stiff metal bumpers appeared on automobiles as early as 1904 that had a mainly ornamental function. The auto manufacturers shifted to making plastic bumpers since 1973. Numerous developments, improvements in materials and technologies, as well as greater focus on functionality for protecting vehicle components and improving safety have changed bumpers over the years.

So, why auto manufacturers finally turned to utilize plastic material to make the bumpers? Let’s figure it out here.

What Kind of Plastic that Bumpers Use?

Nowadays, Thermoplastic olefins, a mixture of plastic molecules, rubber, and a reinforcing filler like carbon fiber or calcium carbonate, are used to make modern car bumpers. This combination of ingredients produces scratch and impact-resistant plastic that bonds to a variety of paints and finishes, making it perfect for automobile bumpers.

Thermoplastic olefins: Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO for short) is an elastomer material composed of rubber and polyolefin. Its products have excellent quality of weather resistance, oil resistance, ozone resistance and ultraviolet resistance; superior dynamic fatigue resistance, good wear resistance, high tear strength, and small compression set; it also has the advantages of simple processing technology, short cycle and low energy consumption , no "three wastes" and other characteristics.


Metal Bumpers vs Plastic 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

For a variety of reasons, plastic is the ideal car bumper material for modern automotive bumpers. To begin with, plastic is lighter and more aerodynamic than metal, resulting in increased fuel economy. Plastic is also easy to mold, which comes in handy during the production and maintenance of bumpers. Modern bumpers are constructed from a variety of materials. The front bumper is mounted to the chassis by an impact absorption spring system, which is commonly gas-filled cartridges.


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.


In general, all materials used to make car bumpers have their own characteristics and advantages. You can get cost-effective automotive parts solutions from car bumper manufacturers. Wholesale auto parts to customers' requirements and watch your business grow.

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