Pros and Cons of Custom Off-Road Bumpers
Ready to separate your off-road truck or SUV from the OEM crowd driving stock models? If you are ready to jack up your ride, experience fantastic visibility on the freeway or in grid lock and get the handling and capabilities to go where you couldn’t go before off-road, then you may be ready for a suspension lift kit.
Lift Kits are perhaps the most complex modification you will ever make to your ride. Think about it. A lift kit raises the vehicle’s clearance by suspending the frame, body, engine and power train above the wheels. This increases the distance between the axels and the chassis giving you the clearance you need. However, you are messing around with your vehicle’s suspension and if it is damaged as a result of the lift kit you installed, your OEM warranty probably will be voided leaving you responsible for all repairs.
What Your Off-Road Bumper Should Do
Let’s start with the obvious. Bumpers should be able to protect the front end from collision and “trail beatings” from tall brush, tree limbs, and other trail hazards. The stock Wrangler front bumper is an aluminum plate over factory rails with plastic end caps and weighs 27 lbs. The rear bumper is plastic with metal mounting plates and weighs 15 lbs. Many aftermarket bumpers are constructed of steel providing not only protection but a strong, stable platform for options.
A stronger bumper can safely add tow hooks giving you more rescue points, something you can never have too many of. The other big option feature is the ability to mount a winch which can unstick your ride or the ride of a friend. Lastly, durable bumpers are an excellent location for aftermarket light bars that come in handy on the trail and give your ride a very cool look.
On the downside, because they are made of steel, aftermarket bumpers are significantly heavier than OEM equipment. The extra weight may cause drooping which is why most rides with the bumpers have lift kits installed, and of course, the extra weight is going to have an impact on your gas consumption.
The Big Problem with Custom Off-Road Bumpers
The big problem with aftermarket bumpers is there are so darn many of them available making an intelligent choice difficult. There are easily more than 100 brands to choose from. Some are high-quality, trail-tested products but many of them aren’t.
At AWT Jeep we have our favorites and they include DVR Off-Road, Rough Country, Rugged Ridge, and Smittybilt. These are all trusted brands with a history of quality, performance, and customer satisfaction. In our opinion, these bumpers represent some of the best values on the market.
That said, we understand people have brand loyalties and because they do, we carry a full line of quality bumpers including Addictive Desert Designs, Body Armor, Fab Fours, Go Rhino, Iron Cross, N-Fab, Ranch Hand, Road Armor, Westin, and Keldermann.
So, If you are in the market for an off-road bumper, browse our inventory or give us a call at 713-682-1085 and talk to our parts department for their recommendation for your particular ride. And if you are in the Houston area, we do expert bumper installs and would be happy to get your ride fitted out.