There are several key features that are important to any 4X4 owner looking to upgrade their bumper(s). Aside from style and function, you need to consider the accessories that are to be mounted on it (immediately or in the future), how durable it needs to be, the painted finish, and how easy it is to install. Read through the tips provided below to make sure you're investing in an aftermarket bumper that'll meet all your needs for years to come.
There are tons of styles, ranging from OE-inspired to unique tubular designs. What you end up buying will depend on your own preferences. It's important to consider every decision-making item on the list before setting your sites on a particular style though. Some bumpers look great, but don't offer provisions for accessories like winches and fog lamps. Still others might be easy to install, but are easily damaged. Keep reading.
If you're looking for a visually appealing bumper that you can install yourself, there's plenty of models to choose from. What are you planning to do with your 4WD.Consider how and where you drive it now, and also what you plan to do a month from now... a year from now, etc. If you're going to be abusing the vehicle, look for bumpers that are designed for off-road use. A lesser-quality bumper can look good, but might not be terribly damage-resistant, or not rated for towing or off-road use.
This is an easy one. Plan ahead for current OE and aftermarket accessories you currently own, or plan to later install on the bumper (winch, tire carrier, fog lights, etc.) If you plan to tow with it, check for pre-installed tow rings and check the tow rating against the loads you'll be pulling. Don't forget to look for backup sensor hole in the rear bumper, if applicable to your vehicle.
If you just want to drive around and look good, durability might not seem important. However, more durable heavy-duty bumpers are always made with better steel, professional welds, and have higher quality paint jobs to prevent corrosion. If you want your new bumper to last and be rust free, choose an HD unit, like those sold by Body Armor or Smittybilt (both sold here.)
If you're looking for a unit that meets all the requirements described already, only buy a bumper that's polished stainless or powder-coated. Regular automotive paint or chrome-plated finishes just don't last in the bush. If you're an off-road purist, you know this already!
Universal bumpers take more time to install, often requiring drilling, welding, and swearing to make them fit. Depending on your technical prowess, you may need a mechanic or professional customization expert to safely install your new bumper if you don't choose one that's made specifically to fit your vehicle. On the other hand, if you know how to work a jack and socket/wrench set, most trusted brand names will offer a number of different choices which offer all the above: style, function, accessory provisions, durability, impeccable finish, and ease-of-installation. When considering a replacement bumper for your 4X4, always read the product description carefully and look specifically for whether installs in the factory location, or if modifications are required to make it fit. The easiest way to avoid install issues is to choose quality brands like RBP, Body Armor, Smittybilt, Rampage and Warrior. Take a look around our store, we sell each of those trusted brands and many others.
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