Whether it's BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Proton, Perodua, tap the bumper of your car with your hand and you'll see: well, a lot of the original car bumpers were made of metal, but now they're made of plastic. Is it that car companies are cutting corners again to save costs? Or is the car trying to save weight? Are plastic bumpers safe? Today, we're going to talk about it.

What kind of material were early car bumpers made of?

Early bumpers were made of metalIn fact, early car bumpers are mainly made of metal. They are generally made of steel plates, riveted or welded together with the frame rails.

General Motors was one of the first car companies to use plastic instead of metal bumpers, this is 1968 Pontiac GTO

But for a variety of reasons, automakers eventually came up with a better alternative -- plastic bumpers, a money-saving solution that has been quickly copied by automakers ever since.

Why do cars these days have plastic bumpers?

2020 Nissan Almera

1. Low manufacturing cost, easy to design and produce

Plastic bumpers can save on manufacturing costs because they are much cheaper as a raw material than metal and are easier to produce because they require less industrial quality. And when manufacturing costs are controlled, the final product will be delivered to consumers at a relatively low price.

The complex front shape of Proton X50 is much more difficult to work with if metal is used

At the same time, because plastic is less difficult to process, the design of plastic bumper can be more varied than that of metal material, giving the car a more stylish and personalized appearance.

2. Plastic bumper absorbs energy, which can reduce the injury of external collision to pedestrians


As a fast moving vehicle, safety is especially important when pursuing speed. Because of the material, plastic bumpers are more elastic than metal and better able to absorb the impact of a crash. Therefore, it can reduce the injuries caused by external collisions to pedestrians.

A common structure of modern car bumpers

Today's cars are designed with the value of life in mind. It is better to let the car be damaged or repaired than to injure the life of the pedestrian. So modern cars actually have two layers of bumpers. Plastic bumpers on the outside mitigate the impact, while structures such as energy-absorbing materials and crash-resistant beams fill the interior to protect the occupants.

3. Can automatically rebound if there is a small collision, and is easy to repair


If there is a slight bump or scratch, the plastic bumper has a good elasticity, and has a certain impact resistance. In other words, in the case of small bump, plastic bumper can have a very good resilience and repair ability, maintenance cost is relatively low.


Even if the paint comes off, it's still better than metal deformation, because spray paint is much cheaper than sheet metal repair. Small scratches, direct repair spray paint can be, small scratches can even without maintenance, in addition to affect the appearance, there is no other impact. And in the event of a major accident, the plastic bumper is easier to replace.

4. Plastic material has better anti-corrosion and anti-rust performance

Because of the bumps and downs in the car, front and rear bumpers are more prone to scrapes, collisions, and more frequent contact with water, flying sand, and other materials.

A rusty metal bumper

Metallic materials that scratch and expose the primer are prone to rust and corrosion over time due to moisture. Even if there is no scratch, for a long time, if the paint quality is not good, aging and peeling off, the metal material will also occur serious corrosion.

Therefore, one of the advantages of plastic parts, is its corrosion resistance, anti rust performance.

Are plastic bumpers safe?

Many friends think that bumpers play an important role in resisting the impact of impact, so it is directly related to the safety of vehicles, in fact, this understanding is wrong.


The thickness and material of the bumper do not directly determine the safety of the car. Because the rigidity of the car is not borne by the bumper, it mainly depends on the frame design of the car body.

In short, the thickness and material of bumpers are not directly related to the safety of the vehicle.

Therefore, in general, different materials of bumpers may be different in small collisions, but for larger collisions, the difference is not obvious.

Any kind of bumper is vulnerable to a bad crash


The front and rear bumpers of modern cars are designed more to protect the occupants while reducing the risk of external collisions to other pedestrians and vehicles. Of course, in addition, car companies also have cost control, modeling design, maintenance costs and other factors into consideration.

Therefore, considering all the above factors, the material of car bumper was transferred from metal material to plastic material.