We all know Jeeps and Broncos boast incredible off-road capabilities and rugged designs. But did you know aftermarket bumpers can significantly enhance their performance and style?
With improved approach and departure angles, increased durability, and aesthetics that perfectly complement their aggressive design language, aftermarket bumpers are a must-have for any off-roading enthusiast.
Top-notch manufacturers like ARB, Smittybilt, and Warn have got you covered with some of the best bumpers on the market. Let’s dive into why you should seriously consider upgrading that stock bumper.
Why Aftermarket Bumpers Are a Game-Changer
Ever found yourself stuck on a steep incline or rocky trail, wishing you had a bit more ground clearance? Aftermarket bumpers are your saving grace. They provide better approach angles, additional recovery points, and improved ground clearance, making your off-road escapades a breeze. Plus, the extra recovery points help distribute weight more evenly when you’re pulling a buddy out of a sticky situation.
These bumpers aren't just for show—they're built to last. With heavy-duty construction and high-grade materials, aftermarket bumpers shield your vehicle's vital components, like the radiator, intercooler, and front suspension from damage, keeping you moving forward on even the toughest trails.
Aftermarket bumpers offer a wide range of customization options. You can add accessories like D-ring mounts, bumper shackles, winches, and LED lights to your bumper to make your off-roading experience safer and more enjoyable.
Aftermarket Bumper Styles and Features
Full-width bumpers are the most popular bumper style for aftermarket bumpers, as they provide a broad range of protection from small collisions. They typically come with mounting brackets and hardware to make installation easy. Some full-width aftermarket bumpers also feature built-in winch mounts and lighting options.
Warn's winch bumpers, for example, are legendary in offroading. Not only are they built to last, but they look freakin' awesome. Constructed of heavy-duty steel, these bumpers feature a durable powder coat finish to protect against rust and corrosion.
Mid-width bumpers are an aftermarket bumper type that perfectly balances full-width and stubby bumpers. While full-width bumpers extend across a vehicle's entire front or rear, providing maximum protection, stubby bumpers are shorter and focus on providing clearance for larger tires and improved approach/departure angles. Mid-width bumpers strike a balance by offering ample protection and improved clearance while maintaining a more streamlined profile.
Grille Guard Bumpers
Grille guard bumpers are a great option for Jeep and Bronco owners looking for additional protection from brush, rocks, and other debris. These bumpers feature vertical bars that provide maximum protection for your vehicle's grille, headlights, and radiator. Some models may also include D-ring mounts or light tabs to improve visibility during night-time adventures.
Tube bumpers are lightweight and provide superior approach/departure angles, giving you the best of both worlds. They feature a tubular design that protects without adding unnecessary weight or bulk to your vehicle. Some tube bumpers include built-in winch mounts and light tabs, making them ideal for off-roading enthusiasts.
To Winch Or Not To Winch
Adding a winch to your bumper is a no-brainer for off-road enthusiasts. Broncos and Jeeps are designed for off-road adventures, and adding a winch can significantly enhance their capabilities in difficult terrain. A winch can help pull the vehicle out of mud, sand, snow, or other challenging situations where traction is lost or the vehicle gets stuck.
Besides offroading, there are a few other reasons to consider adding a winch to your bumper.
- Vehicle recovery: In the event of a breakdown or accident, a winch can be a valuable tool for pulling the vehicle to safety or back onto the road, avoiding the need for a tow truck in some situations.
- Assisting others: A winch-equipped vehicle can help other vehicles in need of recovery, particularly in off-road situations where traditional towing services may not be readily available or accessible.
- Load hauling and moving: A winch can be used to haul heavy loads or move large objects, such as logs, rocks, or debris. This can be particularly helpful in remote locations and on job sites.
- Resale value: A winch can be seen as a valuable upgrade to potential buyers, potentially increasing the vehicle's resale value.
Swapping Your Jeep or Bronco Bumper
Swapping out a bumper on a Jeep or Bronco is generally not considered to be a difficult task, but the level of difficulty can vary depending on the specific model, the bumper being installed, and the individual's level of experience with automotive work. For most 6th Gen Broncos and Jeep Wranglers Cherokees, or Gladiators, the process involves the following steps:
- Preparation: Gather the necessary tools, such as wrenches, sockets, ratchets, and any other hardware specified in the bumper installation instructions. It's also a good idea to have a friend or helper to assist with lifting and maneuvering the bumper. A thick piece of carpet or blanket is also a nice item to have, providing a soft place to lower the bumper onto once it is removed.
- Remove the old bumper: Locate the bolts or mounting points that secure the existing bumper to the Jeep's frame. Carefully remove the bolts or fasteners, keeping track of their locations for reference. Depending on the model, you may need to disconnect any wiring for lights, sensors, or other accessories integrated into the bumper.
- Install the new bumper: With the old bumper removed, position the new bumper onto the Jeep's frame. Align the mounting points and loosely attach the bolts or fasteners. Once everything is aligned and properly seated, tighten the bolts or fasteners to the recommended torque specifications provided by the bumper manufacturer.
- Reconnect wiring (if applicable): If your new bumper has integrated lights or other accessories that require wiring, reconnect the wiring according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Inspect the installation: Once the new bumper is installed and any wiring is reconnected, double-check all bolts and fasteners to ensure they are properly tightened. Inspect the overall fit and alignment of the bumper, making any necessary adjustments.
While swapping out a bumper on a Jeep or Bronco is generally manageable for most people with basic automotive knowledge and tools, it's always a good idea to consult the vehicle's service manual and the bumper installation instructions for specific information and guidance. If you're unsure of your ability to perform the task, consult a professional mechanic or a knowledgeable friend for assistance.
Upgrade Your Ride with Aftermarket Bumpers
Regardless of the brand or whether you do it yourself or have a shop do it for you, adding an aftermarket bumper can increase functionality, durability, and aesthetic appeal. At Archetype, we know a few things about that. Our chunky, billet aluminum parts are ideal for offroaders looking to add some flair and functionality to their rides. With a wide variety of different applications, we have something for everyone.