Steel Truck Bumpers Weight And The Effect On Your Truck

Steel truck bumpers enhance the aesthetics of your truck and provide a host of mounting options for lights, antenna whips, winches, recovery points and more. This article will cover what effect the weight of aftermarket steel bumpers has on your truck and what you need to consider before fitting one.

The average steel bumper weight is between 60lbs and 150lbs for front bumpers and 50lbs to 130lbs for rear bumpers. The weight can have a negative effect on your truck if the suspension and dampers are not rated to hold the additional weight which will cause the nose of your truck to sag 0.5 to 2 inches. Once you add accessories like spotlights, a winch, and antenna whip, the weight will increase even further. A minimum 2inch suspension upgrade first, is necessary to compensate for the additional weight and prevent heavyweight sag in your truck’s suspension.

The additional weight and heavy nose of your vehicle will affect your driving experience. The severity of the effects will depend on the bumper size and weight, damper and spring rating as well as make and model of your truck. Weight is the dreaded enemy of performance and gas mileage.

Truck Bumper Weight Effects

You might have done some research online and probably know the effects it could possibly have on your vehicle. It’s been noted that certain manufacturers produce heavier bumpers than others. With that being said, let’s look at a few factors that might increase the bumper’s weight:

  1. Thickness of the metal used
  2. Quality of the welding
  3. Additional mounting brackets
  4. CNC cutting and bending protective plates
  5. Additional reinforcement for recovery hooks
  6. Powder-coating
  7. Extra brackets and mounts for accessories

It is not uncommon for a heavy-duty custom bumper and winch combination to weigh in excess of 110 lbs.

Let’s look at the possible side effects of fitting a heavy-duty steel bumper with factory stock suspension that is not rated to carry the additional weight:

  • The bumper will weigh your truck nose down considerably.  
  • You can expect a drop of roughly .05 to 2 inches or more.  
  • Cornering and braking will be negatively affected.  
  • You will experience a considerable difference in the vehicles handling characteristics.
  • The excess weight will sag your factory springs and overwhelm your dampers (shocks).
  • The additional weight up front will also place more wear and tear on undercarriage components.
  • Components like ball joints, steering racks, brake pads as well as tires will wear faster.
  • Tire wear will be slightly faster and regular rotation will be necessary to achieve even tire wear on all four wheels.
  • Steering might feel vague and heavier
  • Severe brake dive

(I wrote an article about the pros and cons of steel off-road bumpers – you can read it here)

So how does one overcome the above side effects of adding a steel bumper? Should you upgrade the suspension along with the bumper in one go? This might be a bit heavy on the pocket. Are there other cheaper solutions available? Let us have a look at a real-world example and investigate our options further.

Jeep Wrangler Off-road Bumper (example)

Jeep Wrangler sporting a beautiful steel bumper

Let’s for the purpose of this article use the Jeep Wrangler as an example of the various bumper options. Let be honest, a Jeep with those massive stock plastic bumpers looks a bit ridiculous and does no favors for the aesthetics of the vehicle.

Let’s assume you are fitting a steel bumper purely for the aesthetics and your intention is not to venture off road? What are your options? The stock jeep plastic bumper weighs in about 30lbs. I bet you never thought the stock bumpers where that light right? I would have thought the reinforced steel brackets behind the plastic would add some more weight. The stock bumper figure needs to be subtracted from the weight of the steel bumper to get the net weight that is being added.  

(I wrote an article about the pros and cons of steel off-road bumpers – you can read it here)

Example
If the steel bumper weighs in at 70lbs. Let’s assume you ordered a Baracade HD front bumper. The 30lbs of your standard bumper needs to be deducted from the 70lbs steel bumper. This leaves you with a total additional weight of 40lbs. That’s the equivalent to the weight of a 6-year-old kid.  Nothing to worry about, and there are even lighter options available.

Below is an example of weight that was added over time to a Jeep Wrangler and what the net result was: In this example The PS brawler lite only weighs 64lbs.

  • OE Front w/ tow hooks 36.4lbs
  • OE Rear 15 lbs
  • OE tire carrier 20lbs
  • OE Willys wheels/tires 365lbs (25 wheels, 48 tires x5)
  • 436.4lbs
  • PS Brawler Lite 64lbs
  • Brawler Rear 57lbs
  • Maximus Tire Carrier 45lbs
  • Maximus add ons 10lbs
  • Hi-Lift Jack 30lbs
  • Rotopax 21lbs w/ gas
  • XHD wheels w/ KO2’s 492.5lbs (32 wheels, 66.5 tires x5)
  • XHD wheel protectors 30lbs (6 each)
  • WKO Sliders 116
  • 865.5lbs

865.5 – 436.4 = 429.1 Total additional weight
The factory stock bumper weighs in at around 30lbs to 36.4lbs with tow hooks and metal support.

The weight difference of each bumper will vary greatly and some brands might not even require a suspension upgrade at first. If you are the type to venture off road then I would strongly suggest at least a 2” suspension upgrade since even a 50lbs of additional weight up front can have an adverse effect to your vehicle’s performance off-road. Your other alternative is to opt for aluminum bumpers instead of steel, however, they come in at almost double the price.

Below are a few examples of Jeep Wrangler bumpers and their prospective weights.

Brand Brand NameWeight
PS brawler lite front64 lbs
LoD Destroyer full-width front80 lbs
PS rock brawler front150 lbs
Smittybilt SRC Gen2 full with front 155 lbs

Average Weight Of A Steel Front Bumper

May heavy-duty steel bumpers are CNC cut and crafted from heavy-duty 7 gauge steel. Below are a few more examples of weight differences between manufacturers for the Jeep Wrangler:

Bumper Brand NameWeight
Expedition One Basic DX front winch bumper24 lbs
Olympic 4×4 500 Series Rock Bumper30 lbs
Shrockworks Stubby w/ winch plate 55 lbs
Aberle aluminum front winch bumper 61 lbs
Poison Spyder Brawler Lite with Brawler Bar and plate gussets 65 lbs
Baracade HD front bumper 70 lbs
LOD mid width w/o stinger 72 lbs
Fab Four stubby front winch bumper 80 lbs
Rock Hard 4×4 Parts stubby front winch bumper 86 lbs
Durango 4×4 Grizzly Stubby front92 lbs
ARB front winch bumper 95 lbs
Red Rock Fab front bumper 95 lbs
Shrockworks mid-width front bumper 96 lbs
Pure Jeep Crawler Stubby front bumper 97 lbs
Warn tube front bumper 104 lbs
Durango 4×4 Grizzly Full Width front 105 lbs
Expedition One Trail Series 105 lbs
Smittybilt SRC front bumper 110 lbs
Teraflex front bumper 111 lbs
OR Fab Stubby front winch bumper w/ stinger110 lbs
AEV front winch bumper116 lbs
Rampage Full Width front bumper 130 lbs
Fab Four full width front bumper140 lbs
Warn front bumper 155 lbs
Rock Hard 4×4 Parts full-width front winch bumper with hoop 160 lbs

Bumper Construction

A prime example of a well constructed, CNC cut, powder-coated Steel bumper

Most steel bumpers are hand welded and crafted from CNC laser cut steel plates. Most of them are so well constructed and durable that they come with a lifetime guarantee. Powder coating is recommended to prevent corrosion. These bumpers can really take a knock and are a huge upgrade from the factory standard plastic molded ones. There is a lot of thought and planning put into the process and factors such as vehicle design lines, crumple zones, airbag sensors, increased approach and departure angles, additional accessory fitment options, durability and robustness along with keeping weight down and improving the vehicle aesthetics are all taken into account.

Many of the high-end bumpers incorporate indicator lenses as well as fog lights into the bumpers as standard. Many give the clients the option of ordering with or without a powder-coat finish. Additional extras can include LED lights, parking sensors, grill guards and winch brackets. If you drive a modern 4WD and it has front parking sensors, the bumper can in most cases be ordered with that feature to still be functional. Many leaders in the 4×4 steel bumper industry like ARB have invested heavily in vehicle crash barrier tests to validate the performance and compliance of its airbag compatible bumpers.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve established that steel bumpers can improve the aesthetics, be advantageous off-road and does not negatively impact the safety or functionality of your 4-wheel-drive truck. We have however also confirmed the vast differences in weight between various manufacturers. My recommendation is that any bumper with a weight in excess of 80 lbs will require a front suspension upgrade. That will include stiffer springs and stronger bigger bore shocks dampers.

Whatever your bumper choice is, make sure you consult with a professional to advise you if your factory standard shocks can handle the additional weight to your vehicle.

Jade C.

4-Wheel drives and off-road driving techniques has been my passion for over 20 years. Here we strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, information about the functionality, common faults and latest technology built into most 4 Wheel Drives.

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