Bumper Covers vs Bumpers - What's the Difference?

Where Does a Bumper Cover Go?
A bumper cover, as the name suggests, covers the actual impact-absorbing bumper and is largely an aesthetic accent. The actual bumper is typically a fixed structure, sometimes integrated into the vehicle itself, whose main purpose is to act as an impact absorber for collisions. While a bumper cover’s main role is visual in nature, they can provide some small amount of additional safety.

Are Bumper Covers Necessary?
In many older vehicles the bumper, typically steel construction and chrome plated, was integrated into the vehicle itself and served as its own aesthetic accessory. This is no longer the case and the bumper is mainly an aesthetically-challenged interior component. Hence, the modern bumper cover is necessary and serves some additional purposes. Typically molded and made in either plastic or fiberglass, bumper covers give your vehicle a more sleek and finished appearance. More importantly, the bumper cover protects your vehicle from the weather, road debris, and other elements. Bumper covers also allow for the addition of other safety elements, including fog lights, which allow the driver to see better through the fog and dimly light roads. It is also worth mentioning that without a properly molded bumper cover vehicle aerodynamics would be terrible, increasing drag and having adverse effects on gas mileage.

Do Bumper Covers Come Painted?
Since vehicles themselves can have numerous color options, typically bumper covers do not come pre-painted. Most bumper covers will come primed and ready to paint. Meaning that after installation all you need to do is take it to your local paint shop for a final finishing paint job and clear coat. Most reliable auto-body shops that offer painting as a service will be able to paint-to-match so that your new paint job will closely match your existing color.

Additional Uses
More recently, bumper covers have also become a popular way to significantly change the look and appearance of your vehicle in an inexpensive fashion. Often, these bumper covers would be part of a full-body kit modification upgrade or drift-style appearance update. Aside from drastically altering the look of your vehicle, replacing an old, worn, or damaged bumper cover can get your car back to looking brand new. Instead of trying to fix multiple dents, chipping paint, and deterioration, it can be more effective and economical to replace the entire cover.