An Enthusiast’s Buying Guide for the Tundra Front Bumper
Before purchasing your Toyota Tundra, you’ve probably seen it described as a tough workhorse that can handle anything thrown its way.
Indeed, the Tundra is a robust truck, but here's the thing: its OEM bumpers can't take the harsh off-road abuse.
A factory-made bumper won’t be of much help if you're planning an off-road trip that'll take you across river beds and over rugged trails and boulders.
This is where an off-road bumper becomes crucial.
With so many aftermarket front bumpers on the market, you're probably wondering which one will serve your Tundra the best and where to purchase it.
Kendall, a front bumper customer, answers the "where to" question.
Is Your Front Bumper Made From Strong Materials?
Accidents can happen at any time, and as your truck's first line of defense, your front bumper should be strong enough to cushion its front end from obstacles.
Fender benders can leave you with scratches and other cosmetic damages that your insurance company may be unwilling to cover.
A good aftermarket front bumper will protect you from the uncomfortable feeling that comes from driving around with a badly scratched front bumper.
Still, an aftermarket bumper's ability to protect your Tundra from minor collisions depends on the material it's made from.
The best material for your bumper depends on how you plan to use your truck. The materials used to manufacture aftermarket bumpers each have different properties.
Your Tundra likely came with a polyresin (plastic) bumper.
Plastic bumpers can resist minor accidents and can be sanded and repainted to conceal small cracks.
Plastic bumpers can easily crack or tear should you scrape a tree, hit a wild animal, or run into larger rocks while touring the wild.
For this reason, aftermarket bumpers are manufactured from alternative and more resilient materials. They include:
Aluminum Alloy Bumpers
Aftermarket bumpers made from aluminum, such as the ICI AL-FBM62TYN-RT Aluminum Front Bumper (shown below), are lightweight yet strong.
You'll never have to worry about rust if your aftermarket bumper is manufactured from aluminum.
If you're looking for a strong bumper that goes easy on fuel consumption, an aluminum bumper is ideal.
Aluminum is about one-third the weight of steel, allowing manufacturers to build thicker and stronger bumpers while still lowering their overall weight.
This reduced weight will reduce your Tundra's fuel consumption.
However, aluminum bumpers are more expensive than steel. They can limit how you use your Tundra since aluminum can't withstand pulling forces so well.
And while aluminum bumpers can withstand reasonable impact, they aren’t easy to repair when damaged.
Unlike steel, which can be welded back together, repairing aluminum presents several challenges.
For instance, aluminum’s heat conductivity is five times that of steel. If the bumper’s base metal is too cold during welding, the cool portions may attempt to draw heat from the weld pool. This can then prevent the weld from penetrating the metal to join the pieces beyond the surface. As such, welding will only occur at the surface level.
Given the difference in thermal conductivity between aluminum and steel, the former needs much greater heat input during welding than the latter.
The specialization and extra heat required to weld your aluminum bumper after an accident will likely translate into extra costs.
As the two most popular materials for manufacturing aftermarket bumpers, the following video shows the pros and cons of both aluminium and steel.
Fiberglass is becoming an increasingly popular material for molding aftermarket bumpers because it’s durable and light.
Should you scratch your fiberglass bumper, a mechanic can easily sand and paint it, as can be done with plastic bumpers.
The main drawback of this material is that it cracks more easily than plastic does. As such, it may be unsuitable for your Tundra, especially if you frequently travel off-road.
Most bumpers designed for trucks are made of steel.
Fiberglass and aluminum aftermarket bumpers may look fancier, but steel ones are the top choice for trucks that frequent off-road terrains.
Aftermarket steel bumpers are heavy, durable, and strong, which is why you'll spot them on heavy trucks.
However, not all steel bumpers are ideal for your Tundra. You need to ensure that the bumper you choose is made from carbon steel with at least 2.1 percent carbon.
The amount of carbon in steel determines its ductility, strength, and hardness—the properties that make your bumper ideal for off-road terrain.
Plastic, fiberglass, and aluminum will serve you well if you most often drive on urban roads. If you're often on rough roads, then steel is your ideal bumper material.
Below are four examples of steel bumpers that you can purchase at Royal Truck Accessories for your Tundra.
Ranch Hand BST07HBL1 Summit Bullnose Front Bumper 2007-2013 Toyota Tundra
Ranch Hand BST14HBL1 Summit Bullnose Front Bumper 2014-2021 Toyota Tundra
Expert Tip: Look for steel bumpers with polished surfaces and a powdered coat. These qualities enable the bumpers to resist corrosion and withstand damage.
Does the Bumper Have a Robust Design?
Whether you prefer brawny minimalism or a rugged look, your bumper’s design will affect your Tundra's strength and utility.
Well-designed aftermarket steel bumpers tend to be more compact, have shorter overhangs, and are stowed higher up than OEM plastic bumpers.
When off-roading, this design gives your Tundra:
- Greater wheel and ground clearance
- Increased approach angles
- Increased departure angles
Off-road bumpers have beveled edges that curve upward, ensuring that nothing sharp scratches your Tundra.
As you can see in the image below, the underside of the bumper that runs from the passenger’s side to the driver's side slants considerably upwards towards the front of the truck.
The slant provides greater clearance at severe angles, protecting the bumper from being scraped, dragged, or damaged.
The bumper’s gradient significantly increases the sharpest angle your truck can climb or descend before its bumper touches the ground. A gradient refers to the “approach angle” at the front of a vehicle.
Does the Bumper Support Important Accessories?
If you’re an ardent adventure seeker, you've undoubtedly been in a scenario where you wanted to explore the wilderness but hesitated.
You lacked the necessary equipment and accessories.
When exploring the rugged wilderness or simply embarking on a lengthy drive, you must be prepared with the necessary off-road gear if you hope for a safe and enjoyable experience.
There are several pieces of off-road equipment that can contribute significantly to the safety of your trips. However, before you purchase any accessories, ensure that your bumper can support them.
Luckily for you, as you can see in the image below, Tundra bumpers from Royal Truck Accessories are built to support various accessories.
Most of our aftermarket bumpers have pre-drilled holes so you can fasten accessories easily. These accessories may include:
- Fog lights
- LED lights
- Winch bumpers
- Skid plates
- Hook attachments
The pre-drilled holes will save you the hassle of having to drill new holes to install your accessories.
Get the Right Toyota Tundra Bumper at Royal Truck Accessories
Your search for the right Toyota Tundra front bumper ends at Royal Truck Accessories.
We'll help you choose a front bumper that'll protect your truck for both play or work purposes. As Addison will tell you, our prices are very competitive.
We have a reliable customer service team dedicated to ensuring your shopping experience is hassle-free.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much impact can my front bumper absorb?
The amount of force a bumper can absorb depends on its material. Generally, steel bumpers absorb the most impact while fiberglass absorbs the least. In the US, bumpers should absorb impacts without causing any damage to a vehicle moving at five miles per hour.
Which is the best bumper material for off-roading?
Carbon steel is used to manufacture the strongest bumpers. This material can absorb much of the off-road abuse thrown at your truck.
Can an aftermarket bumper interfere with my truck's airbag mechanism?
No. An aftermarket bumper won’t interfere with your airbag mechanism. The bumper doesn't touch your airbag sensors, and as such, your airbags will still deploy if you’re involved in a considerable collision.