A Must-Have Buying Guide for Your Sierra Bumper Replacement
When you look around at a top off-road get-together, you get an idea of which mods are most popular.
One upgrade that always seems to come up is bumper replacement, especially on Pre-runner style trucks.
The factory bumper works well when you're driving on the highway. But if you're getting out of the city limits, you'll need the extra clearance for your tires and the ability to mount lights, tow hooks, and winches.
If you’re looking to replace your GMC Sierra bumper, consider these factors:
- Construction material
- Bumper design
- Added features
- Outer coating
- Aftermarket or OEM
Now, let’s look at each of these factors to determine the best replacement bumper for your Sierra.
1 — What Is the Bumper Made Of?
Bumpers are usually made from one of the following materials:
Your bumper is your truck’s first line of defense in case of an accident. As such, they should be robust to protect your vehicle components from damage.
Plastic bumpers are made of a blend of rubber, plastic molecules, and reinforcing substances like calcium carbonate.
Most OEMs prefer plastic for several reasons.
The material is scratch-resistant and bonds well with various powder coats and paints. Plastic is also lighter than metal, improving your truck’s fuel efficiency and handling.
Additionally, it’s easy to manufacture bumpers using plastic since the material is malleable (easy to shape and repair).
However, plastic is unsuitable for off-road driving. It can crack easily if you’re involved in an accident during off-road adventures.
Aluminum has several advantages.
It’s lighter than steel, allowing for better fuel mileage and truck handling. As a result, manufacturers can create thicker, stronger bumpers while maintaining a lower overall weight limit.
Aluminum also offers superior corrosion resistance, improving durability and reducing the frequency of bumper replacement.
Fiberglass is lightweight, improving vehicle handling and enhancing fuel efficiency.
It’s also relatively malleable, so you can easily repair a dent on a fiberglass bumper.
The biggest drawback of fiberglass is that it breaks easily, making it unsuitable for off-road applications.
Steel is more robust than plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass, offering uncompromised protection to your truck. For this reason, steel bumpers are the best choice for off-road and on-road driving.
That said, not all steel bumpers will suit your GMC Sierra. Ensure you check the type of steel and thickness used to make the bumper.
Most aftermarket bumper brands use mild steel that contains at least 2.1% carbon. This mix of carbon and steel improves the bumper’s ability to absorb impact in a collision.
The thickness of a steel bumper is either 1/4-inch or 3/16-inch.
1/4-inch steel is ideal if your truck performs heavy tasks, like trailer pulling, since it’s more durable. It’s also suitable if you want to load your bumper with heavy accessories like a winch.
On the other hand, 3/16-inch steel works well if you don’t use your truck for heavy-duty activities like pulling trailers.
Below are the top three steel bumpers available for your GMC Sierra.
|Features and Specs
FLOG Industries, GMC 2500/3500 Rear Bumper 2011–2014
Road Armor Stealth Titan II Guard Satin Black Front Winch Bumper 2016–2018 GMC 1500
Addictive Desert Designs 2019–2021 CHEVY/GMC 1500 Stealth Rear Bumper
In addition, this table summarizes the materials most commonly used in bumper construction:
|Relatively strong but less durable than steel
|Fragile but stronger than plastic
|Challenging to press into shape
|Relatively easy to press into shape
|Easily pressed into shape
|Easy to press into shape
|Off-road and on-road
|Off-road and on-road
2 — Which Bumper Design Is Right for Your Truck?
When looking for the right Sierra bumper, you have two design options:
- Full brush guard bumpers
- Low profile bumpers
Full brush guard bumpers are bulky. They have raised bars and a grille mesh covering the whole front of your truck.
Full brush guard bumpers also protect more delicate components like headlights and radiators from damage in the event of an accident. As such, they’re best suited for off-road enthusiasts and people living in areas prone to wild animal crossings.
Apart from solid front-end protection, these bumpers have stunning designs that’ll transform your truck into a beast.
Low-profile bumpers cover the lower area of your truck. They’re lighter than full brush guard bumpers, maintaining an overall light weight to ensure economic fuel consumption and better truck handling.
These bumpers are also tough and have a stunning appearance, but they don’t offer the same level of protection as full brush guard bumpers since they don't cover the whole front of your truck.
That said, low-profile bumpers are available in two types:
- No-brush guard bumpers
- Prerunner bumpers
No-brush guard bumpers lack push bars and grille guards, so they only cover the base area of your truck, leaving the grille and headlights unprotected.
Pre-runner bumpers, on the other hand, have push bars for extra protection. In addition, they house more accessories and offer more front-end protection than the no-brush guard bumpers.
3 — Does the Bumper Accommodate Important Accessories?
The best bumper for your Sierra should house essential accessories that let you customize it to your liking.
For example, the ideal front bumper for your truck should accommodate fog lights or light bars, which improve lighting when night driving.
It should also offer at least one recovery option if you get stuck in the mud. This means it should house one of the following:
- A winch
- Tow hooks
- Shackle mounts
Additionally, the best rear bumper for your Sierra should accommodate backlights to ensure safety when reversing. It should also retain the OEM’s driver-assist features like parking sensors for maximum functionality.
In general, identify the accessories that matter to you and choose the bumper that accommodates them.
4 — Which External Coat Suits Your Bumper?
The outer coat of a bumper serves two functions:
- It protects the bumper from corrosion
- It determines the aesthetic style of your bumper
The standard bumper coats are paint and powder. While they both serve similar functions, each coating has unique advantages.
For example, it’s easy to match a paint coat with the color of your truck.
A powder coat, on the other hand, is more resistant to chipping and scratching than a paint coat. Powder coats are also more affordable than paint coats.
5 — Aftermarket vs. OEM Bumpers: Which One is Better?
Third-party brands manufacture aftermarket bumpers, while OEM bumpers come from your vehicle’s manufacturer.
These elements will vary depending on whether you opt for OEM or aftermarket bumpers:
Most aftermarket bumpers are made from steel or aluminum, which are solid and resistant to corrosion. They also offer solid protection and are durable, making them suitable for off-road and on-road applications.
Most OEM bumpers, on the other hand, are made of plastic. While plastic’s malleability makes it easy to manufacture, it will break easily in a collision. As a result, OEM bumpers are unsuitable for off-road applications.
Availability on the Market
OEM bumpers come from one manufacturer, while aftermarket bumpers have several sources.
For example, aftermarket bumpers for GMC Sierra can come from brands such as:
- Road Armor
- Flog Industries
- Addictive Desert Designs
With several brands to choose from, aftermarket bumpers are more available on the market than OEMs, which makes the buying process easy.
Most aftermarket bumpers are more affordable than OEMs, without sacrificing quality.
With dozens of aftermarket bumper manufacturers, each brand can offer a reasonable price that appeals to buyers.
Generally, aftermarket bumpers are better than OEMs because:
- They’re suitable for both on-road and off-road applications
- They’re readily available at affordable prices
- They have ready-to-install designs—no drilling, welding, or cutting is required
Transform Your Truck Into a Beast With Aftermarket Bumpers From Royal Truck Accessories
At Royal Truck Accessories, we sell easy-to-install bumpers at affordable prices. Additionally, our price match guarantee ensures you get stunning bumpers at the lowest price online.
Here’s what a verified buyer had to say about our prices:
Source: Royal Truck Accessories Facebook page
If you’re on a tight budget, we also have financing options that allow you to buy a bumper today and pay for it later.
For more information, visit our online store or contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I replace a truck bumper myself?
Yes. However, you’ll need the following to do the replacement yourself:
- A direct-fit bumper
- A step-by-step bumper replacement guide
- Tools like a wrench, screwdriver, and floor jack
Do aftermarket bumpers have a warranty?
Yes, most aftermarket bumpers have a warranty.
Examples of aftermarket brands with exceptional warranties are:
- Flog Industries
- Road Armor
- Ranch Hand
Will installing an aftermarket bumper void my vehicle’s warranty?
No. Your warranty will remain valid provided the installation causes no damage to other vehicle components.