They're supposed to limit damage in minor collisions, but many don't.
January 24, 2012
Bumper mismatch is easily fixed
Simple modifications to the bumpers of SUVs could save consumers thousands of dollars on repairs after low-speed collisions between SUVs and cars.
December 2, 2010
Misaligned bumpers mean more costly damage
Bumpers are the first line of defense against costly damage in everyday low-speed crashes. Bumpers on cars are designed to match up with each other in collisions, but a long-standing gap in federal regulations exempts SUVs from the same rules. New IIHS crash tests show the damage that results.
November 3, 2010
Aftermarket bumper standard works well
Tests show aftermarket parts can work well if they are correctly reverse-engineered.
November 9, 2009
Subaru makes strides to lower repair costs
Bumpers that don't bump, resulting in costly damage in what should be minor crashes, are the norm for cars evaluated in IIHS low-speed crash tests. One exception is the redesigned 2010 Subaru Legacy. The Legacy's bumpers are a big improvement over those on its 2007-09 predecessor.
September 17, 2009
NHTSA may regulate SUV, pickup bumpers
Federal regulators have agreed to seek comments on an Institute petition to extend federal bumper rules to pickups, SUVs and vans.
August 6, 2009
Bumpers on 4 of 6 midsize sedans improve
Bumpers on 2009 models of the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 6 and Nissan Maxima performed better than their 2007 predecessors in low-speed crash tests. Bumpers on the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu and 2010 Ford Fusion did worse than earlier models. None of the six popular midsize sedans earns the top rating of good.
June 11, 2009
Mini and microcar bumpers allow pricey damage
None of the bumpers on seven mini and microcars IIHS recently tested earns the top rating of good, and most are rated poor. That means they would allow expensive damage in a fender-bender, a common hazard of driving in cities, where such tiny vehicles are a popular option.
September 4, 2008
Small cars suffer major damage in low-speed crashes
Low-speed collisions happen every day in commuter traffic and parking lots. These "fender benders" end up costing car owners a lot of money and aggravation because the bumpers on many cars aren't designed to handle what should be a no-damage event.
July 24, 2008
Canada loosens bumper standard
Canada ditches its tougher bumper standard in favor of one as weak as the U.S. rule.
July 1, 2008
Federal bumper rules should apply to all vehicles
Cars, SUVs and pickups share the road but they don't share the same standard for bumpers. IIHS has petitioned the federal government to regulate the bumpers on light trucks just as it regulates those on cars. The same bumper rules should apply to all kinds of passenger vehicles.
December 20, 2007
Minivan bumper tests: Nissan Quest is worst
Out of six 2008 minivans tested, none is designed to resist vehicle damage in many low-speed collisions. The front and rear bumper systems allowed $5,000 or more damage in a series of four crash tests conducted at 3 and 6 mph. The Nissan Quest was the worst, sustaining damage that cost more than $8,000 to repair.
August 2, 2007
Bumpers on luxury cars are inadequate
Bumpers, even those on expensive cars, don't resist damage in low-speed impacts. The Infiniti G35, the worst performer, sustained almost $14,000 damage in a series of four tests conducted at 3 and 6 mph. The Saab 9-3 was the best, sustaining $5,243 damage. Only three cars sustained less than $6,000 damage, while four would cost more than $10,000 to fix.
March 1, 2007
New IIHS bumper tests: Most don't work well
Most bumpers on midsize cars do little to resist damage in the kinds of low-speed collisions that are common in commuter traffic and parking lots. IIHS today is releasing the first results of new tests that assess how well bumpers protect vehicles from expensive damage in everyday fender-benders.
September 13, 2004
When bumpers don't line up, repair costs are higher
Low-speed front-into-rear crashes occur frequently in urban traffic, and the vehicles often sustain expensive damage. Bumpers can reduce this damage, but only if they line up so the initial contact in an impact is bumper to bumper. The Institute's latest tests show that bumpers on many cars and SUVs don't line up.
Bumper mismatch is a real-world problem
Photos of real-world crashes show the consequences of bumper mismatch.
February 29, 2004
5 of 6 midsize cars earn low ratings in bumper tests
Five of six new midsize cars have earned poor or marginal ratings in low-speed crash tests conducted by IIHS to evaluate bumpers. Only one model, the Mitsubishi Galant, earned the second-highest rating of acceptable. The Suzuki Verona, Nissan Maxima, and Acura TL are rated marginal. The Chevrolet Malibu and Acura TSX earned the lowest rating of poor.
December 11, 2003
Bumpers get worse on Ford's redesigned pickup, minivan
The Ford F-150 pickup and Freestar minivan, both new for 2004, didn't perform well in recent low-speed crash tests. The F-150 earned a rating of poor, and the Freestar is rated marginal.
November 28, 2003
8 new SUVs sustain big damage in bumper tests
SUVs are advertised as rugged, but few have bumpers designed to withstand a minor bump in a low-speed collision. Eight of nine new midsize SUVs earned poor or marginal ratings for bumper performance in recent 5 mph crash tests. Only the 2003 Honda Pilot is equipped with bumpers that resisted major damage.
March 18, 2003
Of 7 vehicles, only new Honda SUV has decent bumpers
The 2003 Honda Element, a small sport utility vehicle that's new for the 2003 model year, performed reasonably well in 5 mph crash tests. However, the performances of six other vehicles recently tested were poor.
December 3, 2002
Bumper performance varies among cars
In 5 mph crash tests conducted by IIHS to assess and compare how well car bumpers resist damage in low-speed impacts, the midsize 2002 Audi A4 performed well. Another midsize car, the 2003 Honda Accord, performed reasonably well. Among three small cars tested, only the 2003 Toyota Corolla earned a good rating for bumper performance.
July 2, 2002
Just 1 of 4 small SUVs tested has good bumpers
In low-speed crash tests, the bumpers on the redesigned 2003 Subaru Forester performed well, preventing extensive damage in 5 mph impacts. However, the bumpers on three other new or redesigned small sport utility vehicles — the 2002 model Saturn VUE, 2002 Land Rover Freelander, and 2002 Honda CR-V — allowed excessive damage.
May 24, 2002
On 9 midsize cars, not a single good bumper
In low-speed crash tests, the bumpers on the 2002 Lexus ES 300 and Toyota Camry performed reasonably well, preventing extensive damage in the 5 mph tests. The bumpers on the 2002 Nissan Altima and Acura TL didn't perform as well, and those on the remaining five cars — the Jaguar X-Type, Saab 9-5, Lexus IS 300, Volvo S60, and Hyundai XG350 — allowed excessive damage.
March 16, 2002
Different countries, different bumpers
Bumpers on the European version of the Volkswagen New Beetle don't perform as well as the bumpers on the U.S. version.
Most small cars have inadequate bumpers
Some automakers make bumpers that prevent excessive damage, but those are the exceptions, the latest round of testing on small cars confirms.
Kia Sedona bumper test toll is $9,747
The minivan's worst performance was in the front-into-flat-barrier test, in which the airbags unnecessarily deployed.
March 13, 2002
Bumpers fail on 3 small cars and 1 minivan in latest tests
In low-speed crash tests, the bumpers on the new Mitsubishi Lancer, Subaru Impreza, and Volvo S40 didn't bump very well. Total damage sustained in four crash tests at 5 mph ranged from $2,515 to $3,169.
November 29, 2001
Bumpers on 2 vehicles improve dramatically
The bumpers on the new Chevrolet TrailBlazer sport SUV and redesigned Dodge Ram 1500 pickup have improved in low-speed crash tests compared with predecessor models of the same vehicles. The Ford Explorer SUV didn't improve, and the Jeep Liberty sustained more damage than three other vehicles in a recent series of tests.
July 31, 2001
Acura MDX has best bumpers of 7 SUVs tested
Automakers are marketing new midsize SUV models for 2001 and 2002, but most of these vehicles aren't being equipped with bumpers that resist damage in the kinds of impacts that routinely occur in commuter traffic and parking lots. Based on performance in a recent series of 5 mph crash tests involving seven new midsize SUVs, all but the Acura MDX have marginal or poor bumpers.
April 9, 2001
Tests show big pickups, small SUVs have flimsy bumpers
Many cars have bumpers that prevent some of the damage that otherwise can lead to expensive repairs after low-speed collisions, the kind that occur in commuter traffic and parking lots. But this isn't the case for most SUVs and pickup trucks. In a recent series of low-speed crash tests involving four large pickups and three small SUVs, all but one of the seven vehicles allowed excessive damage.
March 20, 2001
Bumper improvements are rare
In contrast to the improvements in frontal crashworthiness, most bumpers haven't gotten better. There are a few exceptions, however.
January 30, 2001
Latest bumper crash tests show some improvement
Seven new cars turned in varying performances in 5 mph crash tests to assess how well their bumpers prevent costly damage in parking lot-type impacts. Six of the cars are updates of models that were previously tested, and two of them improved.
September 13, 2000
Of 5 SUVs tested, only 1 has decent bumpers
Some manufacturers are improving bumpers so that consumers are less likely to face expensive repairs from low-speed collisions, but these improvements aren't carrying over to SUVs. Four of the five midsize SUVs recently tested allowed excessive damage in a series of 5 mph crash tests.
April 15, 2000
Latest bumper tests are disappointing
Among the 17 new cars whose bumpers were recently evaluated, most needed expensive repairs after low-speed crashes.
March 29, 2000
Low-speed crash tests reveal disappointing bumpers
Seventeen new cars, all 1999 and 2000 models, turned in mostly disappointing results in 5 mph crash tests conducted to assess how well the bumpers resist costly damage in the kinds of impacts that frequently occur in commuter traffic and parking lots. The worst performers overall were the 2000 Mazda MPV and the Volvo S80.
February 17, 2000
Cosmetic crash parts are irrelevant to auto safety
The source of a car's cosmetic crash parts is irrelevant to crashworthiness. This is demonstrated in a new IIHS crash test of a Toyota Camry from which the front-end cosmetic parts were removed.
September 28, 1999
Tests of 7 large cars show bumpers are inadequate
Seven large family and luxury cars sustained extensive and costly damage in a series of four low-speed crash tests. The 5 mph impacts compare how well bumpers resist damage in the kinds of impacts that frequently occur in commuter traffic and parking lots. In these tests, none of the seven cars' bumper systems did an effective job of preventing unnecessary damage.
June 16, 1999
SUV bumpers don't resist damage
Some automakers are improving the bumpers on their cars so consumers are less likely to face expensive repairs from low-speed collisions, but these improvements aren't carrying over to SUVs. They still have bumpers that typically allow expensive damage in low-speed crashes.
April 24, 1999
Better bumpers on most vehicles the Institute tested
March 10, 1999
Two car models get better bumpers
Hyundai improved the bumpers on the 1999 Elantra, compared with previous models of this car, and Mitsubishi improved the new Galant's bumpers. In contrast, the bumpers on the redesigned 1999 Mazda Protege are substantially inferior to those on the 1997 model.
July 21, 1998
Bumpers on small SUVs don't prevent costly damage
Seven small SUVs, all 1998 models, allowed excessive damage in a series of four crash tests at 5 mph. Only the Subaru Forester and Jeep Wrangler sustained less than $3,000 total damage. The worst performer, the Kia Sportage, allowed damage costing more than $7,000 to repair. The Sportage's average damage per test was more than $1,800.
May 9, 1998
New Beetle bumpers ace Institute low-speed tests
April 28, 1998
New Beetle's bumpers protect against damage
The Volkswagen New Beetle is equipped with excellent bumpers. Both front and rear bumpers will prevent much of the damage that can occur in low-speed collisions — the kind of crash that frequently happens in congested urban traffic. This is the finding of a series of four crash tests conducted at 5 mph to assess bumper performance.
April 7, 1998
Chevrolet S-10 bumpers are 'the best of a bad lot'
In four crash tests at only 5 mph, the 1998 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck racked up more than $4,000 damage. The best small pickup tested, Chevrolet's S-10 model, sustained more than $2,000 damage in the same four tests. Two other 1998 model pickups didn't perform much better than the Tacoma.
April 4, 1998
Pickup bumpers perform poorly in Institute low-speed tests
January 22, 1998
Volkswagen, Nissan and Lexus improve bumpers
Responding to poor performance in 5 mph crash tests by IIHS, three automakers have improved car bumpers. Nissan and Volkswagen upgraded both front and rear bumpers on their Maxima and Passat models, and Toyota improved the rear bumpers on its Lexus LS 400.
August 30, 1997
Saturn's bumpers are stellar compared with other small cars
August 27, 1997
Saturn performs best among small cars in bumper tests
Saturn's 1997 SL2 performed best among nine small four-door cars, sustaining damage totaling only $655 in four crash tests at 5 mph. In contrast, the 1997 Hyundai Elantra sustained almost 5 times as much damage in the same four tests — more than $3,000 in repair costs. The 1997 Kia Sephia and Mitsubishi Mirage also performed poorly.
May 10, 1997
Luxury car bumpers flunk low-speed impact tests
Bumper performance varies among cars from same automaker
May 8, 1997
Lexus and Mercedes bumpers aren't luxurious
Four of the six 1997 model luxury cars IIHS tested at 5 mph have poor bumpers. All four are imports, and all cost big bucks to repair after walking-speed impacts.
November 9, 1996
Bumpers on passenger vans vary widely in how well they resist damage in low-speed impacts
March 2, 1996
Utility vehicles perform poorly in 5 mph crash tests
Damage repair costs for six 1996 midsize four-door utility vehicles
Mounting spare tire on back adds considerably to repair costs
February 25, 1995
Best, worst 1995 four-door midsize cars in low-speed crash tests
More winners and losers among 1995 four-door midsize cars
Costs to repair damage after a series of four impacts at 5 mph
Some automakers try to improve their cars when it comes to bumpers
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