Sport Utility Bumpers: Damage Repair Costs

Consumers' Research Magazine, August 1999 | Go to article overview

Sport Utility Bumpers: Damage Repair Costs


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 utility vehicles. They still have bumpers that typically allow expensive damage in low-speed crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently tested six 1999 model midsize utility vehicles, only two of which allowed less than $5,000 damage in four impacts at five mph. The worst vehicle tested, Mitsubishi's Montero Sport, sustained more than $6,000 damage. "There was a wide range of damage, with a couple of utility vehicles doing better than the others," Institute senior vice president Adrian Lund points out. "But even the best one we tested, the Mercedes ML 320, sustained about $3,000 damage."

Four other 1999 midsize utility vehicles--Lexus RX 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Discovery, and Dodge Durango--performed better than the Montero Sport but far from well (see table). "This is very different from the rugged image utility vehicle manufacturers are selling. Instead of rugged, a more appropriate description for the bumpers on these vehicles is flimsy," Lund says.

Little Improvement from Previous Tests of Same Vehicles. The Institute previously tested 1996 models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Land Rover Discovery. In both cases, the bumper performances were poor. This time around, the vehicles have been redesigned, giving the automakers a chance to see what went wrong in the previous tests and equip the new models with bumpers that do a better job of resisting damage in five mph impacts. There were improvements, but they weren't impressive (see table). Both vehicles performed somewhat better but still racked up more than $5,000 damage in the four low-speed impacts.

To assess bumper performance, the Institute conducts a series of four crash tests at five mph--front and rear flat-barrier impacts plus two localized impacts, front-into-angle-barrier and rear-into-pole.

Two Pole Tests of Dodge Durango. When the rear of this utility vehicle hit the pole at five mph, the minor impact activated the door latch and the tailgate opened. The automaker made changes in the rear bumper system and asked for another pole test. The result was that, the second time, the latch didn't open and the vehicle sustained about $500 less damage in the impact. However, there still was more than $1,000 damage in the pole test alone.

No Damage-Resistance Requirements. One reason the utility vehicles performed so poorly is that they aren't subject to any requirements to prevent damage in low-speed impacts. Car bumpers have to meet federal standards in 2.5 mph impacts, and most of the bumpers on cars include a reinforced bumper bar and foam or other material to absorb crash energy. But the bumpers on many utility vehicles don't. The Montero Sport's bumper system, for example, doesn't include energy-absorbing material, and the bumper bar "isn't much of a bar at all," Lund notes. "It's just a thin steel plate that functions more to support the bumper cover than to resist damage in low-speed impacts."

Another problem is that the bumper parts themselves are very expensive, which drives up the cost of repairs. For example, the front bumper on the Discovery is a one-piece system. Extensive damage to any part of it means the whole thing has to be replaced at a cost of $600 for the part alone. This is one reason repair costs were so high for this vehicle after the two frontal impacts at five mph.

Damage Repair Costs In Five-mph Crash Tests

1999 Midsize Sport                  Front      Rear        Front
Utility Vehicles                     Into      Into   Into Angle

                                  Barrier   Barrier      Barrier

Mercedes ML 320                     $346      $121         $951
Lexus RX 300                        $422      $334       $1,418
Jeep Grand Cherokee
  1999 model                        $641      $871       $1,578
  1996 model                        $758    $1,677       $2,025
Land Rover Discovery
  1999 model                        $914    $1,238       $2,275
  1996 model                        $745    $2,298       $2,879
Dodge Durango                     $1,494      $702       $1,716
(2nd test after bumper changes)
Mitsubishi Montero Sport          $1,141    $1,239       $2,122

1999 Midsize Sport                  Rear
Utility Vehicles                    Into     Total
                                    Pole    Damage

Mercedes ML 320                   $1,500    $2,918
Lexus RX 300                      $1,119    $3,293
Jeep Grand Cherokee
  1999 model                      $2,017    $5,107
  1996 model                      $1,945    $6,405
Land Rover Discovery
  1999 model                       $799     $5,226
  1996 model                      $1,287    $7,209
Dodge Durango                     $1,743    $5,655
(2nd test after bumper changes)   $1,241    $5,153
Mitsubishi Montero Sport          $1,780    $6,282

Note: Repair costs reflect January 1999 prices. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Sport Utility Bumpers: Damage Repair Costs
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.