When ordering your new Jeep you can chose a standard plastic bumper, or you can upgrade to the steel option. Is it worth is? What are the pros and cons of adding this bumper to your build?
The steel optional bumper obviously has advantages right out the door over a plastic bumper. Those are strength and easy customization of the steel bumper into a “stubby” bumper. It only takes a few bolts and you have better function and optics. It also maintains great approach angles.
Other pros include the turn-key nature of the build coming complete. If you are not someone that likes to do work yourself this can be very appealing. Removing and installing a different aftermarket bumper takes time, tools, and patience… and maybe a knock on the head or two. Figure 2-4 hrs depending on your light situation, quantity of tools, etc.
The largest advantage comes when you add a winch. The winch plate settles right in-between the frame and moves the direction of the force from the pull of your winch to directly in line with the frame. This reduces or eliminates the torque created by after-market bumpers that mount the winch above and in-front of the frame rails. The winch plate does cost an additional $350 but is required for a safe winch addition and is a great advantage of the design of the bumper.
Other advantages include weight reduction. Even with the winch plate, the overall weight of the bumper is significantly less than a traditional after-market. It is small; that’s the point. With the winch the front has a very “clean” look.
For the disadvantages, let’s start with the size and overall strength. It won’t take a lot of force to damage the bumper itself. Where some bumpers will dent the rock, this one will be dented by the rock for sure.
It sits much more up and out of the way compared to many aftermarket options, but it just isn’t built the same.
Additional, recovery points are limited with just hooks and no D-Ring capability, which is a pretty significant disadvantage.
So – to finally answer the question – is it worth it? A big – maybe. Here’s why – it really depends on your build and who you are. If you want a great look, with no time on your own, with decent functionality the optional steel bumper build is worth it. If you like a different look, or want something really heavier duty, then an aftermarket bumper might be your best option.