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Car Bumpers Costing More Money

By: Elizabeth Donatelli Email
By: Elizabeth Donatelli Email

March 1, 2007

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety is releasing new information that may upset some drivers as stylish looks could cost more money in the long-run.

They are finding plain and simple that most bumpers don't work in low-speed crashes and are costing drivers a lot of money.

Only three midsized cars of the 17 tested withstood four bumper tests with $1,500 or less of damage. The new tests checked front, rear, and corner impact at different bumper heights and at both 3 mph and 6 mph.

"Bumpers should bump and prevent damage to more expensive car parts like headlamps, hoods and fenders," said Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.

The three that performed the worst cost about $9,000 of damage. It appears that some car manufactures are more concerned with style than practicality.

"Most of them appear to have large covers. The covers look quite large, but when you take the cover off, say of this Nissan Maxima, you see that most of the space underneath the bumper is just air," said Lund. "There's a small bumper bar that doesn't even extend to the corner to protect the headlamps."

The insurance Institute also tested a 1981 Ford Escort which passed the tests with under $500 of damage.

"This vehicle was built when cars were subject to a higher federal standard. Automakers know how to build better bumpers, they just choose not to," said Lund.

In testing the Escort there was zero damage in the front and rear corner impact tests.

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