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Options for Upgrading Your F-250’s Bumpers

The F-250 is not the average daily driver. Because of its reputation as a work truck, its towing capabilities, and/or its off-road advantage, many people flock to the F-250. In any one of these segments, the Ford will endure many hard and risky miles. Because of this, it’s a smart move to add as much protection as possible. The primary way to achieve this is by adding an aftermarket bumper.

2017 F250 with Road Armor Bumper Painted to Match

Table of Contents
  1. Pros and Cons of an Aftermarket Bumper
  2. Why Someone Would Upgrade
  3. Bumper Types & Features
  4. Winch Mounts
  5. Additional Lighting
  6. Integrated Bull Bar/Grille Guards
  7. Materials Used for Said Bumpers

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Pros and Cons of an Aftermarket Bumper

Aftermarket bumpers are not for everyone. Just as there are benefits to running an aftermarket bumper there are drawbacks. Because of this, one will have to balance out the pros and cons of these units before they make their final decision.

The benefits to aftermarket bumpers definitely outweigh the drawbacks. The biggest benefit is added protection against stumps, logs stones, and the occasional deer. They also are often cut to increase wheel clearance, which enhances off-road climbing capabilities. The aesthetic appeal is also something that draws in many, but really it’s the ability to outfit the bumpers with aftermarket accessories that most are after.

The drawbacks of aftermarket bumpers are minimal but considerable. With the heavy-duty construction arrives weight gains. These weight gains can:

  • - Bog the truck down in terms of performance
  • - Have a negative impact on fuel economy
  • - May sage the suspension

It’s also worth noting that aftermarket bumpers are a costly upgrade to make.

Why Someone Would Upgrade

Off-road F-250 owners already know they should consider an aftermarket bumper, but this is not to say the entire F-250 owners club should. The F-250 is primarily known as a work truck or towing rig. Both of these fields can offer limited threats to the front end. One should look at their line of work before writing this upgrade off though.

Tow trucks run long distances and are difficult to stop. If one loses control of the vehicle or is cut off by a deer, a heavy-duty bumper may be what saves their life. Work trucks may see more gravel than the trail, but even independent contractors may find themselves traversing to a hard to reach the workplace. An aftermarket heavy-duty bumper should be installed as it will help increase the ability to reach these places and prevent serious damage to a truck that one may be trying to keep in prime condition.

Bumper Types & Features

There are a variety of aftermarket bumpers available to this platform, which can make selection hard for some F-250 owners. There are two primary types of aftermarket bumpers, which are tubular and heavy-duty.

Tubular bumpers are constructed of tubular construction and were made popular by the additional wheel clearance they brought to the table. Heavy-duty bumpers are constructed of thick plate steel and are a top choice because of the additional accessories built-in and their resistance to heavy blows.

Heavy-duty bumpers are dominating the segment because they’ve taken some notes from tubular bumpers and integrated them into some of the popular designs. But the materials used are just the tip of the surface. There are other features to consider.

Winch Mounts

Having a winch on board provides a major edge in terms of off-roading capabilities. Having a safe place to store that winch only extends these abilities. This is a primary reason for many to even consider an aftermarket bumper in the first place.

Additional Lighting

Another reason to jump on aftermarket bumpers for the F-250 is for additional lighting mounts. Without an aftermarket bumper cutting and drilling into the factory body may be the only way to install lights. These will preserve the body as they provide adequate mounting options for lighting including cube lights and light bars.

Integrated Bull Bar/Grille Guards

Aftermarket bumpers offer additional protection to the immediate area of a standard bumper. For those who need or want to protect the grille, headlights, and hoods, they can purchase a bumper with a built-in grille guard or bull bar.

Materials Used for Said Bumpers

Factory F-250 bumpers are constructed of metal, which may leave one wondering why on earth an aftermarket bumper would be considered safer? Heavy duty bumpers are constructed of plate steel, which massively separates them from the factory bumper in terms of safety. Each manufacturer will offer different gauges of steel, but something around 3/16th of an inch is typical. This gauge of steel is rigid enough to shake off most blows without even receiving a dent.

Tubular bumpers are not built from the same thickness of materials, but tube steel is extremely rigid on account of the tubular design. It can have much thinner materials and still be as strong, if not stronger, than a thicker piece of flat metal. These bumpers generally sit flush with the grille and are not going to block much of anything that sits higher. This makes these bumpers ideal for low obstacles that would otherwise crumble the stock bumper, but for high on coming debris, branches or whatever else may sit as high as the grille, the heavy-duty bumper is a much more effective choice.