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October 02, 2009

Don't Bump your Bumper!


You'd think the purpose of a bumper would explain itsself: bumpers are for bumping. Well, today, they're just part of the design, costing on average $4,500 to fix. Most are smooth, soft-plastic "fascias" that add to the car's demeanor but are easily damaged - the term bumper is practically an oxymoron. But who knows how to pronounce "fascia"?

Your best bet? Drive safe, or find a good deal on repairs.

Tips to protect your bumper:
-Drive as if your car's bumper were made of fine china - or hundred dollar bills.
-Park away from other, less careful, drivers.
-Don't overrun parking curbs, but if you do, don't immediately back up; this could pull the entire fascia off. Examine the problem and consider calling a tow company.
-Try before you buy (or consult the IIHS's crash tests for bumper damage costs).

What models' bumpers are the least-costly to repair?
Ford Focus
Mazda 6
Scion xB
Smart Fortwo

For more car care tips, visit RTM's Car Care & Maintenance section.

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