- All vehicles have bump stops, but you may need an upgrade if you plan to take your rig off-road.
- Bump stops are essential to protecting your suspension and improving the stability of your ride.
- Because rigid bump stops wear out with repeated use, you should plan to replace them if you notice signs of damage and or hard and or noisy bottom outs.
Off-roading is rough on vehicles, even if they’re built for that kind of terrain. What can you do to keep your truck, Jeep, buggy, SUV or side by side in shape while exploring the mountain trails?
The answer is non rigid off-road bump stops. While every vehicle is manufactured with bump stops, factory-issued components may not be up to the stress of todays demanding off road trails. That’s why so many off-roading enthusiasts replace them with an aftermarket product.
You may be wondering how one part can make a difference in your driving experience. To explain, let’s go over exactly what a bump stop is, how it works, and whether you should upgrade your existing rigid bump stops.
What Is the Purpose of Bump Stops?
Bump stops of all types have two main purposes: suspension dampening and component protection. No matter where you’re traveling, your suspension works hard to keep your ride comfortable and your vehicle traveling on the path you are on. Of course, unpaved roads, broken asphalt, hilly pathways, and rocky trails create more bouncing, which means your suspension can use a helping hand. Bump stops help you and your vehicle from taking the brunt of these forces.
Your suspension springs absorb and release the force your vehicle experiences on the road. When you’re on rough terrain, often more is demanded of your springs then then can handle and when that happens your suspension can bottom out into your vehicles frame. Bump stops are responsible for the last measure of protection between your suspension springs and your vehicles frame. The bump stops are there to really quickly and smoothly slow down the impact to your vehicle frame and ultimately to you as a passenger. A good bump stop can prevent severe damage to you rig. Good bump stops in the right place at the right time can prevent a vehicle from rolling or flipping over, as the result of a very hard bottoming event.
Frequent bottoming out events causes suspension parts and frame components to stress and weaken. That type of stress leads to cracks in metal from work hardening and creates the possibility for a catastrophic failure to occur. Aftermarket bump stops reduce the force acting on these critical components and virtually eliminating stress crack from occurring.
What Kind of Bump Stops Are Available?
There are several types of bump stops, each with its own pros and cons. The major differences arise in construction and function, as some models use, only air, air with oil, and the rigid bump utilize solid materials such as rubber or polyurethane.
So which is best for your vehicle? To figure this out, let’s look at how each type of bump stop works.
Air / Hydraulic Bump Stops
Air / hydraulic bump stops, air bump stops use nitrogen gas, which is fully compressible, instead of solid materials which have limited compressibility. The gas compresses when under load, and the stroke becomes progressively firmer on impact. The force is mild at first, and quickly becomes progressively stiffer the more force that is applied to the bump stop. The progressive nature of air bump stops makes them increasingly popular with off-roaders.
Urethane Bump Stops
Urethane is a type of plastic that’s resistant to water, oxidation, oil, and many chemicals. As a result, it’s much more durable than regular rubber or microcellular materials. Many off-road enthusiasts choose urethane bump stops, due their cost. These types of bumps for the most part prevent damage to your vehicle frame members but do little to provide comfort for the passengers.
Microcellular Foam Bump Stops
Factory bump stops tend to be made of rubber, but microcellular foam provide more comfortable ride. This particular kind of rubber is of higher quality, and are more progressive than urethane. The stroke starts soft before stiffening with added pressure. Microcellular bumps stop ware out quicker than urethane and won’t survive very hard impacts.
Which Bump Stop Should You Get?
In addition to there being several types of bump stops, there are also a variety of models and brands to choose from. You’ll need to find a bump stop that works with your vehicle as well as your budget, all without compromising quality. To ensure you can optimally balance all these factors, let’s review your options.
For maximum comfort and protection, you should look for the longest bump stop that will physically fit your vehicle. The travel on most air bumps ranges from 2 inches to 4 inches of travel length, though it’s possible to create custom lengths with internal spacers. Additionally, you can choose between 2.5-inch diameter body styles, which are recommended for vehicles weighing over 5,000 pounds, and 2-inch diameter body styles, which are recommended for vehicles weighing under 5,000 pounds. The 2”x4” travel bump stops provide the most progressive stop and for that reason they are very popular.
Microcellular foam and urethane bump stops tend to be cheaper than their air/hydraulic counterparts; you can get a high-quality urethane model Hydraulic options in a wide range of prices, from $100 to $500 per vehicle. Air Hydraulic bump stops for all four corners will cost you between $600 and $2,000. If you want the best off-roading experience possible and money isn’t an issue, air/hydraulic is really, the only option.
Many of your vehicle’s moving parts require regular maintenance to ensure your car performs properly. When it comes to bump stops, generally a visual inspection now and then is sufficient. You can quickly see if there is a problem.
How Do You Know It’s Time To Replace Your Bump Stops?
Rigid bump stops don’t last forever, depending on use, they may need replacing even after one hard run. If you’re not bottoming out much Rigid bump stops can last a few years. While rigid bump stops are built to be tough and long-lasting, they’ll eventually degrade with repeated use. If you suspect it’s time for a replacement, here are some red flags to look out for.
When your bump stops degraded, going along curves and corners may cause your vehicle to lean. Because this affects the control you have over your rig, you should address the issue immediately to prevent a collision or flipping your vehicle.
When you drive over a speed bump if you notice or hear the front or rear of your vehicle making strange noises, take a look at your bump stops and replace as needed.
First Over All Off-Road Shock Technology is dedicated to providing the highest quality parts to our customers. We offer a variety of components compatible with top off-roading brands, including Toyota, Jeep, Chevy, Ford, Dodge, King, and Fox. For more information or to take a look at our selection, visit us online.