Are you looking for a heavy duty steel bumper to support a winch? If so, you may be wondering how thick the bumper’s steel plate should be. The bumper’s strength is a very important factor in the winch’s ability to recover a vehicle. The bumper must handle all the force, after all.
Some companies selling steel bumper kits are offering different steel plate thicknesses. So what’s the ideal steel plate thickness to support a winch and the force of recovering a vehicle?
The answer is 3/16″-1/4″, depending on where the piece of steel is located in the bumper. But it’s not quite the right question to ask if you’re concerned about the bumper’s strength.
The question you should be asking is, “Are the welds good?”
A Steel Bumper Is Only As Good As The Welds That Hold It Together
The thickness of the steel plate isn’t nearly as important as the weld quality. While it’s great to have a bumper made out of thick steel plate, it won’t stand up to the force your winch puts on it if the welds are bad. The welds are always the weakest point on any steel bumper. So when a bumper can’t handle the force of pulling a vehicle, the welds are the first thing to fall apart. That’s why you want a steel bumper with great welds. It’s the only way your winch bumper will last.
If you’re looking for a steel bumper to support a winch, the welding should be the first thing to look at. Let’s say you find two steel bumpers:
- A 1/2″ steel plate bumper with bad welds
- A 1/4″ steel plate bumper with good welds
You should always, always pick the second one: the thinner bumper with good welds. Even a bumper with the thickest, strongest steel in the world will fall apart if the welds aren’t done right.
At Throttle Down Kustoms, we understand how important the weld quality is. That’s why we use highly skilled certified welders to weld together our bumpers. Here’s more information on why Throttle Down Kustoms is the best brand for winch bumpers.
Other Factors That Are More Important Than The Steel Plate Thickness
The welding is the most important factor that determines the bumper’s strength. There are a couple other factors you should consider, too:
- The internal support inside the bumper
- Rust protection
Internal supports reinforce the bumper where it sees the greatest forces. Rust protection is important, too. Even a small amount of rust on a bumper, especially on the welds, compromises the bumper’s strength. All TDK bumpers come with internal supports and rust protection.
Why Do Some Manufacturers Heavily Advertise Steel Plate Thickness If It Doesn’t Matter So Much?
It’s probably to distract people from the fact that their welds aren’t great. It could also be because their bumpers don’t have internal reinforcements or high quality rust protection.
It’s common for aftermarket bumpers to have bad welds. Welding is a large part of the cost that goes into manufacturing a steel bumper. Adding internal supports takes very little steel, but does take some welding. Some manufacturers cut corners by doing as little welding as possible. Steel is among the most inexpensive components that go into manufacturing a bumper. So it’s easy for a manufacturer to splurge on thick steel and cut corners on the internal supports and welding.
So if you’re shopping for a steel bumper, look at the quality of the welds before anything else. Then look at the internal supports. Those things will tell you a lot about whether it will last as a winch bumper.