Rear-Ended; New Bumper?

Page 1 of 3  
93 Civic DX sedan. It was a collision hard enough that the drawer beneath the radio opened and sent the coin change I keep there flying. As I got out, I thought I would find the Civic's rear would be partly
flattened. I was amazed that externally, the bumper only showed scratches. The exhaust system is intact. Is the integrity of the foam etc. in the bumper compromised, though, after a hard rear-ending?
The police made their report. I spoke with my insurance company last night. While only once before (on another car 20 years ago) of several rear-endings have I pursued a claim, this collision was so hard that I am concerned.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

if there's no deformation, there's nothing to worry about.
if there is damage, of much more concern is whether you get to keep your own car - if you have full insurance coverage, chances are, the insurer will take your car, junk it, and give you a trivial settlement as "market value". only insure old cars third party if you like them and want to keep them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

To clarify and/or double check: There is no deformation of the bumper that appears on an external inspection. I asked the policeman about the styrofoam inside, and he said the external plastic would often bounce back, showing no deformation, but meanwhile the styrofoam inside could be permanently deformed.
Is this not so from your understanding of bumper construction?
Thanks for giving this some time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The cop is correct. A junkyard crawl will confirm this.
The steel bumper rebar is bolted to the car. The foam is affixed to the bumper skin which covers the rebar.
The foam is meant primarily to hold the bumper skin out to its finished dimensions and shape. It also absorbs very minor "parking lot" type nudges. Under heavier impacts, the foam tends to compress and break up into large chunks. Those chunks often stay in place on account of the shape of the skin, but they can become dislodged and even fall out.
Theoretically, the rebar comes into play above 2.5mph (5mph in Canada), and theoretically protects the lights and other safety systems from damage during those impacts. Although I've seen too many instances where the bumper appears to have provided little more protection than a 1960s bumper, while costing a lot more.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Tegger wrote:

as tegger says, the styrofoam is of no consequence in any real accident, it's simply to hold cosmetic shape. the steel or gfrp bar underneath, and its mounting brackets, are what matter. if they're bent, the bumper always shows misalignment. afaik, honda build to 5mph rather than dick about with this keep-detroit-employed 2.5mph rubbish - doesn't take much of a nudge to open a full change tray. chances are, you're just fine.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I think you're right and I'm at least out-of-date in my information.
According to www.riv.ca, the government-licensed agency that administers the importation of foreign vehicles into Canada, 1994-and-up Hondas are admissible without bumper modifications. Since Elle's '93 is the same as the '94, this means her bumpers are obviously 5mph ones.
Since cars that are 15 model-years old or older are importable into Canada without any restrictions or modifications, they are no longer listed with RIV, so I can't check to see if earlier models had 2.5mph bumpers.
However, it's still passing strange that Canada and the United States remain, since 1973, the only countries in the entire world to have bumper standards at all.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yours is good info, fellows.
I googled a bit on the purpose of the styrofoam "absorber" (as it is called on parts sites). I thought this was interesting (from http://www.car-stuff.com/toyotabumperabsorber.htm ): "... it is the Toyota bumper absorber that is usually made of Styrofoam or plastic that is positioned in between the bumper cover and the reinforcement to help strengthen the capacity of the bumper to absorb the impact created during collisions. In most cases, bumpers alone could not sustain the impact created during collisions, which is why a bumper assembly should be completed for maximum protection. If until now your bumper assembly is still lacking a Toyota bumper absorber, better equip your auto with one now or you probably would regret later on that you haven't. Bumpers are able to bounce the force back to the object that has collided with your auto instead of that force directly hitting your vehicle."
A lot of helmet designs use styrofoam, for one, so the above seems reasonable.
Seems there is a fair amount of chatter and dispute about whether the metal bumpers of say the 60s were better insofar as cutting down on damage to the vehicle. Maybe so but ISTM manufacturers also sought to lighten cars to achieve better gas mileage. Tradeoffs and all.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Around the mid-'60s, automakers started turning their bumpers into what might be more accurately termed "decorative chrome bars". Insurance claims for minor body damage began escalating about that time. Tired of the claims, and alarmed by the sleek, form-fitting "bumpers" installed on cars by the late '60s, insurance companies lobbied the federal government for impact standards in order to limit minor damage claims.
From what I understand, the nascent safety zealots jumped in at the same time, claiming that safety was being undermined by lots of people driving around with broken headlights on account of the poor bumpers.
The result of their combined efforts was the 5-mph bumper impact regulations, first imposed on the front bumpers of 1973 MY cars (except for hardtops and convertibles, for some odd reason, which got one more year to comply).
The first energy-absorbing bumpers were essentially simple "logs" mounted on cylindrical struts that were filled with fluid of some kind, and were designed to collapse under impact. These assemblies were bulky and heavy (and usually ugly).
As the CAFE regulations of 1975 got tighter and tighter over the years, automakers sought to make the original steel/aluminum battering-ram bumpers lighter and lighter. This is why we now have hybrid flexible/rigid bumpers: Light foam simply replaced the old heavy cylindrical struts. Your rebar -- the original "bumper" prior to 1973 -- is now rigidly mounted to the body shell, just like a 1972 model, but is now buried under a $400 plastic skin ($800 including paint).
It's my understanding that insurance companies never really did get their hoped-for claims reductions: Better bumpers meant even /less/ careful drivers. Minor impact damage went down, but just about every other kind of collision damage went way up. A mixed blessing, to say the least.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Hope you were OK. Did you see it coming?

The foam is usually cracked and compressed. If you push on the bumper skin with your hand, you'll probably find that there is air space that wasn't there before. You may have a slightly increased chance of parking-lot damage to the skin (creasing, paint cracking) than you did before, but otherwise it should be OK.
You can try reaching inside from underneath with your hand (don't know if you'll actually be able to touch the foam) and see if the foam is loose.

Is there obvious displacement of the bumper skin relative to the trunk, taillights and fenders? Does the trunk still shut exactly as it did before?
The trunk latch is right next to the bumper, so it's a pretty good proxy for evidence of structural deformation.
--
Tegger

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jul 7, 8:08am, Tegger wrote:

Yes thanks no injuries; just shook up. Mostly while waiting for the police report I was just really unhappy that my beloved Honda may have been blemished+ or more. I was and am really irritated with the person who caused this and have half a mind to maximize her insurance company's hit to compel her to think twice while she drives (with two small kids in the car). But gosh I loathe insurance companies, so...
I was at a stoplight that had turned green yet the cars in front of me were not moving. So I did not see it coming.
I will do all the checks you described soon. Thank you for the detail!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

Glad you are all right.
When I got rear-ended, I was stopped a bit short behind another car waiting to make a left turn. I watched in the rear view mirror as a driver of a little econo-box stomped her brakes, making the rear end pop up and swerve back and forth as it approaced my bumper. I had a split second to turn my car left, but not into oncoming traffic, to avert the oncoming blow. Luckily she turned out of my lane and a full-on smash to just graze the rear right corner of my bumper cover. Deep scratches in the plastic, but fixable. I should have made the insurance pay for a whole new bumper, but instead, I just had her pay for paint. I just repaired and repainted the whole bottom of the cover that needed refreshing anyway. I didn't give much thought to the styrofoam underneath.
It is fairly easy to remove the rear bumper to see what's going on under there.
dan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snip but all read and found helpful

I checked everything people listed here. The factory shop manual has a single page for directions on how to get the bumper cover and styrofoam absorber apart, and it is dead-on correct in what (easily accessed) screws and bolts to remove. Everything looks good! I am amazed that the styrofoam absorber is not cracked nor does it appear deformed. At most, the bottom 3/8-inch of the styrofoam has small indentations from where gravel from the road accumulated over the years between the styrofoam and bumper cover. Then the gravel got pushed into the styrofoam some, either from this rear-ending or lesser ones over the years. The bumper beam looks fine.
I guess the styrofoam, the bumper beam, and the car moving some upon collision took the force (in the vein of Tegger's post). Kudos to Honda engineers or whoever sets standards for bumpers. A little more touchup paint here and there; some Armor All, and I think my Civic will be good to go.
Thanks again Jim, Tegger and Dan.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Postscript: On reflecting on this accident and preventing it in the future, and from reading Dan's post, I think one of the lessons here is when there is a green light yet people ahead of one's car are not moving, glance at the rear-view mirror throughout and see what people in the back are doing. Maybe scoot the car up a little until people start moving.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Elle wrote:

    Yes moving forward when the vehicles in front of your vehicle haven't moved would increase the odds of having your vehicle pushed into the vehicle ahead of yours. Increasing the amount of damage to your vehicle and involving other vehicles and people in the collision.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

good rule of thumb when stopped, always leave enough space in front of your car that you can see at least the rear bumper of the car in front of you, so that a rear impact won't totally squish your car. you might even be able to duck sideways out of the way. practice in your driveway at such things helps. stuff you need to know when you drive a civic in a world of suvs.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
z wrote:

    An even thing to do is to stay back so that you are able to see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front of yours. This allows you enough room to cut your wheels and to drive around that vehicle should the need arise, whether due to another vehicle approaching yours from the rear faster than it can stop or if the vehicle in front stalls and doesn't move when the light changes. This works for any size of vehicle by the way from a Smart Car or a tractor trailer truck.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 7/9/09 5:44 AM, in article h34hmf$tr6$ snipped-for-privacy@news.datemas.de, "Brian Smith"

That all sounds great, totally reasonable & in fact, driver's ed in 1965 taught the bumper rule. If you try it around here (Dallas), one of several things will happen every time: another car will try to pull into the gap between you and the car in front if that gap appears big enough; the cars behind you will start honking because you are blocking access to the turn lane by being stopped so far back; the driver behind you will stop, get out of the car and come up and start yelling (like they do in D.C.). I have found the half-car-length rule to be more practical & just as safe.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

some folks just can't judge distance. The "bottom of the tires" guideline works good enough,and is not too far back,and doesn't leave a gap sufficient for anyone to sneak into.
(and if they appear to be trying,THEN you edge up a tad,block them.you should be paying attention anyways.)
--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
E. Meyer wrote:

    The space between vehicles is not great enough for any idiot to think about squeezing into, there just isn't room.
    As far as blowing horns and people walking up to "chat" that's fine and easy to ignore.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 7/9/09 8:22 AM, in article h34qtn$os8$ snipped-for-privacy@news.datemas.de, "Brian Smith"

Depends what you are driving - If its anything with a long hood (& I'll concede that leaves out most Hondas) and/or the thing in front has a long trunk (like an LTD), bottom of the tires is about one car length & I have seen it happen enough times to know its true.

Usually its the guy who just missed the once-every-5-minutes turn light because some jerk wouldn't pull up 5 feet to let him into it. Easy to ignore, but still...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.