I've seen a few vehicles with their plastic bumpers off recently. They all seem to have a large metal crossbar sitting in front of the radiator. What is this called?

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And a sideview of the metal crossbar to impact absorber to chassis rail on an Audi A3.

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4 Answers 4


That is your actual bumper

The bumper you have off is just a cover for your real bumper which is what you are describing.

That bumper, the real one, is tied to your frame and is actually absorbing the energy from impact where the facade is just existing as a cover due to the ugliness of the actual bumper.

  • Most cars actually have a styrofoam or plastic (google "camaro absorber pad" for what I mean by plastic) piece for absorbing energy, actually, it's either missing or attached inside the cover in this picture.
    – Random832
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 4:29
  • 2
    It's more like another ablative piece to get rid of energy. That metal piece is really what diverts large majority of kinetic energy around the vehicle instead of going into the engine and ejecting it onto your lap.
    – Nelson
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 7:06
  • Yes. There is a large styrofoam piece that sits over the metal crossbar / bumper. Two cylinders come out of it and sit in the holes you can see in the bumper.
    – timbo
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 9:25
  • 1
    As addition: You can already see that the black part between chassis and this "bar" in the second picture is made to be compressed and absorb energy.
    – sweber
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 9:40
  • 1
    Does the facade not have aerodynamic purposes as well?
    – user23032
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 13:40

This part is generally called the impact bar, or sometimes reinforcement bar or bumper reinforcer, and, along with the (often styrofoam, sometimes plastic, missing or hidden in your picture) absorber pad, serves the actual safety purpose of a modern bumper. The plastic piece is called the bumper cover.

The absorber pad is crushed to absorb energy in a crash, and the impact bar transmits force through the frame in order to stop the car rather than crushing the engine compartment.


Dependent on your country, I've heard this referred to as a chassis cross member (not so much anymore), bumper reinforcement bar and crash bar.


It is called a "tie bar". Im having mine replaced right now.

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