Polyurethane Body Kits: A Cheap Alternative

October 31, 2012

While epoxy body kits made with fiberglass were common in the past, polyurethane body kits have been becoming more and more popular in recent years due to a few distinct advantages. These advantages are not without their tradeoffs however.

The Advantages of Polyurethane Body Kits

  • Durability. Polyurethane body kits tend to hold the upper hand when compared to composite pieces when it comes to everyday durability. While a fiberglass kit will start to accumulate many cracks, pits and chips, a well made polyurethane piece, when properly prepared, painted and installed, should have similar durability to a factory installed bumper. Even a well made fiberglass bumper may crack or shatter upon impacting a curb or driveway at speed, but a well made polyurethane bumper might escape with little to no damage due to its increased flexibility
  • Preparation. Polyurethane body kits, when made by a reputable manufacturer, tend to exhibit far less incidence of pinholes and casting imperfections compared to fiberglass pieces. Because of the nature of hand-laid resins, all but the highest quality pieces tend to require extensive preparation before painting. This adds both money and time to the picture when it comes to installation
  • Installation. The weight of polyurethane body kits often exceeds those made of other materials, but they can still prove easy to install. Their flexibility makes them easy to work with and forgiving. Installation can often be completed as a do-it-yourself project. Front bumper and rear lip sections can be correctly aligned no matter what type of vehicle
  • Maintenance. Basic maintenance is easy with polyurethane, as it is simple to clean. A little more effort will be required if the components ever need to be painted, because heat can affect it and cause it to sag. This problem can be rectified with the use of additional adhesive
  • Price. Because of their relative ease of manufacture compared to hand-laid and autoclave cured composite pieces, polyurethane body kits tend to be far cheaper in price, without giving up large amounts of quality

The Disadvantages of Polyurethane Body Kits

  • Weight. While it may not be true in all cases, fiberglass or carbon fiber body components tend to be lighter in weight than most polyurethane pieces. Because polyurethane is rather flexible, more material and thickness is generally required to obtain adequate stiffness for road use. This additional material adds additional weight
  • Repairs. Unlike fiberglass, polyurethane cannot be patched or repaired. Though it's harder to damage, if damage does occur, the entire part must be removed and replaced