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What is a Bumper Valance?

Valance panels may be trim pieces under bumpers to direct airflow, or filler body panels. Here, we cover some variations, and help you locate replacements you need.

Maybe you've heard the term "bumper valance", or "valance panel", but you're not quite sure what one is. When it comes to non-automotive applications, the dictionary defines a valance as a piece of material that hangs loosely from a bed, table, or shelf to conceal what's underneath for decorative purposes. So how does it relate to an automobile?

Front Valance Panel With Built In Airflow Lip
On some modern vehicles, a front valance panel will be larger - with a built-in airflow lip.
Valance Panel
Other times, a valance panel is nothing more than a thin trim piece.

Valance Panels Location

Valance panels can be found on the front and/or rear of cars and trucks from almost any era. Depending on the level of aerodynamic efficiency an automaker was striving for, a valance panel may be a narrow trim piece that's placed low to direct airflow in the same fashion that an air dam does. Or, a valance panel may be a larger piece that features an integrated airflow lip at the bottom.

Separate Panel Pieces
In some cases, a vehicle may even have two separate valance panel pieces in the front or rear - one for the passenger side and one for the driver side.

In some cases, a vehicle may even have two separate valance panel pieces in the front or rear - one for the passenger side and one for the driver side. These are only partial pieces, and typically do not cover the entire width of the vehicle. Instead, they may be positioned on the corners only. Valance panels are also described as "bumper valances", "lower valance panels", "front lower bumper trim plates", or even "front lips".

In some cases, valance panels don't enhance aerodynamics at all. They might be simple cover pieces that conceal areas below the level of the bumper (or bumper cover) that would otherwise be exposed. In the front, this would effectively cover and protect the lower part of the radiator. In the rear, a valance panel might bridge the gap between dual exhaust pipes located on opposite corners of the vehicle.

Steel Front Valance Panel On 73 Pontiac Firebird
Shown here is a steel front valance panel for a 1973 Pontiac Firebird.
Lower Bumper Cover
Rear valance panels are sometimes described as "lower bumper covers".

Materials Used for Valance Panels

Valance panels are usually made of the same materials that a vehicle's bumpers are - but not always. For example, an older vehicle with steel bumpers is more likely to have valance panels that are also made of steel. Yet plastic valance panels aren't uncommon on later vehicles built with exposed steel-and-chrome bumpers. However, if you're looking at a newer vehicle with plastic bumper covers, it's a sure bet the valance panels are also made of plastic.

Low Hanging Valance Panel
Ford Mustang Body Panel
On older vehicles, like this Ford Mustang, a rear valance is essentially a body panel.

Valance panels positioned low to the ground can easily become damaged from driving over speed bumps, angled driveways, potholes, and a host of other road irregularities. And even if you don't have a low-hanging valance panel, it can still become dented or cracked by rock hits, parking lot stops, and assorted other mishaps.

On older vehicles, valance panels are essentially sheet metal body panels that require experience with automotive bodywork to remove and replace. On newer vehicles, with pieces made of plastic, swapping on a new valance panel is simply a matter of bolting on a new trim piece.

If the replacement valance is metal, and you're performing a full-on restoration, we're presuming that the entire body will be professionally shot with paint all at the same time. On a newer vehicle where it’s easier to remove and replace a plastic bumper cover, you may want to consider tackling the job yourself and trying to do the paint work. For guidance, we refer you to our excellent article (if we do say so ourselves) on How to Paint Your Replacement Plastic Bumper.

Valance Panels We Offer

When you're looking for a replacement valance panel, we've got a great selection with a large number of products to choose from. To narrow the selection and see panels that are built for your specific car or truck only, enter year, make, and model information in our "Select Vehicle" box that appears at the top of the page.

Select Vehicle Table

Once you provide the necessary details and hit “Go”, you'll see a shorter list of valance panels that are built with the exact same dimensions, thickness, contours, and materials that your original automaker used. If any variations existed based on trim levels or other factors during the year of your production run, you'll see additional choices in the Product Options popup box once you enter a specific product page.

Replace Front Rear Valances

The Replace brand of body parts includes an incredibly broad assortment of front and rear valances. Whether you own a '60s muscle car, an '80s utility vehicle, or a modern sedan, Replace is almost certain to have a replacement valance to fit your ride.

The valances from Auto Metal Direct lean toward servicing the restoration market. For classic 1960-1970 era vehicles, the AMD valances work very well as factory-correct replacements.

Goodmark also specializes in metal body panels for older vehicles, and those panels include a good assortment of metal valances. Are you looking for that fiberglass front valance for a '60s Shelby Mustang? Goodmark has your part.

If you need a replacement front valance for 1988-91 BMW 3-series models (convertibles until 1993), check out the URO Parts Front Bumper Valance. They also offer bumper extension pieces.

Not sure if the part for your 1960s/early ‘70s era Chevy is called a "valance panel"? Fear not: Restoparts makes Front Filler Panels and Rear Bumper Valances for your car. We also carry a nice selection of front and rear valances from well-known manufacturers including K-Metal, OER, and Sherman.

We also recommend a look through our entire Replacement Bumper Spoilers section. There, you’ll find check boxes along the left side of the screen that let you narrow your search to view other categories of parts that may fall under the umbrella of valance panels. This is because, as we mentioned earlier, valance panels for some vehicles may be categorized as filler panels, bumper spoilers, air dams, or even bumper deflectors.

If you find yourself needing any assistance in finding the right valance panel and other related parts, give us a call. We’ll be glad to locate everything you need and help you with choices – without unpleasant high-pressure sales tactics. Then, before long, your new valance will be on its way. Once it’s in place, you can enjoy a refreshed look - but watch those curbs!

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