Whether you’ve gently backed into a post or experienced a more severe collision, this article will help you determine the extent of the damage to your front or rear bumper, and provide you with both cost estimates and solutions to repair the damage. Both car bumper repair costs are included as well as bumper replacement costs. Details include things as simple as bumper paint repair (cost to paint bumper), cracked bumper repair costs, or new bumper costs. Whatever the blunder, we have you covered.

What’s Covered in This Article:

  • What are the costs of various types of bumper repairs?

  • How can you repair your bumper yourself?

  • At what point should you consider replacing your bumper?

  • And More…

Bumper Repair Costs

Minor Dents to Bumper:

  • Evaluate the Damage: Small dents are some of the easiest bumper-related problems to solve. Check that the dent has not affected any of the paint and is relatively small in diameter.
  • Cost Estimate for a Professional: $50 – $300
  • DIY Pricing and How-To Guide:
    • Boiling Water Technique: $0. One easy (and free!) way to remove minor dents is to pour boiling water onto the plastic bumper cover, then use your hand to pop out the dent from behind, very carefully. You can often access the reverse side of the bumper from the wheel well, but if the indentation is located closer towards the middle of the vehicle, you may need to remove the bumper for this technique. You can also try using a hair dryer or heat gun.
    • Home Dent-Removal System: $10 – $30. Another method is to buy a DIY kit that will allow you to use hot glue and suction to pull out dents without damaging the paint.

Minor Scratches on Bumper:

  • Evaluate the Damage: Minor scratches on a bumper affect only the clear coat, which is the topmost layer of paint that adds shine and protects the color coat from environmental damage, such as bird droppings, UV radiation from the sun, and water/rust damage. Check the depth of the scratch with your fingernail; if your nail does not catch when you run it over the scratch, you are dealing with a minor, superficial, clear coat scratch.
  • Cost Estimate for a Professional: $100 – $300
  • DIY Pricing and How-To Guide:
    • Scratch Repair Pen: $10 – $15. These scratch repair pens are designed to fill in most minor scratches in a single step. Apply, rub smooth and let dry for a simple fix.
    • Buffing Technique: $20 – $50. This simple process shouldn’t take any longer than an hour to complete. Start by washing the area, then gently sand off the damaged clear coat using 3000 grit sandpaper. Be sure to feather out the edges, so there are no distinct lines between the damaged area and the rest of the paint. Polish the area thoroughly with automotive polish or apply a clear coat aerosol spray. Finally, once the clear coat has dried, protect it with automotive wax.
    • Home Scratch-Removal System: $15 – $20. A simple way to get out superficial scratches is to buy a DIY kit that includes all the special equipment (aside from a standard household drill) you need to the paint yourself.

Bumper Scratch Repair:

  • Evaluate the Damage: Check if the scratches affect only the paint or the plastic itself. Then you can decide if you need to repair the bumper cover or simply touch up the paint. Bear in mind that automotive paint is both notoriously expensive and difficult to match perfectly. Often, in order to get good, even paint coverage, you will have to totally remove the paint and respray the entire bumper.
  • Cost Estimate for a Professional: $400 – $600
  • DIY Pricing and How-To Guide:
    • Plastic Bumper Repair: $30 – $50. First, use a razor blade to remove any raised bits of plastic or paint on the edges of the gouge. Mix together a plastic adhesive/filler and apply it generously to the scratch. Finally, wrap a cloth around a stiff piece of cardboard (or semi-flexible plastic) and use it to apply paint leveler to remove the excess filler. The result should be a smooth, even surface. Once this step is complete, you can continue on with touch-up paint.
    • Home Respray: $100 – $600. For a successful respray job, it is imperative to remove the bumper from the car. Remove all accessories, such as bumper stickers and license plates. Then, remove the existing paint by sanding down to the primer with 220 grit sandpaper (try to avoid sanding off the primer and exposing the plastic when possible). Scrub the bumper clean with soap and water, then let it air dry. In the meantime, set up an area for the spray, protecting all surfaces with drop cloths. Outdoors the wind might carry dust and debris that can stick to the fresh paint, so an indoor area is preferable for this portion of the process. Hook up a spray gun to an air compressor using a long length of appropriate hosing. Be sure to wear a respirator to protect your lungs and gloves to protect your skin. Start with a few coats of primer to help hide minor imperfections and to practice your spray technique. After the initial primer coat, sand again with 220 grit sandpaper (away from the painting area) and wash again with soapy water. Apply a second (and even a third) coat of primer, then sand with 400 grit sandpaper. Wash and let dry. For the paint itself, a good match is essential; an automotive shop should be able to mix the color for you. When applying, begin with a very light coat, then slowly build up coverage in light layers to avoid drips and runs in the paint. Once this is dry, apply at least two coats of clear coat to protect the paint job and add shine. Allow paint to dry completely and then wet sand with 1,000 to 2,000 grit sandpaper between coats, keeping the surface wet during the entire process. Finish off with a fine-grain polish and a coat of automotive wax. Wax can be applied before or after the bumper is reinstalled.

Cracks, Tears, and Major Bumper Dents:

  • Evaluate the Damage: Any major damage will need to be repaired before repainting the bumper, however, you will need to consider the extent of the damage. A bumper replacement is more appropriate for major problems.
  • Cost Estimate for a Professional: $500 – $1500
  • DIY Pricing and How-To Guide:
    • Major Plastic Repairs and Reconstruction: $50 – $300. To properly repair the damage, remove the bumper from the car. This allows you to access the back side of the bumper where much of the work will happen. Once removed, check the underside of the bumper for a stamp identifying the material as either thermoset (PUR or TPUR) or thermoplastic (PP, PPO, TEO, TPO, or TPE). You will need to be sure that any filling agent you choose is suitable for your bumper. Thermoplastics may need to be left to cool during the sanding process as they melt, while thermosets grind down into powder very easily. Wash the bumper thoroughly with soapy water and then scrub it down with plastic solvent. Once the plastic is dry and clean, use 80 grit sandpaper to smooth rough edges and remove the paint. You may need to switch to 220 grit to feather the edges. Then, use a drill and rotary file to carve a shallow groove along each edge of the tear (on both the front and back sides of the bumper). This gives the filler more surface area to hold the crack together (you can also drill 1/8″ holes evenly along each side of the tear to accomplish this purpose). Clean once again with plastic solvent; then, tape together the tear on the front side of the bumper, and starting from the back side, apply adhesion promoter. Let it set, and then apply a self-stick mesh repair patch. Mix your plastic adhesive filler, then liberally apply to the back side of the repair. It’s okay to let it ooze through the mesh to the front side. After it has dried for about 20 minutes, remove the tape from the front side and sand down any overflow with 80 grit sandpaper. Then repeat the process of applying the adhesion promoter and plastic adhesive filler (let dry between the two coats; a mesh patch is not necessary the second time). After another 20 minutes of drying, sand again with 80 grit sandpaper, then 180 grit, and finally 240 grit to feather the edges smooth. You are now ready for primer and touch-up paint or respraying.

When Should You Replace Your Bumper? How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bumper?

If the damage to your front or rear bumper is severe, you might want to consider facing the bumper replacement cost. Since one of the functions of a bumper is to protect the body of your vehicle (and, therefore, you) from impact in a collision, replacing a severely damaged bumper is a good safety practice. It is also aesthetically pleasing.

One way you can verify the extent of the damage is to remove the plastic bumper cover and inspect the metal structural bumper that lies beneath. You should always have your car inspected by a professional if you suspect serious damage to the car, as this can have major safety repercussions.

Bumper Replacement Cost:

  • Evaluate the Damage: Rust and corrosion are major red flags that signal the need for bumper replacement. Another sign that indicates a bumper may need replacing is crushed or damaged foam underneath the plastic cosmetic bumper facade. This foam helps absorb the impact during a crash and is critical for the safety of your vehicle.
  • Cost Estimate for a Professional: $800 – $2,000
  • DIY Pricing and How-To Guide:
    • Home Bumper Installation: $300 – $1,500. Installing a bumper yourself can help you save on labor costs, but the price of the bumper itself can still be hefty, especially if your car is a rare or luxury model. Essentially, installing a new bumper involves ordering a bumper that matches your vehicle’s make and model, removing the old, damaged bumper, and then replacing it with the new one. You may also need to spray the new bumper to match the color of your car (see above sections for more detailed information on respraying).

Bumper Repair Costs and Bumper Replacement Costs: Conclusion

How much does it cost to replace a bumper? What’s the rear bumper replacement cost? What does doing a minor bumper scratch repair cost? You now know.

No matter your bumper woes, remember there are many options to fix or replace a damaged bumper. You may be able to save some money on labor or even avoid markups on parts by choosing a DIY solution, but if you’re uncertain about the process or have more extensive damage, it could be worth the price to consult a professional. After all, bumpers are your first line of defense in a car crash, and safety comes first.

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