Short Answer: The cost to repair or replace a bumper depends on your car and on the type of damage the bumper sustained. For minor dents and scratches, you can get a professional repair for around $50 to $600, or you can do it yourself for little to no cost. If the damage is severe, you can get a professional replacement for around $800 to $2,000, or you can do it yourself for just the cost of the new bumper (without the cost of labor). For more about the cost associated with repairing or replacing a bumper, see below.
Bumper Repair Costs
Having a solid bumper is crucial for the safety of your car, so it is important to repair even small dents and scratches. The cost to repair a bumper will depend on the type and severity of the damage, as well as the make and model of your car. You may be able to repair some small dents and scratches yourself, so we’ve listed below the average costs for professional repair, as well as some DIY options.
Minor Dents on Bumper
Small dents are some of the easiest bumper-related problems to solve. First, you should check that the dent is relatively small in diameter and has not affected any of the paint.
- Cost for professional repair: About $50 to $300
- Cost for DIY repair:
- Heat the plastic bumper: Free. You can remove minor bumper dents by heating the plastic bumper cover (with boiling water, a hair dryer, etc.), then use your hand to carefully push out the dent. You can often access the reverse side of the bumper from the wheel well, but if the indentation is located closer to the middle of the vehicle, you may need to remove the bumper for this technique.
- Home dent-removal system: $10 to $50 on Amazon. You can 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
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. You can 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, scratch on the clear coat.
- Cost for professional repair: About $100 to $300
- Cost for DIY repair:
- Scratch repair pen: $10 to $15 on Amazon. These scratch repair pens are designed to fill in most minor scratches in a single step.
- Buffing technique: $20 to $50. To buff out a scratch, start by washing the area, then gently sand off the damaged clear coat using 3000 grit sandpaper. You can then polish the area thoroughly with automotive polish or apply a clear coat aerosol spray. Once the clear coat has dried, protect it with automotive wax.
- Home scratch-removal system: $15 to $20 on Amazon. A simple way to fix superficial scratches is to buy a DIY kit that includes all the special equipment (aside from a standard household drill) you need to do the work yourself.
Bumper Scratch Repair
If the scratches affect only the paint or the plastic, you can decide whether you need to repair the bumper cover or simply touch up the paint. Keep in mind that automotive paint can be expensive and difficult to match perfectly. Often, in order to get even paint coverage, you will have to totally remove the paint and respray the entire bumper.
- Cost for professional repair: About $400 to $600
- Cost for DIY repair:
- Plastic bumper repair: $30 to $50. You can buy and mix together a plastic adhesive/filler and apply it generously to the scratch. Then, apply a paint leveler to remove any excess filler. Once the area is smooth, you can retouch the paint.
- Home respray: $100 to $600. For a successful respray job, it’s important to remove the bumper and all accessories. Then, remove the existing paint by sanding down to the primer with 220 grit sandpaper. Hook up a spray gun to an air compressor using a long length of appropriate hosing. Be sure to work indoors if possible (to avoid wind), and wear gloves and a respirator for your own protection. You can start by applying and sanding a few coats of primer, then the paint, and at least two clear coats on top. An auto shop should be able to mix the color for you to ensure the closest possible match. You can finish off the paint with wet sanding, polishing, and waxing.
Cracks, Tears, and Major Bumper Dents
If there are any cracks or serious damage to the bumper, you will need to repair it or replace it before repainting. A bumper replacement may be more appropriate for major problems.
- Cost for professional repair: About $500 to $1,500
- Cost for DIY repair: About $50 to $300. If you have the time and resources, and you are willing to do some research and more complicated work, you might be able to repair major bumper damage yourself with thermoplastics. There are plenty of online resources with step-by-step guides for completing these types of repairs. Polyvance has instructions for repairing a bumper with fusion welding, and Instructables Workshop has a detailed guide for bumper reconstruction.
Bumper Replacement Costs
If the damage to your front or rear bumper is severe, you might want to consider replacing it altogether. 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, and can be worth the cost.
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.
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 to absorb the impact during a crash and is critical for the safety of your vehicle.
- Cost for professional replacement: About $800 to $2,000
- Cost for DIY replacement: About $300 to $1,500. Installing a bumper yourself can help you save on labor costs, but the price of the bumper can still be hefty, especially if your car is a rare or luxury model. Installing a new bumper involves ordering one (either new or aftermarket) 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, using the method detailed above.
Whether your bumper has sustained minor dents or scratches or it has serious cracks, repairing it is crucial to the safety of your vehicle. For minor damage, you can get a professional repair for around $50 to $600 (depending on the car and the extent of the damage), or you can do it yourself for little to no cost. If your bumper needs to be replaced entirely, you can get a professional installation for around $800 to $2,000, or you can do it yourself for just the cost of the new bumper and save on the labor costs. If you’re unsure of the severity of the damage to your bumper, it’s a good idea to consult a professional.
For more about bumpers, our article explains whether or not it’s legal to drive without a bumper.