How to repair plastic car bumpers

Written by contributing writer
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Car repairs can be costly. While plastic bumpers are designed to withstand the usual nicks and scratches that come from people accidentally bumping your car in parking lots, more serious damage can occasionally happen. The following instructions will teach you how to fix a plastic bumper that's been cracked and needs a paint job. Most of the tools listed are available at hardware stores.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Plastic gloves
  • Plastic Prep Solvent
  • Rag
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Hardener
  • Repair adhesive
  • 2 squeegees
  • Plastic filler
  • Paint sprayer
  • Paint that matches the colour of your car

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    Fixing the Bumper

  1. 1

    Scuff the damaged area of the bumper with a piece of 80-grit sandpaper by scraping the sandpaper across the bumper from side to side. Scuffing the area will allow the repair paint you use later to adhere to the surface more easily.

  2. 2

    Put on the plastic gloves. Pour a small amount of the plastic prep solvent onto the rag, then clean the newly scuffed area of the bumper by wiping the rag across the bumper. Wipe in only one direction: wiping back and forth won't clean the scuffed area, it will just move dirt and oil around.

  3. 3

    Still wearing gloves, mix together approximately 3 tablespoons of hardener and 3 tablespoons of repair adhesive on the section of cardboard.

  4. 4

    Spread the hardener and repair adhesive mixture across the torn or cracked area of the bumper using a squeegee. Allow this mixture to dry on the bumper, which will take approximately 20 minutes.

  5. 5

    Using the second squeegee, apply a thin coat of plastic filler over the area being fixed. Do not apply a thick layer of plastic filler, since this will result in you having more material to sandpaper off.

  6. 6

    Use 80-grit sandpaper to smooth the area where the plastic filler has been applied. Only do this once the plastic filler has dried completely.

  7. 7

    Pour the paint you will use on your car into the paint sprayer according to the manufacturer's instructions. Use the paint sprayer to apply 2-3 coats of paint to the area of the bumper that's being fixed. Allow this to dry overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • You can use a paint brush in place of a paint sprayer in step 7, but the result will be less smooth.
  • The chemicals used in this article are strong. You should fix the car in an open-air area, such as your driveway.

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