How to fix scratches in chrome bumpers

Updated July 19, 2017

Chrome bumpers have been used on cars and trucks for years and are particularly prevalent on classic and vintage vehicles. Because of their vulnerable location at the extremities of a vehicle, they can get damaged easily from rocks and debris thrown up from the road. Often, chrome bumpers develop small scratches. These can be removed with a little effort and the right supplies.

Wash the bumper with a mild cleaner like dish detergent. Rinse off the bumper with a hose and then dry it thoroughly with a clean, dry, lint-free towel.

Polish the bumper with a high-quality chrome polish like the kind that Mothers makes (see Resources). Apply a small amount of the polish to a microfibre towel and wipe it onto the chrome. Work the polish into the scratch and then buff the polish out.

Finish removing the scratch with the finest grade of steel wool. Wet the bumper with water to avoid dulling the surface while using the steel wool. Apply a small amount of the polish to the steel wool and then work it into the scratches, gently buffing as you go. Make sure you keep the surface wet to avoid adding more scratches to the chrome.

Rinse the bumper off thoroughly with water and then dry it with a clean, dry, microfibre towel.


Before using the steel wool and polish, test an inconspicuous area first to make sure it does not damage the surface.


It should be noted that although small scratches in chrome bumpers can be buffed out with some chrome polish, due to the hard nature of chrome plating it is impossible to remove larger, deep scratches, particularly if they go through the chrome and into the metal of the bumper. If the scratches cannot buff out with the polish, the bumper will have to be re-chromed by a professional plating shop.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild cleaner and water
  • Chrome polish
  • Micro-fibre towels
  • Steel wool (fine grade)
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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.