How to fix scratches on the bumper of a car

Updated February 21, 2017

Car bumpers are designed to take impact. Since they are at the front and back of a car, they often get scratched since they are the first surfaces to hit an object. Vehicle bumpers are typically made from plastic and require different repairs than scratches in the painted metal on the rest of the vehicle. While your insurance may cover repairs for a scratched bumper, it may not be prudent since the cost of the repair is often less than the deductible amount. With the correct supplies, you can repair your own bumper.

Work in a warm dry area. If conditions outside are not warm and dry, remove the bumper from the vehicle and work in a garage or other climate controlled area.

Wash the scratched area of the bumper using water and a soft cloth to remove any debris or particles that may be present.

Sand the scratch lightly to smooth the surface so that the paint and scratch are even. Be careful not to sand too deeply to expose layers beneath the paint.

Rinse the sanded bumper using a plastic prep solvent to remove sanding dust and prepare the area for paint. Plastic prep solvent can be purchased from auto stores. Follow manufacturer's directions for use.

Tape newspaper around the scratched area, leaving the scratched area exposed. The newspaper will protect the rest of the surface from the paint.

Apply the primer to the scratched area. Allow the primer to dry. Several applications may be necessary to get the scratch covered and smooth.

Paint the bumper to match the paint colour of the rest of the bumper. Most paints are available in a spray can for easy application. Allow the paint to fully dry.

Remove the tape and newspaper. Make sure the painted area matches the rest of the bumper. Use a light spray of paint to blend if necessary.

Apply the clear coat to seal and protect the painted surface.


Allow for good ventilation when sanding plastic and working with paint products to avoid health risks.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic prep solvent
  • Tape
  • Newspaper
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Clear coat sealer
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About the Author

Sarah Thomas has been a freelance writer for more than five years. She has ghostwritten e-books and articles on weddings and other topics. Her work has also been published on various websites. Thomas graduated from Daemen College with a degree in psychology.