Plastic bumpers are found on many vehicles today, which makes bumper repair easier to do at home. Metal and fibreglass bumper repair often needs the help of a mechanic, and a mechanic will sometimes opt to buy a replacement if the bumper sustains too much damage. To repair a plastic bumper, you may need to buy a few tools, but it should still save you money to do it yourself. Many people have trouble removing a bumper for repairs, but it is as simple as locating screws and plastic caps, and then pulling off the bumper.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Car degreaser
- 1/8-inch drill
- Heat gun
- Flathead screwdriver
- Air compressor
- 80-, 180-, 320-grit sandpaper
- Adhesion promoter
- Wire mesh
- Bonding adhesive
- Carbide burr
- Polypropylene welding rod
- Body filler
- Texture spray
- Paint gun
- Bumper colour coat
- 10mm ratchet wrench
Open the boot to remove the bumper and remove the plastic fastener located on the inside wall on each side of the car. Unscrew the plastic screws hidden under the fasteners.
Unscrew the plastic rivets. The plastic rivets are usually located on the inside of the cargo area, opposite the bumper.
Pry off all of the plastic caps using a flathead screwdriver. Most vehicles have four plastic caps located in the rear door frame. Unscrew the screws hidden under the plastic caps.
Unscrew all of the bumper screws located on the underside of the car and inside the wheel wells.
Pop out the plastic fasteners located on the underside of the bumper with a flathead screwdriver.
Loosen and remove any bolts located under the carpet in the boot that are holding the bumper in place.
Thoroughly clean the bumper with dish soap and water, then wash again with a car degreaser to remove any residue.
Drill a 1/8-inch hole at the ends of any cracks in the bumper to stop the crack from spreading.
Heat the bumper's damaged area with a heat gun. When the plastic is extremely hot and pliable, press it back into its original form with the end of a screwdriver or hammer to avoid burning yourself.
Sand the back of the bumper around the damage with 80-grit sandpaper, smoothing out the plastic seam. Blow with compressed air and then apply a coat of adhesion promoter. Wait 10 minutes for it to set.
Cut out a piece of wire mesh to cover the damage, plus 1 inch around the edges. Cut off any sharp corners of the mesh.
Apply a bonding adhesive to the back of the bumper and embed the mesh in the adhesive, adding more if needed, to cover the wire mesh thoroughly. Let the adhesive dry. The wire mesh is added to give support to the weakened area of the bumper.
Grind out a 1/2-inch groove along the seam of the damage on the front of the bumper with a carbide burr, going halfway through the bumper. Sand with 80-grit sandpaper to create a rough texture and round out the edges of the groove.
Blow out the groove with compressed air to remove the dust and apply a coat of adhesion promoter. Wait 10 minutes and then weld a polypropylene welding rod into the groove with a heat gun. Avoid melting the bumper along with the rod. Fill the groove with the welding rod and top it off with filler. Smooth while the filler is wet and then let dry. Give the filler at least two hours to dry, allowing for air humidity, cold weather and thick applications.
Sand with 180-grit sandpaper, followed by 320-grit sandpaper to remove any fuzzy burrs of plastic. Spray with a texture spray, if needed, using a paint gun and an air compressor. Spray on a bumper colour coat that matches. Colour-matching cards can be found at auto parts stores that sell bumper colour coat.
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