Urethane bumpers are fitted to most modern vehicles and have superseded their chrome metal predecessors because of their aesthetic appeal and superior aerodynamic qualities. Unfortunately, urethane bumpers are thin and brittle and this makes them highly vulnerable to splits and cracks upon impact. Professional bodyworks garage estimates will usually include the full replacement of damaged urethane panels but an entire panel change can be avoided and you can perform the repair. The repaired area can be painted and blended to match the rest of the bumper.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Ratchet and socket set
- Trim removal tool
- Folding stand
- Random orbital sander
- P180-grit sanding discs
- Air blower
- Electrical heat gun
- Block of wood
- Adhesive sound deadening pad
- Plastic spreader
- Plastic repair gel
- Aerosol hardener
- Fine grade soft sanding pad
Strip the urethane bumper of all trim surrounds and remove it from the vehicle by unbolting it from the front impact bar and releasing the edges from the splash guard. Place the bumper on a folding stand so the crack is fully accessible.
Sand around the crack with a P180-grit sanding disc attached to a random orbital sander. Ensure the sanded area extends approximately 3 inches beyond the damage and continue until the bare plastic surface is exposed. Remove excess dust with an air blower to leave a clean working surface.
Use an electrical heat gun to warm the urethane bumper and use a block of wood to push down any high spots, holding the wood in place until the plastic surface has cooled to stop it from popping up again. Wash behind the crack with degreaser to produce a clean surface that promotes adhesion.
Take a sheet of adhesive sound deadening pad and cut out a square section that will fit behind the crack to fully cover it. Allow 3 inches of additional pad around the damage to increase the bonding area. Remove the paper backing from the sound deadening pad and place it over the damage at the rear of the urethane bumper, pressing down firmly to create a good bond.
Turn the bumper face up and apply a bead of plastic gel into the remaining crevice. The sound deadening pad will act as a backing to stop the gel leaking through the bumper. Use the thin edge of a plastic spreader to manipulate the gel into the crack and extend it to the edge of the sanded area, ensuring that it sits slightly above the surface.
Spray the gel with a generous coating of aerosol hardener to produce instant curing. Once the hardener has evaporated, rub down the gel with a P180-grit sanding disc until it is flush with the surface of the bumper. The remainder of the panel can be rubbed down with a fine-grade soft sanding pad to complete the repair.
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