How to Restore a Worn Black Rubber Bumper

Written by robert russell
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How to Restore a Worn Black Rubber Bumper
Restoring a worn black rubber bumper can help the whole vehicle look new. (dinosaurs image by Scott Williams from

Sunlight and harsh weather conditions are detrimental to the rubber bumpers on cars and trucks. Rubber bumpers also come into contact with grime, debris and chemicals from the road. As rubber ages, it hardens and loses its lubrication and flexibility. The end result is a faded bumper that looks worn and is prone to cracking. Cleaning and restoring the rubber bumper on your vehicle not only improves its appearance, it also helps the bumper retain its original strength.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Garden hose
  • Towel
  • 400 and 600 grit sandpaper
  • Spray bottle
  • Rubber dye and protectant

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  1. 1

    Fill a bucket with warm water and a mild detergent. Soak a sponge in the mixture and wash the bumper to remove all surface dirt and debris.

  2. 2

    Rinse the bumper with a garden hose to remove all soap residue. Dry the bumper with a towel and allow it to completely air dry.

  3. 3

    Wet sand rough areas of the bumper. Fill a spray bottle with water. Spray the bumper with water and then wet sand it with 400 grit sandpaper. Wet sanding prevents sanding dust. Inspect the bumper and repeat the sanding procedure with 600 grit sand paper. Allow the bumper to dry.

  4. 4

    Restore and protect the black colour of the bumper with a rubber trim dye and protectant. Rubber trim dyes such as Forever Black and Bumper and Trim Black are available at auto parts stores. These dyes restore the black colour and provide a protective coating against UV rays. Trim dyes come with a foam pad applicator tip and are easy to apply smoothly and evenly. Once the dye is applied, allow the bumper to dry for 20 minutes.

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