Parked cars are targets for inattentive drivers and loose shopping trolleys. Dings, dents and bends in a rear bumper are unsightly and problematic. Most modern rear bumpers are made out of a hard, moulded plastic which typically shatters upon impact. Older model vehicles use metal bumpers that should be replaced or repaired by a professional. Following a few simple repair tips can get your rear bumper back into the proper shape.
Attempting to work on a bumper while it is mounted on the vehicle can be very difficult. The best thing you can do is remove the bumper, which connects to the frame and body panels. A simple socket wrench and pliers will disconnect all bolts and clips holding the bumper in place. Disconnect wiring harnesses and pull the bumper free of the vehicle. Lay a cloth down on a hard surface and rest the bumper on the cloth. You may want to clamp the bumper to the surface so that the bumper is stable while you repair it.
Cracks and Breaks
Newer vehicles use moulded plastic bumpers. The upside is that the bumpers are fairly impact-resistant. The downside to the bumpers is that the plastic has a tendency to fracture or split when under duress. Unless you have access to professional moulds, you will have to repair the bumper using support beams and two-part epoxies. Repair cracks by mixing up some industrial-strength, two-part epoxy adhesive. Apply the adhesive into the crack or between broken pieces and onto the backside of the pieces. Press a long, firm, rod into place perpendicular to the crack to help support the crack. The rod should be held in place using the epoxy adhesive and be long enough to stretch two to three inches to both sides of the crack. You can sand the surface of the crack to remove adhesive that squeezes out. Apply primer and paint to the crack after the epoxy dries to mask the presence of the damage.
Bends and Divots
Bends, divots or other similar concave impressions in a plastic bumper are not easily repaired. The plastic warps so that if you were to try and hammer out the bend, it will end up as a convex pimple on the bumper. The best thing to do with bends or warped bumpers, when the damage is concentrated to one area, is to fill the gap with a fibreglass body filler. The fill material adheres to the surface after a light sanding, and dries to a solid. You can sand the surface to blend it with the surrounding plastic creating a smooth surface to the bumper. Metal bumpers can have small divots or bends repaired using a ball-peen hammer and light strokes. Apply some heat to the bumper using a propane torch to soften the metal before hammering.
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