How to repair a plastic car bumper
Bumpers are a vital component of your vehicle. They protect your car’s panels from serious damage in the event of a minor collision, so it’s important to adequately care for them. Plastic bumper cover repair is a very common procedure, and won’t keep your car off-road for long at all. While bumper repairs can come in at a pretty high price point, it’s a much better repair alternative than letting them break down over time.
In this article we will talk about car bumper repair, including:
- What plastic car bumper covers are made of
- How to know when your bumpers need repair
- How to repair plastic car bumpers
- The cost of plastic car bumper repair
What are plastic car bumpers made of?
Bumpers have two parts: a pliable plastic cover and an impact or reinforcement bar that connects to the frame of the vehicle. Although metal bumpers were most common back in the day—and, therefore, seen on vintage cars—basically all modern models have made the switch to plastic bumper covers. Where metal bumpers were a prominent design feature in their own right, plastic ones blend into the panels of the vehicle.
Plastic bumper covers are made with a scratch and impact-resistant plastic that is a combination of plastic molecules, rubber, and reinforcing filler (known collectively as thermoplastic olefins). Plastic is an ideal material for car bumpers because of its malleability: it is expected to crumple or crack when it comes into contact with strong external forces, which means that your bumpers will naturally absorb the impact of a minor collision rather than the vehicle having to face the damage head-on*.
How do I know when my car bumpers need repair?
It is a good idea to repair your plastic car bumper covers when they are showing visible signs of wear and tear, because it may begin to affect the reinforcement bar beneath it. This may manifest as:
- A significant crack across the plastic, which can create problems with its structural integrity;
- Deep scratches (cosmetic, but can cause problems down the road);
- Broken/damaged tabs or clips, which compromises the security of the bumpers and creates a risk of them falling off.
How to repair plastic car bumpers
If the damage to your bumper cover poses any potential issues for the bumper’s structural integrity, a technician will suggest that you replace rather than repair your bumper cover and your bumper. Deep scratches can be repaired, but the labour costs alone might not be worth it: the affected bumper cover would need to be sanded down, filled in, and repainted*.
When the damage is relatively minor, however, the plastic should be able to be fixed with minimal fuss. Examples of minor damage include small dents or cuts, or when your vehicle is an old or foreign/luxury model. (In these cases, it’s typically a much more expensive process to shop around for the required part.) With insignificant damage, a technician will simply pull out the dent or cut, then repair/repaint the bumper.
How much does plastic car bumper repair cost?
On average, a replacement plastic bumper cover for a standard vehicle should cost around $230 to $380. A luxury car—for example, a Mercedes C300—has a much higher price point for a bumper cover, at around $730.
When you factor in standard labour costs—at approximately $70 to $140, with the process taking around 6 to 8 hours—the entire procedure can cost anywhere between $800 and $1,900.
To fix minor damage to a bumper cover, it will cost $315 to $1,000 depending on the make and model of your vehicle*.
If you have experienced a minor collision, or your plastic bumpers are showing any visible signs of distress, it’s in the best interest of your vehicle to act now. Use DingGo’s quick quotes service today, and we can help you find the best bumper repairs in your area.