Well, we all have been there – hurriedly moving the car in reverse and cringing when it strikes the barricade. The aftermath is like a quick run to an auto repair shop to get the dents fixed and re-sprayed the entire damaged part. That said, plastic bumper cars need a different kind of repair. So if you have bruised your plastic bumper, you need to figure out how to repair a plastic car bumper.
Fortunately, we dug into the topic and found some useful information and solutions that we think might help you. So roll up your sleeves because you are going to do some dirty work today – No pun intended.
Things you will need
- Cordless drill
How to Repair a Plastic Car Bumper – Step-by-Step Method
Since repairing a plastic car bumper can be challenging, below is a step-by-step guide for your reference to make your work easier. Make sure you have all the materials and equipment we mentioned to carry out the process.
Step 1 – Prep the Fascia
First, you need to remove the outer plastic piece from your bumper. It might be difficult to locate the screws connecting the plastic cover, try to find them under the trail lights, below the trunk latch, and behind the wheel well. Also, make sure to perform the entire repair procedure in a warm place so that your adhesive can work properly to repair. For adhesive, you must ask the auto repair shop from which you get it, as only they can guide you properly on which adhesive is right for your car’s plastic. Use all the other products from the same brand to ensure maximum compatibility.
Now locate a stamp inside the bumper and label it as ‘PP, PPO, TPE, PUR, or TPUR.’ Next, gently scuff the damaged area and clean it using a plastic surface cleaner. If the car’s bumper is heavily damaged or torn completely, scrub the outer and inner surfaces carefully. Following the washing, let the surface dry for a few minutes, then wipe the treated area with prep solvent. Make sure you move your hand in only one direction.
Step 2 – Make a ‘V’ Groove
Once the solvent is set, finish the area by your hand using 80-grit sandpaper. Now you will require to drill a ‘V’ groove on the surface of the damaged area both, the back and front of the fascia. You must be wondering, ‘was it necessary?’ yes, it was because the grooves will help you align the edges conveniently. Also, they provide more space for the repaired material to stick to.
Step 3 – Thoroughly Mix Adhesives and Repair Tears
Now, move on to the backside of the fascia to repair cuts and tears. If the damaged area is large, you might need to bring the two edges together and hold them with masking tape on the fascia’s front. Get self-stick fiberglass repair tape to provide structure to the torn area.
Next, you need to mix repair adhesives and equal amounts of hardener on a piece of paper/cardboard and apply it over the masking tape.
Step 4 – Scrape the Plastic Filler
Once the material hardens, move to the front part of the fascia and take off any tape. Level the area and sand any uneven spots on the fascia using 80-grit sandpaper. Fill in the torn area or deep cuts using the repair material and scrape to level with a squeegee.
Step 5 – Sand and Contour
Next, when the filling material is hardened, smoothen everything using the same sandpaper first with 80-grit, then 120-grit, and lastly, apply a thin layer of the repair material to cover pits and smoothen uneven surfaces. Finally, finish the sand using damp 400-grit sandpaper.
Final Step – Paint
Once the repair is done, apply two damp layers of flexible part sealer. Let it dry for 30 minutes and then begin priming and painting the fascia. First, prime the fender with two layers of a two-part primer-surfacer. Note: make sure that the primer properly dries between coats. Let it harden, and finish the treated areas using 400-grit sandpaper to scrape any imperfections.
Now prepare the bumper for basecoat by gently wiping the area to remove any dust. It’s time to spray paint the area according to the manufacturer’s guide. You may need to re-do this process at least two to three times to cover the damaged surface properly.
Let the paint dry for 30 minutes, then mix the hardener with a clear coat and apply two coats all over the area (each with a gap of 30 minutes). Let it dry overnight, and install the fascia back to the bumper.
Repair Kits for Plastic Bumpers
Collecting materials for fixing a cracked bumper crack can be extremely time-consuming and hectic, especially when you can’t find all the things of the same brand. If you think you can get all your required materials easily, well and good. However, those like us who think it’s a hassle can go for another option.
Several bumper repair kits come on the market designed especially for drivers who repair bumper damage at home. These kits contain all the required materials in a single box that are compatible with each other.
We recommend getting a dedicated bumper repair kit with a flexible and moveable filler, as it helps prevent future cracks.
Note that these kits don’t include paint and clearcoats. You will need to purchase them separately. While most bumper repair kits work for almost all kinds of plastics, just to be sure, check the back of its packaging to learn which types of plastic it comprises, and then talk to your car parts shopkeeper to figure out if it’s fit for your car.
The car bumper crack looks unsightly, especially if you are a car enthusiast and keep your car tip-to-top all the time. The good part is that it is curable at home. If you have the drive to fix it, you can surely do it yourself. All you need to have is a bumper repair kit and this guide and you are sorted!
Those who fear causing further harm to their vehicle in the process should get it done professionally. It may cost you more. Actually, A LOT more, but it will keep your mind at peace.
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