A bumper is a structure attached to or might be integrated with the front and rear ends of a motor vehicle, to absorb impact taken place in a minor collision, ideally minimizing the repair costs. Stiff metal bumpers appeared on automobiles in 1904 that had a mainly ornamental function. Numerous developments, improvements in materials and technologies, as well as a greater focus on functionality for protecting vehicle components and improving safety have changed bumpers over the years and they keep on improving. Bumpers ideally minimize the height mismatches between vehicles and protect pedestrians from any harm or injury. Regulatory measures have been enacted to reduce the vehicle’s repair costs, and more recently impacted on pedestrians.
The aim of having a bumper on your car is very specific. Many people think that its purpose is to prevent or lessen injury severity in a vehicle crash. In reality, bumpers are not considered safety features intended to protect occupants. The purpose of bumpers is of reducing or preventing physical damage to the front and rear of vehicles in low-speed crashes. The bumpers are made to protect the hood, trunk, grill, fuel, exhaust and cooling system. A bumper is a shield that is generally made of steel, aluminum, rubber or plastic. It absorbs shocks taking place from car accidents.
The standard requires protection in the region 16 to 20 inches above the road surface. It also says the front and rear bumpers need to prevent damage at a barrier impact speed of 2.5 mph across the full width and 1.5 mph on the corners. The manufacturer can do these things in whatever way they want to. For example, they don’t have to have a bumper go totally across if they have bumper guards as well as corner guards placed strategically. You might think that all vehicles need to follow the Federal Regulations for bumpers. But, this is not the case. The Federal standard mentioned above only applies to passenger vehicles: cars, SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks. No other vehicle type needs these regulations. This is because a bumper could compromise the loading ramp operations as well as off-road situations.
Why do you Need to Repair Your Car’s Bumper ?
1. Increase/Maintain Vehicle’s Value
Your vehicle keeps depreciating. The problem is that when you even have a small fender bender and there is visible damage to your car, it depreciates dramatically at the moment of the accident. Vehicles which can’t be repaired are viewed as less valuable by potential buyers, less safe to the insurers, and they can cause damage to internal components if not repaired and exposed to the elements.
2. Prevent Any Further Vehicle Damage
Torn or scratched bumper covers are quite bad, but more significant damage can lead to extensive problems down the road. In particular, exposed portions of the frame are quite susceptible to the elements, which can result in rusting and damage the vital vehicle structures. If your bumper is somehow partially detached, the detachment can also become worse with time, causing undue strain on the supporting structures of vehicle. In short, leaving your bumper unfixed can lead to bigger problems and more damage.
3. Safety Hazards
Bumpers are designed to protect you and your vehicle from collision, in the event if you’re in an accident. However, a partially detached or otherwise damaged bumper may not be capable of protecting you and the car’s passengers. Also, your bumper may become further detached while you’re driving down the road, which can lead to all sorts of safety hazards. You do not want to be traveling down the highway and have your bumper scraping against the roadway. It’s better to opt for accident repair instead.
4. Increase the Resale Value & Decrease the Time on Market
We have covered the value of repairs before it comes to putting a vehicle on the market. When your vehicle has been damaged, people immediately avoid the purchasing or they greatly reduce the offer. The reason is simple: Any damage to a car is the equivalent of a bill for future repair. Studies have shown that by the time people show up for their car when it is up for sale, they have already shown that they want to buy it. What they are looking for is a reason NOT to purchase it. Don’t give them a reason, and instead of it, show them a cosmetically and mechanically perfect vehicle (especially when the repair is cheap).
5. Perception Does Matter
Like it or not, when people look at your vehicle make an immediate judgment about you, and judgments based on their own biases and their experiences. Studies have shown that when a car, workstation, or person, isn’t repaired, it attaches a negative connotation to your work ethic and reliability. We both know that Einstein had hair like the Bride of Frankenstein and looked like a disheveled mess but he still ended up doing just fine. In your industry, it might be quite a big deal, or it might not, but either way, keeping your personal items maintained shows give attention to detail and have the ability to keep things under control, even when life throws rock or two your way.
How to Repair a Car’s Bumper
Learn how you can repair the cracks and dents on your car’s bumper. Use plastic or a fiberglass bumper repair kit to fix the damage yourself.
Whether someone might have mistakenly backed into your car in a grocery store parking lot or that concrete pole was just a little too close than anticipated, your car’s bumper is likely to have a bruising or two over the course of regular usage.
The amount of impact absorbed by the bumper will determine whether the bumper is repairable or not repairable. Some of the bumpers will cave-in while others will crack. Luckily, those two types of car’s bumper bruises are repairable in almost all cases, unless the damage is quite extreme. If the bumper is subject to a number of cracks or if it is missing a lot of its material, it may be better to replace the bumper only.
Often, you might have to consult with a local auto body shop to determine the degree of damage, and most body shops will provide a repair estimate for free. But before allowing the body shop to actually repair the vehicle for you, there are a few easy steps to fix a damaged bumper yourself using a few items that you may already have around the house.
A) Repairing a caved-in bumper
- A heat gun or hair dryer (usually a hair dryer is safer for this procedure but it may not always do the job)
- Car’s Jack
- Jack’s stands
- Long pry bar or crowbar
- Safety glasses
- Work gloves
Step 1- Raise the vehicle and support it in a secured manner with jack stands.
For securing the jack stands, make sure the jack stands are kept on a solid surface and use a jack to lower the pinch weld or inner frame of the vehicle to rest on the jack stand.
Step 2- Remove the car’s splash guard.
If possibly applicable, remove the splash guard underneath the vehicle or fender well guard so that access is possible to the rear affected area of the bumper. The splash guard should be held on by plastic clips or metal bolts.
Step 3- Warm up the damaged area.
Make use of a heat gun or hair dryer to evenly warm up the damaged area. Use the heat gun till the bumper becomes pliable. It should only take five minutes to warm the bumper to a temperature where it becomes flexible.
Warning: If you use a heat gun, be sure to keep the heat gun at a distance of 3 to 4 feet from the bumper as it reaches high temperatures that can melt paint. Using a hair dryer will usually make the bumper warm enough to become flexible but not hot enough to melt the paint.
Step 4- Push out the car’s bumper.
• While heating or even after you finish heating the bumper, make use of the pry bar to push the bumper from the inside out. You should notice the caved-in portion beginning to push out as you apply pressure with the crowbar.
• If the bumper is still not quite flexible, warm the affected area until it becomes pliable.
• It might be helpful to have a friend heat the bumper while you use the pry bar.
• Push the bumper out in an even manner. Firstly, push out the deepest areas. If one portion of the bumper is progressing to its normal shape and the other is not, try adjusting the pry bar to apply more pressure to the portion that is more recessed.
• Repeat this process until the bumper is back to its normal shape.
B) Repairing a cracked bumper
- ¼ inch sized burrowing tool
- Air compressor suitable for tool’s usage(you will only need an air compressor if you are using air-powered tools)
- Angle grinder
- Body filler such as Bondo
- Drill for fitting burrowing tool
- Dust mask
- Jack stands
- Masking paper or a newspaper
- Paint prep cleaner or 3M wax and grease remover
- Plastic or fiberglass bumper repair kit (depending on the type of material used in your car’s bumper)
- Putty knife or Bondo spreader
- Sandpaper (180,80, 60 of grits)
- Tape with moderate adhesion properties
Tip: When fiberglass bumpers get cracked, they will leave fiberglass hair being visible along the edges of the cracked area. Take a look inside the cracked area of your bumper. If you are able to see long white hairs, it will indicate that your bumper is made from fiberglass.
Warning: Always make sure to wear a dust mask when working with fiberglass or sanding material to prevent breathing in harmful and sometimes toxic particles.
Step 1- Lift and secure the vehicle.
• Jack up the vehicle and secure it with jack’s stands.
• Remove the bumper for easy access.
Step 2- Clear the area.
Clean away all the dirt, grease or grime from the front and rear section of the area which is affected. The cleaned surface should extend at least up to about 100 mm from the crack.
Step 3- Remove excessive plastic.
• Use the angle grinder or cutting wheel for removing any excess fiberglass hairs or jagged plastic. Use the angle grinder or the cutting wheel to straighten out the rigid edges as much as possible.
• Use the burrowing tool to get to hard reachable reach areas.
Step 4- Put sand on the damaged area with 60 grit sandpaper.
Sand up to 30 millimeters around the surface to be repaired for plastics and 100 millimeters for fiberglass bumpers.
Step 5- Remove excessive dust with a rag.
If an air compressor is available, use it to blow off the excess dust from the surface.
Step 6- Prepare the area.
• Clean the area with the help of paint prep or 3M wax and grease remover.
• Remove the contents from bumper’s repair kit.
Note: If your bumper is plastic, please proceed to step number 14.
Cut 4-6 pieces of fiberglass sheets to about 30-50 millimeters larger than the affected area.
Step 8- Mix catalyst and resin it together.
Mix the catalyst and resin altogether according to the instructions given with the bumper repair product. Once it’s mixed correctly, you should see the color change.
Step 9- Apply the resin.
Use a paintbrush to apply the resin to the repair area.
Tip: Ensure that the entire repair area becomes wet with resin.
Step 10- Coat the area in a thorough manner.
Apply layer upon layer of fiberglass sheets while supplying sufficient resin in between the given layers.
Tip: Apply 4-5 layers of the fiberglass sheets. Push out any air bubbles using the paintbrush and add additional layers of sheets for additional strength and let it dry for 10 minutes.
Step 11- Coat the front given area.
Apply resin to the front side of the area which is repaired. Let it dry for a duration of 30 minutes.
Step 12- Sand the front part of the repair area.
Sand the front part of the repaired area with 80 grit sandpaper. Sand away the lumpy, uneven resin formations to match the normal smooth curvature shape of the bumper.
Step 13- Cleaning the area.
Clean the repaired area with paint prep or 3M wax and with a grease remover.
Note: If your bumper is made using fiberglass, you can proceed to apply of the body filler. Please proceed to step number 17.
Step 14- Mix the repair kit’s contents.
To repair a car’s plastic bumper, mix the contents in compliance with the instructions given with the repair kit.
Step 15- Tape the cracked surfaces altogether.
On the front side of the repair area, use the tape for pulling the opposing edges of cracked surfaces altogether. This will help to add more stability during the repair.
Step 16- On the rear side of the repair area, use a putty knife or Bondo spreader to apply the bumper repairs product.
• While applying the repaired product, angle the putty knife to make the product push through the crack and get squeezed outwards through the front.
• Ensure that you cover an area extending about 50 millimeters of distance from the crack. Let it dry according to the time suggested by the repair kit manufacturer.
Step 17- Prepare and mix the body filler in accordance with the packaging instructions.
• Apply multiple layers of body filler with the putty knife or with the Bondo spreader. Build the surface with the help of 3-4 wipes. Style the layers so as to form the shape and contour of the original bumper.
• Let it dry according to the repair kit manufacturer’s given instructions.
Step 18- Removing the tape.
Start peeling off the tape and remove it from the car’s bumper.
Step 19- Sanding the surface.
Sand the surface with 80 grit sandpaper, feeling the surface as you sand it, to see how the repairs come along. As you’re sanding it, the surface should gradually transit from rough to almost smooth.
Step 20- Use 180 grit of sandpaper to prepare the repair area for priming.
Sand until the repair area becomes quite even and smooth.
Step 21- Cleaning of the area.
Clean the repaired area with paint prep or 3M wax and with grease remover.
Step 22- Prepare to apply the primer.
Using paper and masking tape, cover all the surfaces surrounding the repaired area in preparation for primer.
Step 23- Apply 3 to 5 layers of primer.
• Allow sufficient time for the primer to dry before you apply the next layer.
• Now, that the repair work is complete, now all your bumper needs is a paint job!
• If you follow the above instructions properly, no one will ever be able to tell that any type of dents and scratches appeared on your car’s bumper.