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The Easy Way To Fix Bumper Scratch Repairs Yoursel...

Auto Insurance Tips, Vehicle Maintenance

By Jack Lightner | 11/20/19 9:57 AM | 0 minutes to read

Bumper scratches suck.

Whether it’s at the hands of a rogue shopping cart, a teething puppy, or your neighbor Greg mixing up the gas with the break, they can suck cash out of your wallet too.

For more severe bumper scratches, you can pay up to $600 dollars to get them repaired, according to howmuchisit.org.

The good news is, if the bumper isn’t severely scratched, you have several DIY options available that cost less than $100 bucks and will take less than an hour of your time.

And considering how common bumper scratches are, knowing how to perform this repair yourself will save you a lot of time.

Before we can get to that, we need to assess the scratch to figure out how to repair it, or if it’s even feasible for you for a DIY project on the weekend.

Step 1: Assess Your Scratch

Light

Light scratches are almost entirely cosmetic, like this example above. The scratch has no depth to it, and there’s no dent associated with it. These are fairly easy to remove, and there’s no need for a more professional solution.

To tell if a scratch is light, run your fingernail over it. If it catches, it’s a heavy scratch and will need some more effort to repair.

Heavy

Heavy scratching is usually the result of you hitting something, or having your car hit by another car. Recessed scratching is accompanied by denting. The paint may be completely removed with a heavy scratch.

It’s possible to rehab damage like this on your own, however the damage may be too severe to completely fix the issue. It’s advised that if the damage is too severe, that you take your bumper to a professional.

Step 2: Get The Required Materials

Light

  • Soap
  • Bucket
  • Car Sponge
  • Drill
  • Buffer Pad
  • Buffer Liquid
  • Optional: Clear Coat

Heavy:

  • Soap
  • Bucket
  • Car Sponge
  • Safety Glasses
  • Protective Gloves
  • Dust Mask
  • 180 Grit Sanding Paper/400 Grit Sanding Paper/Sanding Block
  • Masking Tape
  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Polyester Finishing Putty/Hardener
  • Spreader (you can also use cardboard or one of those gift cards you have laying around)
  • Surfacer Primer
  • Touch up paint (matched to your bumper color)
  • Clear coat
  • Blending Solvent

How To Repair Light Scratching

Step 1: Wash Your Bumper

Using your soap, water, and sponge, clean the entire area that you intend to fix. Make sure the bumper is clean, with it being free of all salts, waxes, oils, and grime.

It’s worth it to go over the affected area several times. You really want to remove any grit and road grime ahead of step 2.

After washing, rinse well and then manually wipe it down and then allow the bumper time to dry completely.

Step 2: Buff The Scratch

Take your buffer pad and attach it to the post on the buffer bad. Work the buffing compound through the buffer pad evenly, and then buff out the scratch. Work back and forth across the scratch with light pressure.

If there’s any remaining white around the scratch, use some clear coat. Allow the bumper to sit for 30 minutes, and the scratch shouldn’t be visible.

If it is, apply more buffing compound and work around the scratch again with the buffer pad.

How To Repair Heavy Scratching

Step 1: Wash Your Bumper

Using your soap, water, and sponge, clean the entire area that you intend to fix. Make sure the bumper is clean, with it being free of all salts, waxes, oils, and grime.

It’s worth it to go over the affected area several times. You really want to remove any grit and road grime ahead of step 2.

After washing, rinse well and then manually wipe it down and then allow the bumper time to dry completely.

Don’t move on to the next step until your bumper is completely dry!

Step 2: Mask Around The Affected Area

Using your masking tape, cover around the scratched area. Take special care to mask your lights. Make sure everything is well protected before sanding.

Trust us, you’ll want to use a liberal amount of masking tape. Don’t be afraid to mask.

Step 3: Sanding The Affected Area

Using your 180 grit sanding paper, sand the affected area until everything is completely level. Work the scratched area with a back and forth motion, using firm, but even pressure.

Once level, wipe the sanded area down well until the surface is completely smooth.

Step 4: Apply The Putty

Use a clean, fiber free board (plastic is great) to mix the polyester finishing putty and hardener. The fiber free board will help you keep everything the mixture even.

Using the spreader, apply an even coat of the finishing putty. The more even the coat, the better it will stick to the bumper, and reduce bubbling.

Once the putty is spread evenly over the scratch, let it dry for about 30 minutes.

After drying, use the 180 grit sanding paper to once again level the surface. Once the surface is level, wipe the entire area well. Check to make sure the entire surface is level before proceeding.

Step 5: Apply The Surfacer Primer

At this point, if you haven’t put on your gloves and mask, you should suit up before using the surfacing primer.

Once you’re ready, keep the surfacer primer about 6 inches from the bumper and then spray on three coats in a smooth, sweeping motion.

Allow the coat to dry for 15 minutes before applying the subsequent coat.  After the 3rd coat, allow the surfacer primer to sit for 8 hours before you begin sanding again.

Once the primer has been allowed to sit, work the area to be painted with the 400 grit sanding paper, while making sure the edges are well sanded so everything is blended and level.

Once you’re finished, again wipe the area with a clean cloth, taking care to ensure minimal grit.

Before moving on to painting, make sure you mask the entire area once again.

Finally, wipe your bumper down one more time with a clean, damp cloth.

Step 6: Paint Your Bumper

Keeping the paint about 5 inches from the bumper, cover the affected area with smooth, sweeping motions. Apply several coats of paint to the affected area, while allowing 15 minutes between coats for the paint to dry.

After painting the final coat, allow 15 more minutes for the paint to dry.

Step 7: Apply The Clear Coat

After allowing the paint to fully drive, apply two coats of clear coat, allowing each coat to dry for 15 minutes. Use a similar sweeping motion at around 5 inches from the bumper.

Allow the last coat to dry for 15 minutes as well before applying the blending solvent.

Step 8: Apply The Blending Solvent

Finally, apply one coat of blending solvent to the edges, using a sweeping motion. Hitting the edges with the blending solvent will correct any mistakes you made during the painting and will correct any overspray.

Once you’re finished, your bumper should be completely covered, and it should be good as new.

Pro Bumper Scratch Repair Tip: You Can Remove The Bumper Cover

Your “bumper” is not what you think it is.

The piece you’re repairing is known as the bumper cover. The real bumper is hidden beneath the plastic.

This means you can remove the bumper cover to make this job easier, which can be worth doing if there are numerous scratches.

To take off your bumper cover you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver (Flat/Phillips)
  • Socket and Rachet or Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Hammer

To take your front bumper cover off:

  1. Open the hood of your car and look for the bolts/screws under the hood. The top of the bumper should have a row of screws that run along the front center of the car. Look where the hood closes. Remove these screws.
  2. Look underneath the edge of the bumper on each end. There should be plastic or metal screws, which hold the plastic cover to the metal bumper. After these are removed, you should be able to pull the bumper cover off completely.

To take your rear bumper cover off:

  1. Find the row of small screws along the edge of the bumper and remove them.
  2. Find the bolts at the corner of each bumper and remove them. The bolts are on the back side of the bumper near the top.
  3. Open the trunk to find the remaining screws. Most are located on the outside, but some models of car will require the trunk being opened to find them

Tips For Success:

  • Keep the car out of sunlight. Bright sunlight can affect how the paint dries.
  • If possible, keep your car away from dust and dirt. It’s recommended that you perform any repairs in a well-ventilated garage or driveway if possible.
  • Make sure that your painting space is well ventilated.
  • When you’re masking off your bumper, use newspaper in combination with masking tape. It will make the job a lot cleaner.
  • If you’re dealing with heavy scratches, you’ll want to wait until it’s warm. You’ll have an easier time working with the putty, and your hands won’t freeze and mis-spray.
  • Just throwing on some filler and “matching” spray paint won’t give you a good result. Take the time and do it right.

Should I Take My Car To The Shop Instead?

Sometimes the damage is more than just cosmetic.

If your bumper has been hit, or otherwise been involved in a collision, there may be damage to your body panels that you can’t see.

Driving with damage to your car’s superstructure can prove to be dangerous, which is why we recommend taking the car to a mechanic if it’s been involved in a collision.

That being said, if there are severe scratches on the bumper, or it’s otherwise shredded, you’ll be better off taking it to the repair shop.

And if that’s the case, you’ll have to make a claim on your auto insurance.

But what if your auto insurance isn’t up to par?

Because paying a $1,000 dollar deductible hurts. We get it.

We can help. In addition to our extended warranty policies, we want to help you save money on auto insurance.

In fact, we can help you save 25% or more on your annual auto insurance premium by comparison shopping with some of the nations biggest auto insurers.

This can translate to hundreds of dollars, which you’ll want to have on hand if you have to replace your bumper, for instance.

Get a free, no obligation quote today and start saving on auto repairs.

Get Your Free Auto Insurance Quote

Your car will thank you, and so will your bumper.

Happy driving!

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