No matter how careful we are putting the car in reverse, we sometimes fail to check a blind spot and we cringe hearing the crunch of the bumper meeting a barricade. In the past, this fiasco meant a trip to the auto-parts store to pick up some cheap body filler and a can of spray paint; however, today’s cars with plastic bumpers require an entirely different arsenal of products.
Fortunately for your bruised bumper, plastic bumper repairs are widely available at any reputable auto-body repair shop, like Waterdown Collision. Fixing damaged plastic bumpers involves grinding, sanding, sculpting, and painting, but it’s worth the effort for repairs that would cost less than your deductible.
The Repair Process:
The plastic piece from your bumper is removed in a warm, dry environment so that the repair adhesives can cure properly. What type of adhesive is used depends on the type of plastic in your bumper. There is a stamp on the inside of your bumper labeling it as PP, PPO, TPE, PUR, or TPUR.
The prep begins by slightly scuffing the damaged area and cleaning it with plastic surface cleaner. If the bumper is cut or torn through completely, the inner and outer surface will be scrubbed. After rinsing and letting the surface dry, it will be wiped with prep solvent, moving in only one direction.
After the solvent has dried, the area will be sanded by hand with 80-grit paper. It may also require a “V” groove form in the damaged area on the front and back sides of the fascia. The grooves align the two edges more easily and provide added surface area for the repair material to adhere.
Next, equal amounts of hardener and repair adhesive are thoroughly mixed on a piece of cardboard and applied over the tape with a body-filler squeegee. When the first layer of tape is in place, a second layer is applied so the threads run at a 90-degree angle to the first layer.
Once the material has hardened, any tape on the front of the fascia that was applied is removed. Next, any material that has squeezed through will be removed and an 80-grit sandpaper to sand any spots that are above the finished level of the fascia.
Once everything is hardened, everything will be sanded so it is level, first with an 80-grit and then 120-grit paper. A light skim coat of repair material may be used to fill pits and surface imperfections and to restore the original contour. This process is then finished off with a wet 400-grit paper.
Finishing the Bumper Repair
When the repair is completed, two wet coats of flexible part sealer will be applied. After drying for 30 minutes, the fascia is ready for priming and painting. The fender will be primed with two coats of any two-part primer-surfacer, making sure that the primer is dry between coats. Once the primer has hardened, the repaired areas will be dried and sanded with 400-grit paper to level it and remove any imperfections.
Before spraying the bumper with basecoat, wet sand will be applied and then gently wiped with a tack rag to remove dust. It will then be sprayed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This process may need to be repeated two or three times to cover completely. Once the base coat is dried in about 30 minutes, the clear coat is mixed with a hardener and two medium clear coats are applied, allowing each to dry in between. After drying overnight, the fascia is ready to be reinstalled.
No one wants to intentionally damage their bumpers, but when the occasions occur it’s comforting to know that a simple solution will get your vehicle looking like new again for a reasonable cost. If you find yourself in a position where you have a damaged bumper, contact Waterdown Collision for a quote on getting your vehicle fixed up.