The whole purpose of bumpers on cars is to reduce or prevent damage to the front and rear of a car in low speed crashes. They’re literally made to be hit!
Despite this, nobody wants to drive around with scuffs or dents in their bumper, it’s ugly and shows signs of carelessness.
Whether you’ve accidentally scraped another car or parked slightly too far forward, it’s never a nice feeling to damage your car.
Been there, done that.
The first thing that I wanted to do was get my bumper fixed. So I went around all of my local body shops and wow, I was shocked.
In this article I’ll cover how much it costs to fix a car bumper, whether it should be replaced or repaired as well as extra costs that may occur.
Bumper Repair or Bumper Replacement?
The biggest cost factor when getting a car bumper fixed is whether it’s repaired or replaced.
Depending on your car, a new bumper cover can cost upwards of $200. If you’re the proud owner of a Bugatti Veyron, a rear bumper could set you back $6000+.
As a customer, you don’t get to decide whether a body shop will repair or replace your bumper. You’re not the professional.
This doesn’t mean you need to pay over the odds for a bumper repair though.
If you’re on a budget, you may want to repair the bumper yourself or contact smart repair companies that will complete the job at a smaller expense.
When to replace a bumper
Most body shops will recommend to replace bumpers. This is because it’s easier than repairing them, takes less time and increases profit margins at the same time.
Bumper replacements are only necessary when they’re damaged in key structural areas or are split beyond repair.
Replacing a bumper would also make sense if the labor cost is higher than the cost of a brand new bumper.
If you don’t want the cost of a new bumper, shop around, especially at independent shops, as they may be more likely to repair the bumper.
When to repair a bumper
Repairing a dented bumper is relatively straight forward if the paint is not cracked.
Performing PDR on a plastic bumper is easy. Applying heat to the pressure points will often release the energy and make it return to near enough factory.
When the paint or the bumper itself is cracked, this calls for a traditional repair. This could include plastic welds, cataloy, block sanding or bumper repair glues.
Again, unless they’re straight forward repairs, most shops will lean towards replacing the bumper.
If you’re looking to repair the bumper yourself, it’s best that you research and learn the process before attempting anything. There’s a good chance you’ll make it worse.
Different Types Of Bumper Repair, Different Costs
As I’ve briefly touched on above, there are many different types of bumper repairs. Each type of repair will come at a different cost.
Below is a list of repairs, the estimated cost and the businesses that are most likely to provide them as a service.
Paintless Dent Repair
To put it bluntly, Paintless Dent Repair is the act of removing dents without having to repaint the area.
The most common way to repair a bumper using Paintless Dent Repair is with a heat gun.
Applying heat to the dent and surrounding areas will allow you to push the plastic back to its normal shape. Be careful not to heat it up too much though, otherwise, you’ll burn the paint and it’ll need to be repainted.
Paintless dent repair is performed by PDR Technicians, Smart Repair companies and it’s even used in some auto body shops too.
The cost of PDR varies a lot. However a PDR Tech will likely quote you between $100-$250 for a bumper repair.
Most traditional repairs begin with PDR techniques. Panel beaters will heat up the area and push the bumper into shape before applying filler and shaping the area.
Traditional repairs should be performed when the plastic is scratched or gouged and needs to be made smooth.
This type of repair requires paint refinishing. As a result, only body shops and body repair technicians will perform these repairs.
A traditional body shop repair will cost you around $250-$500. Prices will vary a lot between independent shops and huge accident repair centers.
Smart Repairs (Scrapes & scuffs)
Smart repairs are very like traditional repairs, except more often than not, the technician will come to you and the bumper will stay on the car.
The Smart Repair technicians will buff the area, fill it, sand it smooth and then repaint the area.
Some bumper repairs will not need body filler, just many grades of sandpaper to reshape and smooth the area.
This is often the cheapest and most convenient solution.
You can receive estimates from smart repair companies online. Most bumper smart repairs will cost $150-$300.
Cracks, Holes & Punctures
Repairing cracks, holes and punctures in a bumper is the most time-consuming repair. Any serious damage will likely result in the bumper being replaced, unless it’s an expensive car.
Cracks, Holes And Punctures are fixed using plastic welds, adhesives and/or traditional repair methods. Technicians will then patch up the damaged area, fill it, smooth it out and then repaint it.
This process takes a minimum of 3 hours, though most body shops will need your car for at least 1 day.
After stripping, repairing, repainting and refitting the bumper, the cost of repair could be well over $500.
Additional costs when repairing car bumpers
While the car bumper is there to absorb impact and lessen the damage to the front and back of the car, it’s very likely there’s unseen damage. When you take the bumper off, everything will become apparent.
Depending on the impact, it’s possible that you’ll need a new cross member, the back panel may need repairing and/or some brackets may be broken.
In newer and more expensive cars there are complex wiring harnesses & parking sensors that may need to be replaced. On top of this, you may need to replace reflectors, fog lamps, and other trim pieces.
If any unnoticed damage is found, the body shop will phone you and make sure to get the go-ahead before replacing parts or performing extra repairs. If it’s an insurance claim, they’ll phone your insurers.