When I first started paintless dent repair I thought PDR on a plastic bumper was near impossible. I can’t explain my reasoning but I was absolutely dumbfounded when I learned that it wasn’t.
While I was wrong about it being impossible, it’s definitely a different process than performing PDR on a door panel or hood. You cannot glue pull it, and you definitely do not need to use a kettle or boiling water. Actually, all you need is a heat gun, two functional hands, and an oven mitt.
Inspect the bumper and the surrounding areas
The first task is to assess the damage (like you would with any other repair). Ask yourself, Is the paint cracked? Does the bumper sit perfectly? Are any of the tabs broken?
If the paint is cracked a PDR repair will obviously remove the dent but may cause further damage to the paint. If you want a perfect finish you’ll need to respray it or take it to a body shop.
Unfortunately, if the bumper doesn’t sit how it normally would there may be structural damage. Unless you are able to find an obvious fix that is not structural damage it may be best leaving the repair to the professionals.
If there are broken tabs it’s not the end of the world, depending on how important they are you could be able to refit the bumper without any sag, if not you’ll want to get a Tab Repair kit. Doing this would most likely result in the need to repaint some of the bumper.
Performing the PDR Bumper Repair
Access the dent
Since you cannot glue pull plastic dents, you will need to gain access behind every bumper repair. This does not mean you have to take it off though.
Depending on where the dent is located you may only need to take off one side so that it is hanging enough for you to get in behind. Just remember later on that it’s not a secured bumper and you will have to support it while pushing out the dent. If you don’t, it could be a costly error.
Don’t know how to remove the bumper off of your car? I suggest looking it up on google or youtube. All you’ll need to type is “[Car Brand] [Front/Back] Bumper removal”.
Heat up the pressure points using a heat gun
Most people that do this type of repair on youtube aren’t being as efficient as they could be when it comes to heating up the area to repair it.
Instead of keeping the heat gun targeted at the dent on the side with paint you should locate all of the pressure points. Normally there will be one at the top of the dent, through a body line and the bottom of a dent.
If you heat up the areas which are circled in red from the front and the back of the bumper you will have less risk of burning the paint as you’re not holding the paint gun on one area for a prolonged time.
Doing this will allow you to spread the heat evenly and remove the bulk of the damage fairly quickly with minimal risk.
You don’t need an expensive heat gun to do this job. We’re just looking to heat up the bumper a little bit, a cheap heat gun will do the job.
Push out the dent from behind
It’s hard to say when the panel is hot enough, you definitely don’t want to touch it for longer than a couple of seconds after heating it as it will be very hot. You just have to go with the flow, if it’s not hot enough when you go to push it out, it will not move easily.
Remember to use an oven mitt on your hand when pushing the dent. It will allow you to work on the dent without risk of hurting yourself.
When pushing out the dent you want to work as if it’s normal PDR. Work from the outside in and you should be able to remove the dent within minutes.
Working on a dent like this with just your heat gun and hands, you can make it go from 50% to 95% factory. It will not be perfect, but it will be a lot harder for the average person to spot.
If you want to make it as close to 100% as possible you’ll likely need to get some PDR rods to work out body line dents and a tap down kit to eliminate some high spots you may have created. Unless you’re a PDR professional or know someone that is, this probably will not be worth the investment.
Just be proud of what you have done. You’ve saved yourself in the region of $200-$400 by repairing the bumper on your own.
If you have before and after pictures of your repair I’d love to see them!