Hot Topics: Plastic Bumper Crack Repair

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Original Post: Can a cracked plastic bumper cover be repaired?

Louuuuu - Member

I'm just trying to keep my insurance rates in check...

A parking lot incident left my Escape with a three inch crack in the bumper cover. Everything else is fine. Adjuster says "replace". Is this the only option?

toolmon - Member

As far as your rates go, I'm not sure it matters how the repair is done or how much it costs. What matters more is that your insurance company is now aware that you were involved in an accident. There are ways to repair plastic bumpers, adhesives, plastic welding. Sometimes they last, sometimes not. Any repair will have to be painted though.

stickshift - Group Moderator

A lot of shops will decline the repair job as the failure rate is higher than they're willing to incur. They will tell you a replacement needs to happen instead.

Northern Mike - Member

Depending on how bad the damage is, most shops will plastic weld the crack, then prep and paint.

A proper shop will repaint the whole bumper (get rid of stone chips, etc), others will repaint only the repaired area and blend it in with the rest of the bumper.

They don't normally replace the whole bumper as it is expensive. This only happens if it is really bad and more of a puzzle to reassemble then a simple crack.

T-W-X - Member

A friend of mine ran a bumper cover repair shop for a time. I gathered that tears and cuts weren't as problematic to deal with as creases.

I was rear-ended and pushed into the car in front of me on the freeway several years back. The rear bumper was replaced but the front was repaired, as the rear, while not torn, was mushed and bent, while the front just had a small puncture hole. This was in a first-gen Dodge Stratus. The repaired bumper cover looked fine, structurally, when I got rid of the car. The paint didn't hold up so well with the clearcoat peeling in places, so that's something that you need to pay close attention to.

If I were in your shoes, I'd see about finding a good used bumper cover in the same color with good paint from a junkyard. I haven't been too thrilled with the paint results on many repainted covers, the paint seems to crack and flake off much more readily than OEM paint jobs.

Northern Mike - Member

"A friend of mine ran a bumper cover repair shop for a time. I gathered that tears and cuts weren't as problematic to deal with as creases."

I was rear-ended and pushed into the car in front of me on the freeway several years back. The rear bumper was replaced but the front was repaired, as the rear, while not torn, was mushed and bent, while the front just had a small puncture hole. This was in a first-gen Dodge Stratus. The repaired bumper cover looked fine, structurally, when I got rid of the car. The paint didn't hold up so well with the clear coat peeling in places, so that's something that you need to pay close attention to.

If I were in your shoes, I'd see about finding a good used bumper cover in the same color with good paint from a junkyard. I haven't been too thrilled with the paint results on many repainted covers, the paint seems to crack and flake off much more readily than OEM paint jobs.

I believe you are correct about what is easily repaired vs. replaced.

As for the paint... Aftermarket paint will never be as good as OEM. 99% of the problems you describe however sounds like poor prep work. There is a lot of prep work involved, which will make or break a good finish. It should also be noted that the spray booth used must meet certain conditions in order for the paint to adhere correctly. Humidity, contaminants in the air, etc can mess up a paint job. Something like diesel exhaust can really mess up a paint job, even if the source of the exhaust was removed many hours before painting.

My best suggestion I can offer anyone is DO NOT pick a shop based on how fast they can do the job. Paint (bondo or similar, primer, paint, clear coat) and labor between sprays takes time to do and cure. Between each application, a light buff should be done of the surface (1000-2000 grit sand paper or sand bar).

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

It's my understanding that the reason paint cracks on plastic bumpers is because the flex additive wasn't added.

the_tow_guy - Group Moderator

FWIW, an aftermarket cover runs about $150 for a front and $275 for a rear, unpainted.

Northern Mike - Member

"FWIW, an aftermarket cover runs about $150 for a front and $275 for a rear, unpainted."

That sure beats the front bumper cover for my Caliber SRT4. They wanted ~$1800 for an aftermarket one (OEM equivalent) unpainted.

Was on back order at that.

2granddaughters - Member

I think YouTube is your friend on this one. Just copy/paste "repairing a broken bumper cover" in the YouTube search box and play away.