Plastic repair GURUS since 1981
Minor Bumper Damage Repair and Paint
Minor cosmetic bumper damage can detract from the value of a car. If a car with a bumper scrape is being turned back in after a lease, for example, the inspector will tag you for a hefty charge. It’s less expensive to take care of it ahead of time by taking it to a body shop. In this video, we’ll show you the complete repair and refinish process for minor damage to a painted bumper using professional products.
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Note: This is a list of the Polyvance products that can be used to make this repair. This list does not include sanders, grinders, or other common tools you will need. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call technical support at 800-633-3047.
Minor cosmetic bumper damage can detract from the value of a car. If a car with a bumper scrape like this is being turned back in after a lease, for example, the inspector will tag you for a hefty charge. It’s less expensive to take care of it ahead of time by taking it to a body shop. In this video, we’ll show you the complete repair and refinish process for minor damage to a painted bumper using professional products. To do the job right, you will need access to an air compressor and a spray gun to apply the topcoat.
In this video, we’ll show you the complete process to repair and refinish this bumper. As you can see, the paint is scraped off in several places. The bumper is also bulged out slightly in the middle.
The first step of any plastic repair is to clean the surface thoroughly. Wash first with soap and water, then use Polyvance’s 1000 Super Prep or 1001 EcoPrep. Spray on a heavy, wet coat then wipe dry with a clean paper towel.
First, we’ll take care of the bulge. Heat the area with a heat gun to soften the plastic. Be careful not to overheat it. Keep the heat gun moving and heat about four inches around the dent. When the plastic is almost too hot to touch, push the bulged area down with a blunt tool. Here we are using Polyvance’s 6119 Dent Drivers. Keep pushing the dent until the profile has been restored to your satisfaction.
Before we start sanding the bumper, we’ll protect the textured areas surrounding it from getting accidentally scratched with sandpaper by applying some masking tape. If possible, it is better to remove these trim parts, but in this case, we decided just to mask them off.
We’ll first sand the area where it was bulged out with 80 grit sandpaper in a dual action sander. If you don’t have access to a power sander, you can block sand it by hand. Check the profile by hand to gauge the progress as you sand. Once you’re happy with the profile, use 150 or 180 grit sandpaper to remove the heavy sand scratches in preparation for filler application.
To ensure the adhesion of the filler to the plastic, use 1050 Plastic Magic adhesion promoter. Spray a medium wet coat and let the solvents evaporate for about fifteen minutes. The resin left behind will aid the adhesion of the filler.
We will fill the area with Polyvance’s 2000 Flex Filler. This is an epoxy-based filler, so dispense equal ribbons of the A and B sides. Mix the two components so the material turns a uniform gray color with no white or black streaks. Flex Filler’s gel time is about five minutes, so work quickly to mix and apply the filler.
After allowing about a half an hour for the Flex Filler to cure, sand it with 80 grit sandpaper in a DA sander. If you don’t have a power sander, you can sand by hand with a sanding block. Keep the pad flat on the surface and avoid sanding directly on the body lines. As you can see here, this bumper has a subtle body line right through the damaged area. Note that we will sand above it and below it, but not directly on it. Finish sanding by hand using 80 grit sandpaper in a sanding block. Check the profile often. Switch the sandpaper to 180 grit and finish block sanding by hand. Sand the body lines at the very end using the finer grit sandpaper.
Now switch over to 320 grit sandpaper and finish sanding over the filler, again being careful over the body line. We’ll also use the 320 grit paper to feather back the paint around the scraped areas. Sand the scraped areas and feather the paint back so there are no perceptible edges between the raw plastic and the painted areas.
In preparation for painting, mask off the areas you don’t want to paint. We will break the clearcoat under the grille so we don’t have to clearcoat all the way across the bumper.
Dull the entire area to be clearcoated with a red scuff pad, making sure to get all of the detail areas around the fog light and the edges. It’s very important to dull every surface that will receive the clearcoat. If there are any shiny spots remaining, the clearcoat may not stick.
Spray Polyvance 1050 Plastic Magic over the raw plastic areas that are exposed. This will help the primer to stick to the plastic. Let the solvents evaporate for about 15 minutes.
Spray 3041 All Seasons waterborne primer surfacer over the repaired areas. Don’t spray all the way to the edge where the clearcoat will break; just blend the primer out in the areas where it’s needed. The primer surfacer has sandable fillers in it to fill minor imperfections. Let the first coat of primer dry completely, then hand sand with 320 grit sandpaper. If you have any remaining imperfections, this would be the time to fill them using the 2000 Flex Filler again.
Apply another coat of 3041 primer and let it dry. Sand with 400 grit paper this time to smooth the primer and to feather the primer back onto the painted areas. It’s very important that there are no perceptible edges between the primed and painted areas at this stage. After sanding, scuff the entire area to be painted again with a fine scuff pad, then blow dust free.
The painting process is where you will need professional-level equipment and products. If you don’t have the products, this would be a good time to take the car to a body shop for the final step.
We’ll be painting this bumper with a basecoat-clearcoat system, the same type that was used at the factory. Get a matching basecoat mixed at your local auto body supply store. This is a solid color, so it is easy to blend. If you have a metallic or pearl paint, color matching is more difficult. Spray the color over the primed areas first, blending toward the edges where possible. In this case, since the damage was near the top edge, we had to paint all the way to the edge. Here we are blending the color as it goes under the grille, as this is where the new paint will merge with the original color. It’s important to blend the color because it’s most likely that your paint will not be an exact match with the original color. In this case, we applied three medium coats of color to achieve hide over the primed areas.
For the clearcoat, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the dry time and mixing ratio. Clearcoat is a crosslinking urethane that contains some nasty chemicals, so it is critical for your health to use the proper personal protective equipment and to spray the paint in a well ventilated area, preferably in a spray booth. Apply one medium coat first, then a full wet coat to flow the clear out. An inexperienced painter is likely to get drips and runs at this step, which is another reason to seek out professional help if possible.
After the clearcoat has dried completely, peel off the masking paper and reveal your repair. Done properly, you can restore the original appearance of the damaged bumper and maintain the value of your vehicle at the end of its lease.
Polyvance has specialized in plastic repair and refinishing products since 1981. Check out all of Polyvance’s plastic repair products at www.polyvance.com.