Automobile bumpers are among the most crucial components of your car, yet they remain the most overlooked. They maintain your vehicle’s structural integrity and reduce frame damage to the front and rear in low-speed accidents. They can also provide some protection in major collisions by absorbing impact and preventing severe damage to your car.
That said, failure to repair or replace damaged bumpers makes your car unsafe and uncomfortable. You might also void your collision coverage if your insurance company discovers you were driving with damaged bumpers. The right thing to do is to repair or replace your damaged bumpers as soon as possible.
This guide answers all questions you might have regarding bumper repair and replacement costs. Follow along to learn what to expect.
All About Bumpers
Bumpers are protective bars installed across the front and rear of an automobile. Their primary function is to protect your car from substantial damage in a low-speed collision, effectively minimizing the cost of repairs. Bumpers safeguard the trunk, hood, exhaust components, and cooling system. They also protect the driver and passengers from feeling the impact of the crash.
They also improve your car’s aerodynamics, which in turn reduces drag, minimize wind noise, and enhance steering for a streamlined driving experience.
But that’s not all. Modern bumpers have parking sensors, fog lights, airbag sensors, collision warning sensors, license plate lights, and weather sensors installed on them.
Are All Bumpers Plastic?
All bumpers are not plastic. The bumper material used depends on the automaker, vehicle year, make, and model.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) bumpers comprise a plastic material cover (polypropylene) with a steel, aluminum, or fiberglass reinforcement bar to cushion your vehicle against impact.
Antique cars have metal bumpers as decorative attachments, while most heavy-duty commercial vehicles use steel chrome-plated bumpers for extra protection on rugged terrain.
Signs It’s Time to Remove the Bumper
Modern bumpers can withstand impact forces from minor collisions without having significant damage. At most, you may notice minor cracks or light scratches that don’t require much attention.
But after several minor accidents, your bumpers might deteriorate. The once-minor dents might turn into deeper scratches and larger dents. You may have to replace the original bumpers with aftermarket bumpers since they can no longer absorb the impact of a collision because of the compromised structural integrity.
Knowing when to replace your bumpers can help enhance your vehicle’s safety and save you thousands of dollars in repair costs.
Here are the top signs you need to replace your bumpers:
- Scuffed paint or severe paint chips
- Multiple deeper scratches
- Misaligned fog lights and damaged warning systems
- Missing parts
- Severe rust and corrosion
- Significant wiring problems
- Broken fasteners and hooks
- Falling bumper
- Severely broken bumper
- Dents on the front and rear-end bumpers
- Increased drag
- Difficult steering and handling
Bumper Damages that Require a Replacement
Some minor bumper damages are easily repairable. Simple buffing can help fix minor scratches depending on the type of material. Some bumper dents do not impact your vehicle safety in case of auto accidents. You can address them during your next collision repair service at an auto body shop.
Bumper damages that impact the structural integrity of your vehicle require urgent attention. These damages might not respond to repair efforts, leaving your car vulnerable to frame damage effects after a collision. Sometimes, the bumper repair costs might exceed the cost of replacement. To avoid the extra costs, the only affordable option is to replace the damaged bumper.
Here are bumper damages that require a replacement:
- Irreparable metal hooks and fasteners
- Damaged bumper housing monitoring and warning systems
- Damaged bumper with turn signals, parking brake light assembly, fog lights
- Significant cracks and deep holes in the bumper
- Hanging bumper with damaged clamps
- Bumper damage caused by multiple auto accidents
- Persistent vibrations, even after repairing a damaged bumper
- Any damage that requires extensive repairs
How Much Does it Cost to Repair or Replace a Bumper?
According to Cost Helper, repairing or replacing a passenger vehicle bumper ranges from $100 to $1000. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety suggests that bumper replacement costs might vary from $850 to $6,000 per vehicle.
As you can see, there’s no precise cost. The price ranges on several factors, including:
- Vehicle type
- Type of bumper
- Bumper material
- Extent of damage
- Underlying damage
- Repair process
- Attached components
- Federal regulations
- Hourly labor rates
It will cost more to replace the bumper of a luxury vehicle, pickup truck, or SUV since they don’t come cheap. These bumpers comprise pricey materials such as carbon fiber and chrome-plated steel. A carbon fiber bumper costs $650-$1000, while a steel chrome-plated bumper is $120-$1000. Aftermarket bumpers are the cheapest, costing $30-$80.
The extent of the damage will also determine whether the bumper requires a simple repair or a replacement. The vehicle might have structural damage following the collision, leading to additional costs.
Installing and painting replacement bumpers add $200-$600 to the total cost. Moreover, you may have to pay more if your vehicle requires a paint job and you want an exact color match.
Why Is Bumper Repair and Replacement Expensive?
As already highlighted, many factors contribute to bumper repair and replacement costs. However, that’s not all. Today’s automobile bumpers house additional components. These include fog lights, headlamps, turn signals, monitoring sensors, and safety systems. Any damage to your bumper might mean replacing these components.
Some components might be repairable, but others need a complete replacement. Installing these lights, safety sensors, and warning systems requires special tools and a high level of expertise. Auto technicians specialized in this area charge higher labor costs, meaning you have to pay more to restore your vehicle to its original state.
Does Insurance Cover Bumper Replacement?
Depending on your auto insurance policy, your provider might cover your bumper repair or replacement costs. Comprehensive coverage usually covers all auto accidents, regardless of who is at fault. This option can save you hundreds of dollars in repair costs. However, you may have to pay higher insurance rates to benefit from this policy.
If you are involved in a rear-end collision or a minor fender bender, the party at fault might pay for your bumper replacement costs if they have liability insurance coverage. Individuals with property damage liability can also pay for damages caused by them to your vehicle bumper.
DIY Methods for Minor Rear Bumper Damage
Minor rear bumper damage might not require you to visit an auto shop. Repairing light scratches and minor dents can be a DIY project. You don’t have to look far. Many auto parts shops and warehouses provide repair instructions for bumper repair when you buy tools from them. You can also purchase the instructions booklet or check online resourses to learn how to restore your vehicle’s bumper.
Here are a few DIY methods for minor rear bumper damage:
- Simple buffing with polishing products to remove light scratches
- Using a heat gun or hair dryer to remove minor dents
- Applying car body filler on minor bumper cracks
- Utilizing a plastic welding kit to fill cracks and holes with plastic filler compound
1.What are the most common types of car bumper damage?
You don’t have to be an auto technician to notice car bumper damage. They are so conspicuous that you can’t miss them. They include deep bumper dents, scratches, scuffs, scrapes, punctures, and cracks along the bumper, deep paint scratches, and a crumpled bumper.
2. Can a damaged bumper be repaired, or do I need to replace the entire bumper?
Whether to repair or replace a damaged bumper depends on the extent of the damage. Major damage might require an overhaul, while minimal damage with minor cracks calls for repair services.
3. How long does a bumper repair take?
The time it takes for a bumper repair job depends on several factors. The type of damage, repair process, type of vehicle, repair methods, skill levels, and availability of replacement bumpers and specialized tools might all contribute to the total repair time. It might take one day if the vehicle has no underlying damage or, at most, three days when dealing with structural damage.
4. Is it illegal to drive with a damaged bumper?
It depends on the damage type and your state’s by-laws. If the bumper has minor damage, you can continue driving until you schedule a repair service. Major bumper damage compromises your vehicle’s safety. When involved in a fender bender with another motorist, you may have to answer legal questions or void your collision insurance.
5. How often should I replace my rear bumper?
Rear bumper replacement should be on an as-needed basis. For instance, it might be necessary when a rear-end collision damages the brake light assembly or causes a deep crack and large dents.
Depending on the type of bumper, car bumper replacement costs might be expensive. However, it is not an excuse not to repair or replace your damaged bumpers. After all, driving with worn-out bumpers is a safety hazard and might lead to extensive damage in future collisions. You may have to pay more to repair the entire vehicle or be at loggerheads with your insurance provider when filing an insurance claim. The best and cheapest option is to schedule a service with your repair center for bumper repairs.