There’s a very good chance that you have damaged the bumper on your car at some point in your driving career. Your bumpers are the most exposed parts of your car. They’re the most likely to be damaged. And…they’re designed to be repaired quickly and easily.
There’s also a very good chance that something much worse than having your bumpers damaged has happened to you: you almost certainly have overpaid by as much as double to have those bumpers repaired.
Body shops have two solutions to bumper repair: repaint the whole bumper (if the paint is damaged but it isn’t misshapen) or replace it (if the bumper has been cut, dented, or misshapen). There’s one option that they almost never consider: repair and repaint just the area that has been damaged.
When I owned a body shop I was shocked at how many healthy bumpers with minor damage (bumper rash on the corners, a dent with no paint damage, scratches across the face) were removed and discarded by body shops. The body shops were more than happy to toss bumpers that were 90% brand new because they could mark up the cost of the new bumper to the customer. And they were just as happy to paint the entire bumper for small scratches and scrapes covering just 10 – 20% of its surface area because the paint, primer, labor were all marked up as well. In sum, the tactic of body shops is to make jobs as large as possible because bigger jobs yield bigger profits, and it’s not the customer that’s paying…it’s the insurance company (don’t fall for that–you pay and then some over time when they increase your rates slowly). The average bumper repaint is about $450. A replacement is usually $800.
There is a sub-industry that car dealers use but the public is mostly ignorant of: the spot repair business. Spot repair techs specialize in bumper repairs. They can reshape, refill, recolor, and re-clear almost any bumper that doesn’t have damage done to the tabs that attach it to the car (that’s 80% of bumper damage, by the way). Contrary to what body shops will tell you, bumpers can be fixed, and just the area that has been damaged can be painted. This does require some skill. The painter must know how to properly scuff beyond the damaged area, blend in the paint, and apply the clearcoat so that the repair is undetectable.
What’s the average charge for a corner scuff, the most common of all bumper repairs? About $250. And here’s a HUGE bonus: most spot repair techs are mobile. That means they come to your home or office. A bumper corner can be sanded, primed, painted, and cured within 90 – 120 minutes. Ask your local car dealers for their “bumper repair guy.” There’s many in your area doing work you just didn’t know existed for prices and convenience that you would be silly to ignore.