Repairing VS Replacing Your Cars Bumper
Deciding between repairing VS replacing your car's bumper may seem like a trivial decision. However, the bumper is more important than you may know.
No one likes to think about the possibility of getting into a car accident. Most of us go about our daily driving and try not to think about those ugly possibilities. However, collisions happen all the time. Even if you don’t make a mistake, someone else might. Because bumpers are usually the first parts of your vehicle to take the impact of a collision, bumper damage is very commonplace. So, let’s discuss the question of when to repair that bumper and when to replace it entirely.
When Can Bumpers Be Repaired?
First of all, we should tell you that it’s generally better to replace a damaged bumper if possible. This is one of those parts that exist to ensure your safety, so you don’t want to cut corners here. However, if your bumper has only suffered some scratches, paint damage, and/or small dents, there may be no need for a replacement.
In some cases, you may only sustain damage to the plastic housing that covers the bumper. When this is the case, you can just replace that outer covering rather than the entire bumper. In some other cases, your bumper might simply be knocked a little bit loose. If there is no damage to the bolts and brackets that hold the bumper in place, you can simply adjust everything to the correct position and re-tighten the loose bolts.
Once again, it is important to avoid cutting corners here. You don’t want to do anything that will endanger the safety of you or your passengers. That’s why you need a competent mechanic to examine the damage and determine if repair is an option. At Elmer’s Auto Body, we have plenty of experienced mechanics who can help you make that decision.
When Must Bumpers Be Replaced?
First of all, a cracked bumper should always be replaced. In fact, anything that compromises the structural integrity of the bumper calls for replacement. You might be tempted to use some kind of a filler substance (like epoxy or fiberglass) to repair those small cracks, but this is a bad idea. Those filler substances will never have the strength of a solid piece of steel, and that means less protection from impact.
As we said, scratches are usually not a big problem. However, if the scratches are deep, that could be a different matter. The rest of the bumper will have to be ground down in order to get rid of those scratches. After a certain point, the bumper will simply become too thin to do its job. Minor paint damage is also usually not a problem, but major paint damage could be another story. Major paint damage often indicates that there is a bigger problem underneath.
If you have ever seen a detached bumper, you know that they have small “hooks” on the inside that help to hold them in place. If these hooks are broken, damaged, or bent more than a little bit, the bumper will need to be replaced. Some unscrupulous mechanics will try to cut corners and weld the hooks back in place. However, that weld will never have the strength of a solid piece.
Sometimes, in the case of an extreme collision, a bumper might be completely bent into a “V” shape. Obviously, there is no good way to repair this kind of damage. Even if you bend the bumper straight again, the metal will have already been weakened beyond repair. If a second impact were to occur, such a bumper would provide little protection and would likely snap in half. The same reasoning applies to large dents.
Any holes or gaps in a bumper are cause for replacement as well. These are less likely to occur from impact and more likely to occur as a result of rust. Older vehicles, in particular, need to watch out for this kind of thing. By this point, you might be noticing a theme: Anything that compromises the structural integrity of the metal bumper itself is cause for replacement. Only a strong and solid piece is capable of giving you sufficient protection from impact.
Cost of Repair vs Replace
Usually, replacement is going to be more expensive than repair. As for the cost of replacement, that will typically cost anywhere from $500 to $1500. The costs will vary a lot because labor has to be taken into account. If the job is particularly difficult for one reason or another, the costs will naturally end up being higher. $5000 is a maximum figure, although most bumper replacement jobs do not cost nearly that much.
In cases where repair is possible, the costs will generally be much lower. This is mainly because there will be a lot less labor involved in fixing the problems. These jobs can be as cheap as $50, although $300-$400 is more common. It is rare for these kinds of repair costs to exceed $600.
Now you can see why many people choose to repair their bumpers rather than replace them. There is a lot of money to be saved by repairing a bumper rather than replacing it, but that doesn’t always make it the better option. Repair is only a better option if your bumper remains strong enough to do its job. Once again, remember that a bumper is usually the first part of your car to receive an impact, so it is your first line of defense.