Whether you’ve just been part of a fender bender or you have scraped up the front of your car, you need to think about getting it fixed right away. But, how much does it cost to repair or replace a bumper, and what are some aspects you might not have thought about?
In this guide, I help you understand the differences between bumper repair vs. bumper replacement. I also look at the factors that affect the price you will pay. At the end of this guide, I discuss the different ways that a bumper can be repaired, giving you a better idea of how much money and time will be needed based on the damage.
How Much Does A Bumper Repair Cost?
On average, it will cost between $100 and $800 to have your bumper repaired, depending on the type of damage. If the bumper has a minor dent, it may cost $100 or less to get it repaired. Larger dents, holes, or cracks will cost more to fix.
If there are cracks, larger dents, or holes that need to get fixed with fiberglass, you also have to repaint the bumper, which will increase the bumper repair cost. If the bumper is so damaged that you have to replace it, it can cost even more.
How Much Does A Bumper Replacement Cost?
If the damage is so extensive that you need to replace the bumper, you can expect a cost of anywhere from $500 to $2,000 or more to have it replaced and painted, depending on the type of vehicle you drive.
Front bumpers are usually slightly more expensive than rear bumpers, but it depends on what car you drive.
When you buy a new bumper, they often come unpainted, so you also have to repaint the entire bumper, which is quite expensive. You may also need to purchase additional parts, such as fog lights, which can increase costs.
Bumper Repair vs. Replacement: What are the Differences?
You don’t always need to have a bumper replaced. If there is damage to the bumper, you may be able to have it repaired instead. Minor blemishes and damage can be repaired through several different methods. I will discuss these methods in-depth later in the article. If you can have the bumper repaired, you are going to have a much lower cost than if it needs to be replaced.
Bumper replacement will be recommended any time there’s severe damage. If the bumper has large holes or deep cracks in it, there might be no way to repair it.
The biggest issue with repairing and replacing the bumper is to ensure that the paint color matches perfectly.
Factors Affecting Cost to Repair or Replace a Bumper
1. Extent of Damage
As I just discussed, you are looking at a huge price difference based on whether a repair will work or you require a replacement. It’s the hope that a repair will be enough. Scuffs, minor scratches and small imperfections can usually be dealt with by choosing a repair method.
On the other hand, bumper replacement is required if the damage is too severe to repair. You are going to pay a premium price to replace the bumper unless you get one from a junkyard and replace it yourself.
2. Vehicle Make/Model
Your vehicle type plays a huge role in how much you will spend. If you drive a popular car, it could be a lot easier for the shop to get a replacement bumper. Rare or sporty cars tend to have more expensive parts, as do luxury models. In addition, these luxury models can require a special technician, which further adds to the cost.
Not only do you have to think about how difficult it is to get the bumper, but you also have to think about the amount of work required to ensure the paint matches. If the bumper doesn’t come already painted, this is another aspect that the auto body shop has to take care of.
3. Bumper Material/Technology
The bumper material changes how the collision center will work on it. Most automotive bumpers are made from some sort of plastic material, such as polypropylene (PP) or polyurethane (PUR). Back in the day, cars were made with aluminum or steel bumpers, which isn’t so popular anymore.
Newer bumpers are filled with the latest technologies, making them even more expensive to replace. Today’s bumpers have lasers, sensors and cameras that must also be replaced or repaired when an accident occurs. Once the bumper is repaired or replaced, these technologies need to be recalibrated, which adds even more to the cost.
4. DIY vs. Professional
With enough expertise and the right equipment, you can repair or replace a bumper on your own. You will need a clean garage to work in, especially if you plan to paint. Working on your own car can keep the price much lower.
On the other hand, not everyone should work on their bumper. It’s difficult to get the paint to match just right, and you don’t want your vehicle to look less than normal, especially if you plan to sell it later. Evaluate how much you would save doing it yourself to determine if it’s worth having a vehicle that might not look as it would from the factory.
If you choose to have it worked on professionally, shop around for the best price. Just don’t settle for the lowest-priced provider, or you could be disappointed with the work you receive. Instead, research companies by the customer reviews and reputation.
5. Insurance Coverage
Depending on what type of insurance coverage you have, you may be able to get the repair or replacement paid for. If the bumper damage was caused by an accident, insurance companies might pay for the repair. However, if you caused the accident, you will need collision coverage to handle the expenses.
If the bumper damage was caused by vandalism, you will also need to have a special kind of coverage to pay for the repair. It’s best to contact your insurance company to figure out what is covered and what’s not.
Even if your insurance pays for the repair or replacement, you will still be responsible for any deductible you agreed to. In some cases, this expense could be more than the repair itself. In this case, you wouldn’t want to file a claim, which could increase your future payments, when you can pay for the repair on your own.
Types of Bumper Repair
1. Paintless Dent Repair
The newest and most common way of dealing with dented bumpers is with paintless dent removal. This repair method allows technicians to remove the dent without causing any further damage to the paint.
Heat and some specialized tools are needed to pull the dent out. With a little finesse, the bumper can be restored to its natural state. This is one of the cheapest methods for fixing the automotive bumper, but it can only be done on minor dents.
RELATED: Car Dent Removal & Repair Cost
2. Traditional Dent Repair
If a dent can’t be repaired with paintless dent removal tools, you have to go old school. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using the traditional methods.
The dent is pulled back out with specialized tools. However, the paint will be damaged in the process. Technicians will smooth and prime the area before repainting it. Not only does this method take more time, but it will also cost more.
3. Scuff/Scrape Repair
If the bumper has been scuffed or scraped, several tools will be needed, along with the help of some filler. Filler is used to restore the damaged area.
Once the area has been filled, the technician will sand it down until everything is level. After the fix has been deemed satisfactory, the paint will be applied to complete the look. Depending on how big of an area needs to be filled and painted, you could be looking at a high bill and several hours or even days without your car.
4. Crack Repair
If you have a small split, fracture or crack on the bumper, it may still be repairable. The key is making sure you have it taken care of right away.
Again, the plastic filler will be used to fill the cracked area. Then, the surface will be sanded until it has become smooth. After all that is completed, the paint is ready to be applied. You will probably be facing a similar cost and repair time to the scuff and scrape repair.
5. Hole Repair
If you see a small puncture or hole in your bumper, you might think it can’t be repaired. In many cases, you may be right, but you shouldn’t procrastinate. If caught early enough, there’s a better chance for repair, which would save you money.
These methods are going to follow the others we’ve already looked at. Technicians will fill the area and sand it smoothly to the surface. Once the hole is adequately repaired, paint can be applied. Otherwise, the hole might be too big to repair this way, and you would need to have the bumper replaced.
Is It Worth Fixing A Cracked Bumper?
Whether it’s worth fixing a cracked bumper depends on the model of car you drive. For some car models, a new bumper is quite cheap, and in that case, there is no reason to spend time repairing the bumper, as having a professional conduct a repair will ultimately cost you more than simply replacing it. But if a new bumper for that particular car model is expensive, it might be worth it.
Can A Plastic Bumper Be Repaired?
Yes. Plastic bumpers can be repaired and repainted to look like a new bumper. However, there is still the question of how much a new bumper costs, as it may actually be cheaper to buy a new bumper instead of repairing the old one.
Is It Safe To Drive With A Cracked Bumper?
Although it is safe for the car to drive with a cracked bumper, it is best to get it fixed as soon as possible. This is mainly due to some safety reasons – you need to be concerned about hitting a pedestrian, or loose parts coming off of the damaged bumper when driving at higher speeds and hitting other cars or people.
Is It Worth Fixing A Bumper Scratch?
Whether it’s worth fixing a bumper is entirely up to you. Although a scratch on the bumper will not affect the car’s performance or safety in most cases, it will affect its appearance. If you don’t want to drive around with a scratch on your bumper, it’s definitely worth fixing.
There are many factors that you need to consider when deciding whether it is more worthwhile to repair or replace the bumper. If you are unsure about this, you may want to get some help from a professional.
You can expect a bumper replacement to cost between $500 and $2,000, depending on the car model. You can expect a bumper repair cost of $100 to $800, so it can definitely be worth repairing the bumper in some cases.
The bottom line is that whether you repair or replace your car’s bumper, the cost will be significant in many cases, so it’s important to get several estimates and talk to your insurance company before making a final decision.