We’ve all been there, maybe it’s someone else’s fault, or maybe you weren’t feeling 100% while driving. Whatever the case, now you’ve got a dent on your bumper and you’re wondering how much does a bumper repair cost? Well, a bumper repair will typically cost between $500 – $2,000. However, there will be other factors as well that might affect your total bill. If the damage is minor, then your repair bill might not even reach $500.
We will be discussing bumper repair costs, and we’ll answer some commonly asked questions along the way.
What are Bumpers Made Out of?
Bumpers comprise of several pieces from different materials that help to absorb impact force when you get into a crash. On the outer layer, there’s a bumper cover that is made from a mix of polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). This is basically a fancy way of saying lightweight, but durable plastic. Behind the cover is a layer of impact-absorbing Styrofoam, which is part of the ‘crumple zone‘.
The bumper is then mounted to the mounts, which are usually made of either plastic, steel, aluminum, or fiberglass. They also absorb the impact force from a collision which helps to protect you and everyone in the car.
Unlike older metal bumpers, if, for example, your bumper cover is damaged but the rest of the bumper is fine, you can simply replace the cover without replacing everything else. Of course, if you damage other components such as the brake light assembly, the parking sensors, or the rear-view camera, then you will have to replace them as well.
Types of Bumper Damage
The type of damage you experience on your bumper will affect many decisions you should take. This includes whether to repair or replace, whether you should claim your insurance or not. You may check out some bumpers guards at AutoExpro if you are looking for a replacement. And of course, it will affect the cost as well. Generally, there are three types of bumper damage depending on the severity:
1. Dented Bumper
Dents and scratches are the lightest kinds of damage. They often happen at low-speed impacts, such as when you “gently” tap a pole. Or when someone forgot to engage their brakes and rolls forward and bumps into you at a red light.
If the damage is minimal and there are no deep scratches or massive dents, you should be able to fix this yourself. But we will discuss this later on. As for the cost, your car’s make and model will also affect this so there’s no sure way of knowing until you ask for a quote at your nearest body repair shop. However, you can generally expect to pay between $300 – $700.
Should You File an Insurance Claim?
The answer to this depends entirely on you. One thing to note is that filing a claim will likely make your insurance rate go up, especially if you’re at fault. According to Penny Gusner, a senior consumer analyst with Carinsurance.com, there’s a chance your premium will rise between 10% – 40% for a first at-fault accident. If you have a second accident, then it could go up between 40% – 150%. Keep in mind that when your premium goes up, your deductible may be lower.
We would generally advise paying out of pocket for minor damage if you can afford it. However, some people won’t mind having a higher premium if it means their deductible is lower. In the end, this depends on what you feel is better for your financial condition.
2. Deep Paint Scratches
Deep paint scratches are more severe and damage your car’s paint job. Often with deeper dents on your car. This damage usually happens at a higher speed impact and there’s more contact happening between your car and whatever it comes to contact with. You may experience this when someone bumps into your car and drag their car along as they try to pull out.
In this case, you’re likely going to need more extensive repair work and a detailed paint job. The cost will vary greatly depending on how much area is affected, and also your car’s make and model. A rough estimate is usually between $500 – $1,500. But it can easily be higher than that if the damage is more severe and if you drive a luxury car. Not to mention, whether or not other panels aside from your bumper are affected.
Should You File an Insurance Claim?
This type of bumper repair can be quite costly, so it’s likely you will want to file a claim. We would advise you to make a claim, as long as the claim amount is significantly higher than your deductible. For example, if the cost is $1,500 and your deductible is $500, then you will have to pay for $500 but the insurance company will pay for the remaining $1,000. In this case, yes, by all means, go make a claim.
Also, if the damage is caused by someone else while you’re parked, then you can make a comprehensive claim rather than a collision claim. A comprehensive claim usually includes theft, vandalism, natural disasters, falling objects, and a few other things. Also, comprehensive claims raise less premium when compared to collision claims. That being said, check with your insurance company on what falls under comprehensive and collision claim, just to be sure.
3. Rear-end Damage
Rear-end damage is when someone crashes into you. Maybe you suddenly brake to avoid a crossing cat, but then the driver behind you was a little too close and couldn’t stop in time. If you’re lucky, they may crash at a relatively low speed and you will only have to deal with minor damage. If you’re unlucky, then the cat is fine, but now you’re dealing with a ruined bumper and pain on your neck and shoulder.
Should you experience this, first of all, we’re very sorry and we’re glad you’re okay. Secondly, you’re not at fault. Assuming the other driver is covered, their insurance will be liable to pay for your damages and your injuries if you suffer any. However, your insurance will have to cover this if their insurance doesn’t cover it.
Should You File an Insurance Claim?
In this particular scenario, the other driver’s insurance should pay for both the damage to your car and your injuries. However, if they’re uninsured then you will have to turn to your own insurance. In which case, yes, you should make a claim.
This type of repair can be costly. While the bumper repair cost is usually around $1,500, there may be damage to other components as well if the crash was severe. In which case, your repair bill will easily skyrocket.
Bumper Repair Cost
Okay, so far we’ve discussed what bumpers are and whether or not you should file an insurance claim depending on the type of damage you experience. How about the repair cost itself? Well, this is a little tricky to give a straightforward estimate. Different shops will have different labor rates. Your car’s make and model will also affect this, since they may use different materials in the bumper. Not to mention they may use different paint types as well which varies in cost.
We can give you an estimate depending on the type of repair that needs to be done, which are:
1. Paintless Dent Repair or PDR
This is the type of repair you will need to do when there are dents but no paint damage. Your mechanic will usually use a few tools and little heat, and voila! Good as new. It’s like the dents were never there. This will typically cost between $150 – $250, but it will depend on how many dents you have on your bumper.
2. Traditional Dent Repair
This repair involves your technician pulling out the dent, smoothing the area, and then repainting the damage. You will need to do this repair if you have deep paint scratches. In this case, your bumper repair cost will usually be around $250 – $350.
If your bumper has minor fractures or splits, it can sometimes be fixed by filling the cracks with plastic filler. Your technician will then sand the area until it’s smooth. Once the damaged area is smooth, they will then paint the area. The cost is typically between $300 – $500, but it might be higher depending on the cost of your car’s paint.
On average, expect to pay between $200 – $700 for a bumper repair cost. Again, your car’s make and model may greatly affect the cost we listed here.
Bumper Repair Cost: Should You Replace the Bumper Instead?
If the damage is quite severe, then you might want to consider replacing your bumper. This will obviously be more costly, as bumpers are quite expensive and the labor cost is relatively high.
For example, if you need to replace the front bumper cover on your 2010 Toyota Camry, then you will need to pay $340. Toyota doesn’t say whether this includes paint or not but you can expect to pay another $100 to paint the bumper. You should also expect to pay another $25 for the brackets, $150 for the styrofoam, and around $400 for labor. Keep in mind that labor costs can be as high as $900 depending on the complexity of your bumper replacement job.
Bumper covers for most cars will typically cost around $300 – $400. However, if you drive a luxury car such as the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400, then the bumper cover cost itself can be anywhere between $600 – $900 depending on the trim. Some models will cost as much as $1,500 for the bumper cover itself.
All in all, you should expect to pay around $700 – $900 for a replacement job in most cars (for just one bumper, two bumpers will likely double the cost). If you drive a luxury car, then expect to pay between $900 – $2,000 for a bumper replacement cost.
Reducing Bumper Repair Cost: Doing It Yourself
If you feel that the repair cost isn’t worth it and you don’t feel like making an insurance claim, then you can ease the strain on your wallet by performing the job yourself. We recommend doing this if you don’t want to make an insurance claim to avoid raising your premiums but you don’t want to pay too much for labor as well.
Fixing a Dented Bumper
Ideally, you should have the following tools:
- A heat gun or hair dryer (a hairdryer is safer but you may need a heat gun).
- Jack and jack stand.
- Pry bar or crowbar, or you can also use a plunger.
- Safety glasses.
To do this method, do the following steps:
- Lift the car with a car jack and secure it on jack stands. You may not be required to do this depending on where the damage is, but it can give you more room to work. However, if you’re going to use a plunger, then you won’t need to do this and the second step.
- Remove the splash guard if necessary. It may cover the area of the bumper. They will usually be held by either plastic clips or metal bolts.
- Warm up the damaged area using a hairdryer or a heat gun until it becomes pliable. It will usually take about 5 – 10 minutes to do this. Keep in mind that if you’re using a heat gun, keep it about 4 feet away from the bumper as it can reach temperatures that will melt your paint.
- Push the bumper out. You can do this by using a pry bar to push the bumper from the inside out. You can also use a plunger to pull it from the outside. Be sure to pull or push from the deepest dent. If the bumper still isn’t flexible, try heating it up again.
- Repeat the process until the bumper is back to its normal state.
You can watch this video below to understand better how to do this method:
Fixing a Cracked Bumper
If you have a cracked bumper, then the process of fixing it will require you to sand the bumper, filling and sealing the crack, and then repaint it. The process can be quite long, but we’ve found this great guide from Mad4Motors on Youtube that will help you understand how to do this method:
[highlightedReplacing a Bumper[/highlighted]
This is also a bit tricky. The guide for doing this will vary depending on your car’s make, model, and trim. Not to mention, this will depend on whether you will only need to replace the cover or other parts components in the bumper assembly as well. The process will generally involve removing the lights and sensors or cameras if there are any. Then removing floor panels and fender skirts since they are likely connected to the bumpers.
After you disconnect these components and the brackets, you can then remove the bumper. Once you fit in the new bumper, you will need to reconnect all of those other components integral to the bumper assembly. This is quite a difficult job to do unless you have experience. We don’t recommend doing this yourself, but if you’re interested, this video explains the process of replacing the front bumper cover on a Nissan Altima quite well:
Bumper Repair Cost: Questions & Answers
Should I repair or replace my bumper?
If the damage is minor then you will obviously want to repair instead of replacing it. If it’s just a dent, you can even repair it yourself. Often your mechanic will also give you a recommendation as well on whether it’s better to repair or replace your bumper.
We would generally advise repairing your bumper whenever possible, especially when the cost isn’t too high. But if you’ve been a big accident and the cost isn’t far off, then replacing your bumper isn’t such a bad idea.
What if I have frame damage?
In this case, you have two options: repair the damage and keep the car or sell it at a lower value. But if you do decide to repair the damage and keep it for a few more years, when the time comes to sell your car, you will still likely have to sell it at a lower price. Most cars that have been in a major accident that damages the frame or chassis will experience a significant drop in resale value.
Anyway, if this happens then you should file an insurance claim to ease the repair cost on your pocket. However, if your car is old and you don’t feel it’s worth the deductible amount, then you’re going to have to sell it as-is. You can either sell to a used car dealership that’s willing to take a car as-is or scrapping it altogether. Keep in mind that your car’s value may drop as much as 70% in unrepaired condition.
Lastly, note that driving with frame damage is incredibly dangerous. The chassis or frame is what supports the weight of your vehicle. The structural integrity of your car is compromised once the frame is damaged.
Can I drive without a bumper?
Technically speaking, yes, your car will work just fine without a bumper. But legally speaking, no. While not all, many states have a law that requires you to drive with a bumper (front and rear). You will need to check your state’s law whether you can do this or not, but why would you? Not only your car looks horrid without a bumper, but it’s also unsafe. Having no bumper means your car is less able to absorb an impact force. Leaving you more vulnerable to injuries should you – God forbid – get into an accident.
How do I pick a good body repair shop?
As always, we recommend shopping around and ask for estimates at different repair shops. On top of that, there are four questions you should ask a body repair shop before proceeding with repairs:
- Do they offer a warranty? This is important because you never know if the quality of a shop’s repair job might be poor. You might find the metal rusting or the paint peeling just weeks after the repair job, in which case you want a warranty so you can have it fixed for little-to-no-cost at all. Also, be sure to ask what the warranty covers.
- What tools do they use? You will need to do a bit of research on what specialized tools is necessary for your type of repair. But by ensuring the repair shop use the correct tools and methods, you can ensure that your car will get a good repair job. Not just a bodge job that will leave unsightly marks on your bumpers.
- How long will the repair take? A body and bumper repair job can take anywhere between a couple of days to weeks. If the damage is severe, then you may need to wait for weeks since there might be other repairs that they need to perform.
- Do they offer a rental or replacement car? Light repair jobs shouldn’t take more than three days to finish, but even three days is a long time to live without your car. If you don’t have a second car, it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have a replacement car you can use while your car is being fixed. If they don’t and the car will take some time to fix, knowing how long the repair job will take beforehand will allow you to make arrangements.
Bumper Repair Cost: In Conclusion
Modern cars often come equipped with a collision prevention system. But even with numerous safety measures in place, accidents can still happen. This happens to the best of us. Whether you’re feeling a little under the weather, or someone else isn’t being quite as mindful as you are, accidents can happen. If your bumper damage is minimal, then you only need to do light repairs and you can keep the bumper repair cost to a minimum. In which case, you won’t need to make an insurance claim as it won’t be worth it.
If the damage is more severe and you will need to do heavy repairs or even a replacement job, then you might want to consider making an insurance claim. As long as the cost that your insurance will need to pay is significantly higher than your deductible amount, then we recommend making a claim. This will affect your premium, but we do believe it is worth it since it will ease the strain on your pocket.
We hope that you will never find yourself in this situation in the future, no one wants to be involved in an accident. But if you do find yourself needing a bumper repair, now you know the cost as well as how to fix it. Hopefully, we’ve helped you in making an informed decision for your bumper repairs.