Few automotive components are as underappreciated as the humble bumper. Not only is it designed to complement the look of your car, but it also serves a very crucial role in keeping you safe. After all, accidents are just that… Accidents. Unavoidable, and terribly costly when it does happen. A bumper absorbs as much of the damage as possible, both to your bodily person and the car. Surprisingly, that sliver of bodywork can be fairly expensive to mend. So, how much does it cost to replace a bumper?
You’d probably be shocked if we told you that it might cost hundreds, or upwards of a thousand dollars. It’s no doubt very eye-opening to see just how much of a car is intertwined with the bumpers. This includes its core structure, and a lot of the tech and gizmos that your car relies on. No wonder then that even a slight bump can be heavy on the wallet. In our guide here, we’ll give you a more in-depth rundown of all the things you need to know about how much does it cost to replace a bumper.
- Bumper Construction
- Types Of Damage
- Repair vs. Replace
- Replacement Cost
- Insurance – Yes or No?
What Do You Need To Know About A Bumper’s Construction
There are a few things we need to get out of the way before we answer the question of how much does it cost to replace a bumper. Among the most pertinent would be doing an autopsy of what bumpers are made from, and how they’re built. This would give us a better understanding of what goes into fixing or replacing them afterward. We need to be aware that the bumpers’ main job is energy absorption and dissipation. This is in regards to kinetic energy, which is felt after a collision.
For this reason, a lot of bumpers that we’re now more familiar with are made from some form of plastic or composite. These materials are able to absorb impact very effectively, but without deforming. In today’s times, however, the general design of bumpers has gotten far more complex. Along its exterior, bumpers in modern day cars are made from a mixture of two different materials. These are polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), combined as PC/ABS.
The PC/ABS is the exterior shell of the bumper. Inside of it, the key rigid structure within the bumper is then mounted onto the frame of the car. This inner material, designed as a reinforced bar, needs to be tough. As such, it’s often made from steel, aluminum, a fiberglass composite, or just plastic. These bars and supports hold the bumper in place, while there are several more absorbers and other key components ensuring maximum structural integrity.
A Lot Of Smaller Attachments To Consider
The main reason why replacing or repairing bumpers can be costly and time-consuming are the extra bits and pieces of the car there, mounted on the bumper. As we can see a lot more often now in modern cars, the bumpers are no longer seen as a tack-on panel. They’re now integral to how a car looks and functions. Owing to this, the process of replacing or fixing the bumper is complicated by all the other parts that need to be moved out of the way first.
Even more so, these components might also suffer damage owing to a collision experienced by the bumpers. Lights are a common one. The fog lights and turn signals can be placed down low in some cars. Meanwhile, other vehicles might have bumpers large enough to encompass or reach the headlights. When this is the case, the electrics and wiring that connect them together need to be detached. With today’s cars, there’s a lot of sensors and cameras that’ll need checking, too.
It could be parking sensors, 360-degree cameras, or important driving aids. The latter might be forms of assistance like lane keeping assist, adaptive radar-based cruise control, or collision warning. Your car might have some low level of autonomy, or something as common as airbag sensors. And, let’s not forget the aesthetic parts of your car. These could be decorative accouterments such as a body kit, with its many dive planes, channels, vents, and splitters.
Bumpers vs. Bumper Covers
Just another little note before we move on, we should look a bit closer at a common mistake that we make too often. Is it called the bumper, or bumper cover? Or, are they one and the same? The simple truth is that they’re both very different parts altogether. Now, look back at our explanation of how the bumper as a whole is designed. You have the outer shell, where it’s made mostly of plastic, composite, or perhaps a mixture of fiberglass. Then, we have the structural parts inside of it.
Well, that outer shell is known as the ‘bumper cover’. It’s mostly aesthetic or for aerodynamics, as well absorbing some of the more minute blows. Deep within it is the actual ‘bumper’. This is the actual barrier that stands between your car and whatever it is you’re going to hit. With some trucks or heavy-duty vehicles, the bumpers themselves are left exposed. It’s important to learn the difference between the two, as it can help you determine what to do next – repair or replace.
What Sort Of Damage Can You Expect With A Bumper (Cover)
To better get some context over how much does it cost to replace a bumper, we should assess the type of damage you’re unfortunately experiencing. Not all damage is the same, mind you. Some are more serious than others. While today’s subject might be related to “replacement”, know that certain lighter damages against your bumpers can be fixed, instead. These will surely save a big penny over a complete replacement, if the latter isn’t necessary.
So, let’s have a look through some of the lighter or less serious types of damages on your car’s bumpers. Or more specifically, your car’s bumper covers. The types of fixable damage we’re going to discuss here could only effectively resolve exterior damages. While we’re here, we may as well discuss a bit more on how much these repairs will cost…
1. Paintless Dent Repair, PDR
A paintless dent repair is a special method used for removing dents without having affecting the paintwork. As a result, you can smoothen out dents, and not need to touch up or repaint it over afterward. It can save you a lot of money as far as paint goes. While PDR may work on a variety of different surfaces and materials, they’re only limited to minor dents. It usually takes around 1 to 2 hours for a PDR process to complete. This is by far the cheapest fix, costing between $150 to $250.
2. Traditional Dent Repair
This is a stark contrast to PDR, which uses heat and carefully nudging the dent to smoothen out. With a traditional dent repair, the dent will be pulled out with more force. This will almost certainly cause the paintwork to scuff, so it’ll require repainting later on. The goods news is that, unlike PDR, this more traditional method can work on moderate to larger dents. It’ll take around 3 to 4 hours for this process to complete. Cost is a bit higher than PDR, averaging around $250 to $350.
Not all collisions would cause dents. Some might just scrape the bodywork, and leave an unsightly mark where the paint used to be. With scrapes and scuffs, the process will revolve mostly around smoothening the bodywork. This might require some filler, before the technicians would later sand it down to maintain an even surface area. After that, the repainting process begins. It’s a bit faster than a traditional dent repair, taking around 2 to 3 hours. Costs are the same though – $250 to $350.
Cracking along the bumper is a lot more serious. This can include anywhere from minor fractures, or huge splits along the length or width of the bumper. Naturally then, it takes a lot more elbow grease to fix this one. Cracks can be filled in with plastic filler, and then sanded down to keep a smooth surface. When that’s ready, they can go ahead and paint it. It takes around 2 to 3 hours for this to complete. However, the repair bill goes up another notch, averaging at $325 to $425.
5. Holes Or Punctures
Just as serious of an issue as cracks, holes, or punctures could appear on your bumper in the event of a big shunt. The process is a bit lengthier, taking around 3 to 4 hours on average. A proper fix involves closing up the hole or puncture with strong adhesives. After that, any gaps will be filled in with filler material as with cracks. Technicians will smoothen out the surface and then repaint it. The general quote for this repair job is similar to that with cracks, somewhere around $325 to $425.
How Should You Know If You Need To Repair Or Replace Your Bumper?
Next up in our guide as to how much does it cost to replace a bumper, we try to answer an age old question. Should you repair your bumper, or replace it? Understandably, most people would align with the former. Repairs are naturally a lot cheaper, and could work well as stop-gap measures rather than coughing up for a full replacement. However, a proper replacement might prove safer. This is since it can be hard to tell what kind of unseen damage is done to the car.
For bumpers, it can be a bit complicated. If you’re noticing any of the damages that we mentioned above, then you’re likely okay to go ahead with a simple repair instead. Either dents or cracks, this damage is limited – generally speaking – to the bumper covers. It can be fixed and repaired. Or, it might be more cost effective for you to repair them instead of having to replace them altogether. For example, you might have a rare or classic car, where sourcing parts for it might be difficult.
In this case, despite a more severe internal damage, it might be most cost-effective to try a repair. Maybe it’s a luxury or specialty car, with lots of different sensors and electronics that are embedded into the bumpers. Replacing these as a set will assuredly be expensive. Again, a repair might prove significantly more cost effective. Nevertheless, you must know when to consult the experts. If they say that the damage is far too critical to simply patch up, a replacement is the best way to go.
What If You Don’t Want To Replace Your Bumpers?
Let’s say the mechanics uncover that there is significant damage that requires a full replacement, yet you decline. What happens then? What if you’d rather not have to replace your bumpers? Well, this isn’t a wise idea to consider. For starters, if the bumpers are badly compromised, it’s a major hazard to your safety. Remember that the chassis of the car forms a bond with the bumpers. Any accident may create flaws in the frame, and weaken it over time.
If you get into another accident, this now weakened chassis will provide less protection for you. But even if your safety isn’t paramount, the resale value of the car will take a big hit. If it’s been known that your car has a damaged frame, you’ll find it hard to sell or exchange your car for a reasonable price. In that case, you’ll just have to swallow the bitter pill and sell it as-is, or think about scrapping it for spare parts.
You might even be thinking about driving around without any bumpers at all on your car. That’s not to say that you can’t do this. The car will work just fine without any bumpers on it. However, you may not be legally allowed to drive around bumper-less in some states. But should you be trying to skirt the law anyways, driving around without a bumper is far more deadly than driving around with damaged ones. The car will have fewer barriers to absorb any impact in the event of an accident.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Bumper On Your Car?
Right, finally we get to the million dollar question… How much does it cost to replace a bumper? As we hinted at the beginning of this guide, replacing your car’s bumpers can be surprisingly expensive. Indeed, the estimates we’ve found online prove disheartening. Accounting for labor and parts, the total bill will set you back between $500 to $2,000. This is quite a large range to work with, and it all depends on what car you have. As we noted earlier, complexity means added cost.
It all depends on the make and model of your particular vehicle. It’s best that you give a call to your local body shop or dealer to ask for a more precise quote. Alternatively, there are plenty of online sites that help you to ask around thousands of workshops to find the most competitive repair quote for you. Some examples of these sites include YourMechanic, AAA, RepairPal, Kelley Blue Book (KBB), OpenBay, Wrench, and so on.
Just to make things a bit easier to follow, we’ve scoured across much of the internet to find the costs associated with replacing a bumper. Although we might not able to find the exact make and model of vehicle to match yours, this is a good round-up of all the most popular cars on the market. It should hopefully give you a better idea as to how much does it cost to replace a bumper, based on these average estimations…
- Ford F-Series – $800 – $1,400 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $300 – $700)
- Chevrolet Silverado – $900 – $1,600 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $400 – $900)
- Ford Fusion – $800 – $1,400 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $300 – $700)
- Ford Focus – $800 – $1,400 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $300 – $700)
- Honda CR-V – $900 – $1,600 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $400 – $900)
- Honda Civic – $900 – $1,600 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $400 – $900)
- Nissan Altima – $800 – $1,200 ((Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $300 – $500)
- Honda Accord – $900 – $1,600 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $400 – $900)
- Toyota Camry – $900 – $1,700 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $400 – $1,000)
- Toyota Corolla – $900 – $1,700 (Labour: $500 – $700 / Parts: $400 – $1,000)
Should You Try To Claim Insurance To Replace Your Bumper?
One great question people as the most is whether or not they should try to claim insurance for a replacement of their bumpers… Or if they should do it out of pocket on their own expenses? The first thing you need to remember is your insurance premium, as it is based on risk. If your insurance agent or company thinks you’re going to file claims more often, your premium will likely increase. This same principle applies to your bumper too, especially if you’re known to be at fault as the cause.
According to data that we’ve found, the first at-fault accident will have a chance of seeing your insurance premium rise by 10% to 40%. If you get involved in a second at-fault accident, it may continue rising between 40% to 150%. It’s worth bearing in mind that when your premium goes up, your deductible may decrease. The latter is the upfront payment you make out of pocket before the insurance company pays up. Therefore, whether or not you’d like to make a claim is up to you.
The Choice To File For A Claim Is Up To You
Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you pay with your own money for slight damages. Still, some people won’t mind having to pay higher premiums, so long as they can get lower deductibles. On that note, if the cost of the damage is higher than your deductible, we’d recommend that you go ahead and make a claim. Let’s say the total cost of the replacement, accounting for labor and parts total is at $1,500. If your deductible is $500, you will pay that $500 out of pocket.
The remaining $1,000 will be paid by the insurance company. This is a great way to leverage your insurance package at its most. However, the decision will rest entirely with you, and how your financial situation is at present. Another great insurance-related tip is accidents that are far beyond your control. For a mock scenario, let’s say someone drove into your parked car while you’re out shopping. Instead of filing for an accidental claim, you can make a comprehensive claim instead.
Comprehensive claims include a wide variety of different situations in which you often have little to no influence on how it happened. This can include cases like fire, theft, vandalism, natural disasters, water damage, falling objects, or damage caused by an animal. When you file for e comprehensive claim, your premium may still go up, but less so than the typical 10% to 40% we mentioned earlier. So, be sure to have a chat with your insurance agent to understand a bit more about your coverage.
By now, we should be well acquainted whenever the question of how much does it cost to replace a bumper should appear. It can be surprising how expensive bumpers are to replace, or even to repair with minor damage. The reason for this can be summarised in three words – safety, function, and design. The bumpers are your car’s first line of defense when you run out of skill and barrel towards a tree. It’s able to absorb a lot of impact from any collision, sparing you and the rest of the car.
They are an integral piece to ensure the structural integrity of any vehicle, both front and rear. Other than that, your car’s bumpers have a lot of function other than cushioning blows. As modern cars get techier by the day, those many sensors and cameras have to hide somewhere. With the design, let’s not forget the bumper and lower fascia are key facial distinctions for your vehicle’s appearance. Plus, there are real-world benefits, such as being able to better control aerodynamics or cooling.
With all of this in mind, it shouldn’t be all too shocking knowing how a “simple” bumper may cost you upwards of $1,000 just to replace. Expect this number to multiply more depending on what car you have. In all, this highly underappreciated part of your car has been around for a long time for good reason. Thankfully, there are some ways in which you can make this lofty price tag at least a bit more palatable. Repairs cost peanuts by comparison, while claiming your insurance is always an option.