Bumpers are on most vehicles and serve a practical purpose while making your vehicle look complete. They protect your car when you are hit or if you hit something. They usually incur most of the damage by absorbing the impact and protecting the rest of the car. Sometimes they can be repaired but, in many cases, the bumper has to be replaced. While this is more expensive, it is often necessary to maintain proper safety.
There is no set cost when it comes to replacing your damaged bumper and many variables that play into it, such as:
- Model of your vehicle
- Year of your vehicle
- Front or rear bumper
- Various labor costs
- Place of purchase for parts
- Refurbished or new
Your car bumper can be made from various materials. Aluminum, steel, plastic or rubber are all used depending on engineering design and car models. They are protective pieces on both ends of your vehicle that are used as shock absorbers when there is a collision at low speed. Not only do they absorb the shock but they also reduce any damage that might occur to the rest of the vehicle. No matter what they are made of, they are all designed to absorb impact to lessen damage and personal injury.
Because bumpers deal with safety, you need to know when it is time to repair or replace them. Scratches and dents are not going to hurt how they perform in a low-speed crash. These are just part of driving and can happen without affecting the safety of the car itself. Corrosion, though, can mean you need to replace rather than repair as it not only looks unappealing but can weaken the bumper if extensive. Replacing rather than repairing your bumper ensures your safety, makes the vehicle look better, and gives it more resale value. While it is pricier than a repair, it’s worth it.
Best Time to Replace Your Bumper
The best time to replace your bumper is when it looks worn out from bumps and rust or it was in a collision. Make sure the bumpers are strong. If there is any way they have been compromised, it is time to replace them. If you see significant wear and tear such as large rust holes, cracks, or pieces missing, swap it out. It refreshes the vehicle’s look along with making it safer to drive.
Bumper Cost to Replace
Part of bumper replacement cost comes from the labor needed to switch them out. Newer cars and their designs have made this process easier than the older models. Bumpers are lighter now and attach simply. Most have a plastic skin that matches the color of the rest of the vehicle and are mounted on Styrofoam so they are more able to absorb shock. This piece is then attached to the bumper structure. The number of parts and work needed depends on whether you are replacing just the skin or if the whole structure needs repair.
Here are some steps that affect the cost of bumper replacement:
1. Assessment of damage – Determining whether it’s the skin or whole structure is important.
2. Assessing how much work needs to be done for replacement. The intensity of work depending on the amount of damage and age of the vehicle.
3. Checking for damage beyond the bumper such as lights, wheel wells, and grill.
4. Ease of access. Checking fasteners access along with ease of removal.
5. Removal of parts.
6. Painting new skin if needed. This should be done before the new install.
7. Assessing whether foam or bumper structure is damaged.
8. Installation of new parts as needed.
All of these steps may not be needed or you may need additional ones if there is something problematic that occurs. If you are having this done at a body shop, each step may add something to your overall cost. If you are doing it yourself, you save costs but need to be careful to use jack stands with the utmost care. Make sure you know what you are doing as you may be increasing your safety risk.
You can also save on costs by making sure you only pay for parts that are required. Overbuying or not knowing what is needed means you spend more money. If you know what is needed for replacement, you can order parts online and either do the install yourself or give the parts to a mechanic or auto body shop. This should take the overall cost down.
You will never get an exact cost for bumper replacement because of all the variables around parts and labor. Each car has a range of fees not only for the bumper and its affiliated parts but also for the installation. Some vehicles are easier than others so they will have fewer labor costs.
Here is an outline for calculating the average replacement cost for your vehicle.
- Labor for removing all required parts runs about 2 to 3 hours at $100/hr.
- Labor for painting – 2 to 4 hours @$100/hr.
- Material for painting if needed – $50
- Parts if more than painting – Bumper $300-$700
The overall cost of repair ranges anywhere from $850 to $1,450 but varies depending on who is doing the work and how old your car is. Vintage cars and those that are high-end mean more cost for parts due to scarcity and mechanics that work on those specific vehicles. Don’t go the cheap route. You do not have to pay a ton to have this work done but doing it yourself when you don’t know what you are doing often involves a higher repair cost. Buy quality parts that last and have them installed by someone who knows what they’re doing, whether that is you or a mechanic.
If you feel like tackling the project yourself, we wrote a guide to fix a plastic car bumper