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How to Remove Scratches from Your Car’s Bumper

used car bumpers

No matter how well you take care of your car, the bumper is bound to get a little scratched up. It faces traffic all the time and rocks pebbles and gravel hit it constantly. Although its job is basically to get scratched, your car is your pride and joy and you want it to look good. 

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You can always take your car to a repair shop to get the scratches removed, but they will charge you a lot of money. You may want to try getting the scratches out yourself before you bother with a costly repair. Here are a few simple steps to get rid of the scratches.


If the scratches are light enough, they can usually be corrected with car scratch remover products. Deep scratches and scuffs that go past the clear coat, on the other hand, are better removed via a longer process. If you follow these instructions you can restore the contour and the color of the bumper.

Plastic bumpers that have been painted are the most common bumpers that you will find on cars today. There are different procedures to follow depending on the severity of the crash.

Removing a Mild Scratch

Mild scratches can be caused by things such as tiny objects grazing the bumper. It is considered a mild scratch if it’s smooth enough to run your fingernails across without them catching in the grooves.

You will need a few things to remove a scratch. You should be able to obtain them at any hardware store. 

A duel action drill, buffing pad, a clean cloth, sandpaper, and both polishing and rubbing compound.



  1. Wet your sandpaper and sand the scratch delicately until it is not visible any longer. If you do not have sandpaper, you can also use toothpaste. 
  2. Take the cloth and wipe the area of the scratch and then buff it with another cloth to remove the residue.
  3. Put the polishing compound on with the polishing pad. Make sure to saturate the entire area that has been affected. 
  4. You will now polish the area. You should use the polisher head of the drill. You want to set the drill to 1,200 rpm. You want to continue polishing until the area looks cloudy. You will then finish polishing with the polishing compound and a microfiber cloth.

Remember that almost every scratch will have a different set of instructions for removal depending on its depth. If you have a scratch with a damaged base coat, you will want to begin by washing your car.

You will actually need fewer materials to accomplish removing such a scratch. You will need polishing and rubbing compound as well as a few microfiber cloths.

  1. You will begin by putting the rubbing compound on to the scratch.  You will want to buff the scratch. Rubbing compound is made to even out scratches. It works in a way that is similar to sandpaper. The compound is offered in a variety of different grits. You should use the one that fits the depth of your scratch. You should not use too much at a time. 

Buff out the scratch with the rubbing compound. The latter is specially formulated to be able to level scratches the same way sandpaper does. It comes in varying grits of 1000 to 5000, so choose one that will best suit the depth of the scratch you’re trying to get rid of.

  1. You will then want to clean off the residue with a microfiber cloth. The bumper should be very clean before you go on to the next step. You should really repeat the first two steps until you can no longer see the scratch.
  2. It is now time to apply your polish. Remember to polish very gently. You should buff until the bumper is shiny.

Once you’ve achieved your desired finish, apply the polish and buff the bumper until you’ve reached your desired shine.

Removing Deep Scratches

If you remove a deep scratch yourself, you are looking at a pretty long time commitment. Some of these scratches can reach the metal panel of your car. To buff would be an exercise in futility. 

In order to fix these scratches, you will have to fill them in before painting them. Once they are filled in you can buff them and paint them.

You will need quite a few materials for this repair.

You will need body filler putty, prep solvent, car clear coat and spray primer, color-matched car paint, sandpaper in a variety of different grits, surface cleaner, scuff pad, towel, and wax remover.

  1. Believe it or not, plastic comes in many different grades and varieties. You will want to determine what kind of plastic your bumper is made out of before you begin work. 


When you buy the materials from an auto body store, you should ask what kind of primer and body filler you want to use for the type of plastic of which your bumper is composed. You should find this information in your owner’s manual or by doing a Google search.

  1. You will begin by removing the bumper cover. This will give you access to all the surfaces of the car. There should be a collection of fasteners securing the bumper in place. The car’s factory repair manual should tell you how to remove the bumper cover. When you have removed the cover, you can begin working. The location you start working on should be at room temperature. This will make the job easier.


  1. You now want to prepare the bumper to start working on it. If you see tears or holes in the area. You should scrub it clean. Be very careful when you are doing this so as not to cause further damage. You will then want to wipe the area with a surface cleaner.


  1. You will now wash the bumper. Be sure to hose it down with water after you finish washing it and dry it off completely. 


  1.  Once the car is clean and dry, you are ready to apply the prep solvent. Prep solvent is oil-based and it is designed to remove wax. It should always be applied in one direction. If it is not, you may contaminate the surface area. Make sure that it dries completely. 


  1. Once it is dry, you should take a piece of 80 grit sandpaper and vigorously sand the surface. You will now want to combine equal parts of the hardener and repair adhesive together. 
  1. The next thing you want to do is to make V-shaped grooves. If your bumper is made from the kind of plastic that powders when sanded, you should cut the grooves using a 24-grit disc attachment on a sander. If your bumper is the type that smears when it is sanded, you should use a cordless drill along with a rotary file. You will want to run the tool along the front and the backside of the fascia. This will form a “V” groove on either side. This will cause the edges to align. It will provide more areas for the filler material to adhere to.
  2. You now want to apply the body filler putty, Make sure to apply an even coat over the damaged area. If it is not even the bumper will never look right, it will not be easy to sand and polish and it may incur damage more easily.
  3. Fix the tears starting at the back end of the fascia. The fascia is what you see when you look at the front of the car. The lower part is made of a flexible plastic that has been painted to match the rest of the car.

You will fix the tears with an adhesive fiberglass-repair tape. If the area that has been damaged is very large, you can use masking tape to hold the ends of the tear in place before you begin the repair.

  1. You now want to apply your adhesive. You should employ a body filler squeegee to spread adhesive on the tape. You should make two layers and then allow everything to dry. It should be very hard when it dries. 
  2. You will now take off the tape that is visible from the front fascia and sand the area with 800-grit sandpaper. You will do this to get rid of any overruns. You will then want to use materials from the repair kit to fill in any visible damage to the bumper.
  3. You will then want to coat and sand the bumper. You should skim coat the surface of the damaged area. There should be coating in the repair kit that you can use for this. Once it dries you can do another coat. You will now even out the surface of the damaged area by sanding it with a wet piece of 400 grit sandpaper.
  4. You should now paint the car bumper. You will do a wet coat of flexible part sealer. After it dries you will want to apply a coat of primer and them a coat of paint on top of the part sealer. You will want to do two coats of this. 

When everything dries, you should use the 400 gride paper to dry sand the surface. You can buffer the area with a wet tack cloth and then spray the bumper with paint that matches its original color.

You should mix a hardener in with a clear coat and apply it two the bumper in two layers.

There are certain things you will want to do after you have made repairs to your bumper. You should check it every 4 to six weeks to make sure that your handy work is actually efficient and that there is no chipped paint. 

You should clean and polish your vehicle often. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended kind of chemicals. You should not wash the car for six weeks after repairing the bumper and only use a soft chamois cloth when wiping the surface. 

If you do wash the car for an event or something, you should avoid using high-pressure washes at all costs. 

Taking Your Vehicle to a Professional for Bumper Repair.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work f, you can take your car to a mechanic for repairs. The cost of bumper repair varies greatly. In some cases, they can charge as much as $15,000 to fix scratches on a bumper.

You will have a couple of options for where to take your car. You can go to an auto body shop which is less expensive than a dealership. You will be able to talk to the mechanic directly and if you go to a chain, you can probably enroll in a loyalty program.

You can take the car to a dealership,  but they will charge you more than an auto body shop. The main advantage of going to a dealership is that they will have all the necessary parts on hand.  

Selling Your Car

If your car is very old or if the damage to your bumper is very severe, you may want to consider selling it. If your car is older and kind of a wreck, you may want to sell it to a junkyard.

Sell Your Vehicle to Cash Cars Buyers

Cash Cars Buyers can give you a great price for your used vehicle. All you have to do is fill out our online form. We will ask you for your contact information and some basic details about your car. We will ask for the year, make, model VIN number, and millage of the car. We will call you back with an offer. If you accept the offer we will come to your house, pay you in cash and tow the car away for free, Nothing could be easier. 

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