How do I fix my Camry's front bumper?

Anything goes in the world of fiberglass and plastic



Settled In
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:41 pm

Country:
USA
PostPosted: Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:54 pm
I recently hit a curb and damaged my front bumper. See area under the light in the photo below.

I'd love to know the cheapest way to repair the bumper.

Should I simply order a new front bumper and have it installed?

Can plastic bumpers be repaired?

Image

User avatar

Board Moderator
Posts: 5067
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:00 pm
Location: central Ohio
Country:
USA
PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:39 pm
Okay, it is hard for me to tell from that pic......Is any of the plastic "torn?" It doesn't appear to be sooooooo....... if not and it's all just kind of crinkled up start with a heat gun (a hair dryer could do in a pinch). Stay maybe 6 yo 8 inches a way and keep it moving on high heat. While you are doing that on the outside take a dull piece of metal or wood and start poking it from the inside, trying to "shape" it back as you heat it. Let's see what that does, take another pic. and we'll go from there.
And, I did not answer your question....Yes, if the damage is fairly minor it can be repaired, however we are pretty much in a "throwaway" culture now with these bumper covers. A new one can be ordered but then it has to be prepped and painted. And that ain't cheap.....
Here's a pretty nasty one I repaired..... was dented in about 5 inches plus the tearing when I started on it....
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=27152
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!

User avatar

Top Contributor
Posts: 1104
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:46 am
Location: Canberra
Country:
Australia
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:29 am
The problem with a lot of new cars is that the front bars are so complex with holes for DRLs, foglights, sensors and grilles that seem to grow into the strangest shapes.

With earlier model cars you could just heat it up, push out the dent, whack a bit of bog on to smooth it out and paint it. The new ones have to fit all those bits perfectly so can be much more difficult to repair.

Here's one I did today. That took over an hour to mask up.
2019-06-17 17.10.09-1.jpg


The cheapest alternative for that Camry would be repair but, unless you're skilled at it, replacement would be more practical.
Chris

User avatar

Board Moderator
Posts: 5067
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 7:00 pm
Location: central Ohio
Country:
USA
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:00 am
Yeah, that's exactly the problem....we just don't have the old "simple" bumper covers. Even when the plastic is trying to reform when you heat it, the shape is just too complicated to reform completely......
Metal, wood, fiberglass, we work it all... www.furniturephysicians.com We can restore the irreplaceable!



Settled In
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:41 pm

Country:
USA
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:14 pm
Folks,

Your suggestions are really great.

My biggest problem is going to be getting access to a heat gun. I do not live in a house. I live in a condo building. In other words, I do not have a garage. Also, I only have street parking. So even if I got a heat gun, I'd need to plug it to an outlet. I cannot see myself plugging a heat gun into an outlet in my 3rd floor apartment then running a long extension cord to my car.

I need to figure out a plan but I'm very intrigued by the heat gun option for starters.

User avatar

Top Contributor
Posts: 1104
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:46 am
Location: Canberra
Country:
Australia
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:04 pm
Battery powered heat gun and 12V compressor?

Seriously, put up some more pictures of the damaged area and we may be better able to assess your chances of success.

BTW, using a wadded up piece of cloth to push the heated plastic out works much better than a lump of timber. You need to rub, not just push in one spot. For smaller areas one can use the rounded end of a large screwdriver handle.
Chris



Settled In
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:41 pm

Country:
USA
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:17 pm
Hi NFT5,

You ask for more photos. Well, here they are (please let me know if you need further info.)
I'm still trying to come up with a plan to fix my front bumper.

Image


Image


Image

User avatar

Top Contributor
Posts: 1104
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:46 am
Location: Canberra
Country:
Australia
PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:23 pm
That one is fixable.

Remove the bar and all the grilles, lights etc then heat gun to soften the plastic , push out and massage to as close to right as you can. You'll need some bog to finish the surface, then respray.

Watch the gap near the top of the light where it's pushed out a bit - correcting the bottom should take out the pressure.
Chris



Settled In
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2017 12:41 pm

Country:
USA
PostPosted: Sat Jun 22, 2019 9:17 am
So you think the bumper is fixable?

I just wish it was as easy for me as you make it sound. :)

Removing the grills and light is not that easy for some of us.

But thanks for letting me know that it's probably worth fixing rather than ordering a whole new bumper.

User avatar

Top Contributor
Posts: 1104
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 4:46 am
Location: Canberra
Country:
Australia
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 3:35 am
Is it fixable? Certainly. Could I do it? I do it every day.

Could you do it? I don't know. With guidance from this forum, probably.

Would it be worthwhile? Probably not. If you don't have the equipment (spray guns, compressor etc.) and the cost of buying much more paint than you will likely need then, no, it would be cheaper and more practical to get someone else to fix it for you.

The good thing about that model Camry is that the painted section is pretty much in two halves with only the narrow bar under the lower grille joining them. So a more local repair can be done with a clear coat join in the bottom bar where it won't be seen. The repair area is well away from the join with the guard so no problems with blending. Masking that light is difficult (I know, I did one last week) and removal isn't hard (just screws) if you remove the bar first. The grille can be masked so doesn't really need to be removed and makes handling the bar, off the car, much easier by adding rigidity. Maybe you could choose to do the repair on the car but you'd need to at least release the splash tray under the bar and this would mean at least lifting it up a bit - ramps would be ok.

To do a repair like that I'd figure on 4-4.5 hours which, at our labour rates would equate to around $450AUD. To do it on the car I'd charge about the same for PITA factor plus the need to take the whole car into the booth and mask it all up. Your labour rates tend to be a bit lower than ours so I'd take a wild guess and say about $300-350USD. Some of the local pros can correct me on this.

Here's a pic of the one I did, immediately after the Golf in my earlier photo, so I just left the ramps in the booth and ran it up. The difference was that the main damage was on the side so no need to get to the area where yours is damaged, except for some minor scratches on the lower leading edge of the bar, which I could fix easily from the outside. I blended the colour down from the guard and then cleared across to the grille, blending in across the bottom bar. As is usual, it was a rush to get it out so I didn't take any more pictures.

2019-06-17 15.49.15.jpg
Chris
Next

Return to Fiberglass and Plastic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests