Car Dent Repair: Fixing a Plastic Bumper

dent in back of plastic car bumper
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Hair dryer
Wet cloth
Wooden block
Heat-resistant gloves
Safety goggles
Heat gun

Because car dents are one of the most common repairs, it’s worth learning how to fix a small dent at home so that you don’t have to take a trip to the mechanic. Plastic bumper dents are blemishes to otherwise seemingly perfect-looking cars. You could replace the entire bumper, purchase a suction-style car-dent puller, or you can try one of these quick and easy fixes from home.

Step 1 - Push Dent Out Manually

Put your hand behind the cover of the bumper and try to invert the damage of the dent. This trick might work if the plastic bumper is fairly thin and the damage isn’t bad. However, if the plastic is thick, you’re better off moving on to Step 2.

Step 2 - Use a Hairdryer

If the first step does not work, try to heat the plastic bumper with a hairdryer. Turn the dryer to the high, hot setting, and make sure you blow-dry the dented area in a continual sweeping motion for about three minutes. Then, try to push the dent out manually once again, this time using heat-resistant gloves to protect your hands from the warmth. If this doesn’t work, you can try the same trick but using a wooden block for extra force to pop the dent out from inside the cover.

Step 3 - Use a Heat Gun

Check out heat guns on Amazon.

Heat Bumper

A heat gun is one of the quickest ways to heat an area quickly, and using one is simple. Keep the heat gun around 1 foot away from the plastic bumper. Keep in mind that a heat gun will be much more powerful than a hairdryer. Thus, damage to the plastic can be seen if you leave the heat gun too close to a bumper or if it is left on it for an extended period of time.

As a precaution, never move the heat gun to a distance closer than 5 inches to the bumper cover. Once the area is visibly heated (but undamaged), you should stop heating it immediately. Always watch your hand placement and notice any changes in paint color or texture.

Invert the Dent

Once the dented region is hot enough, invert the dent with a wooden block from the inside of the bumper cover and hold the outside of the bumper with a wet cloth. The wet cloth will help cool down the bumper. Keep your hands on either side of the bumper for a few minutes, holding the bumper's shape in place. It is important to allow a couple of minutes to pass. Otherwise, the heated region of the bumper will revert to its previous dented position. Once the dented area is locked into the fixed position, you can stop pressing with the wooden block and remove the cloth.

Warning: A heat gun can reach extremely high temperatures. Wear both heat-resistant gloves and goggles, and follow the heat-gun manufacturer’s safety precautions.

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