How to Repair an Automobile Rubber Bumper

  • 2-6 hours
  • 50-125
What You'll Need
Heat gun
Compressed air gun
Auto body filler
Scrub pad
Grease and wax remover
Flexible bumper repair kit
Masking tape
Safety goggles
Dust mask

The main reason you’ll need to carry out a repair on the rubber bumper of your automobile is because it will have become worn and faded by sunlight. Areas of the rubber bumper might also need filling. It takes time and patience to do this but it’s not an especially complex job. With the right tools, you can easily accomplish it yourself.

Step 1 - Preparation

Before you can repair your rubber bumper, you need to remove all the lights and emblems that are on the bumper as well as any bumper stickers. Once you’ve done this, use a grease and wax cleaner on it. Follow this by giving the bumper a very thorough scrubbing with a scrub pad and detergent. Rinse with clean water. Before you start stripping the rubber bumper, put on your safety equipment.

Step 2 - Stripping

Use P80 grit sandpaper to take of all the paint on the rubber bumper. This will require quite a lot of effort. When you’ve done this, remove all the dust and rinse the bumper in clean water. There will be some dents on the bumper. A few of these can be taken out with a heat gun. Use it on both the inside and outside of the rubber bumper if possible, making sure you don’t apply too much heat. When it’s soft, carefully push it into its proper place then apply cold water. You should be aware that the rubber will be very hot to the touch as you do this.

Step 3 - Filling

You will have some gouges and dents that aren’t going to respond to the heat gun. For these, sand them and use flexible repair filler on them then cover the whole bumper with auto body filler.

Give it time to dry completely then sand with P180 grit sandpaper. If the rubber bumper still isn’t completely smooth, apply a second coat of filler and allow it to dry before using P320 grit sandpaper to rub it down. Rub clean and wash with cold water.

Step 4 - Painting

You’re now ready to begin painting the rubber bumper. Mask off the bumper to avoid getting paint on the body then apply a first coat of paint. Let it dry until it’s just dull then put on a second coat. Once it’s dried, use P320 grit sandpaper on the rubber bumper and clean off with water. Let the bumper dry and repeat with two more coats of paint. Sand again, but use a finer P400 grit sandpaper this time. Wash and let the bumper dry once more.

Step 5 - Finish

You’re ready to apply the final coat of paint to the rubber bumper. When it’s on, don’t sand, but leave overnight to dry completely until it has a semi-gloss finish. At this point, remove the masking tape carefully and put the emblems and lights back on the rubber bumper.