Few feelings are as amazing as looking over your vehicle and admiring the pristine paint. That’s why accidents, scrapes, and scuffs that harm the finish are so disheartening. If your car’s bumper has been damaged, the first question that usually comes to mind is, “How much does it cost to paint a bumper, and is it worth it?”
How much it costs to repaint a bumper depends on the damage’s extent, the paint you need, and whether you use a professional. If you choose a DIY option, it may run less than $100. A basic paint job at a shop may be closer to $300.
However, if you’re looking for a high-end paint job or have specialized paint, you may spend far more. If you’re wondering, “How much does it cost to paint a bumper?” here’s what you need to know.
Can Plastic Bumpers Be Painted?
You can paint plastic bumpers, but you need to use the right approach based on the state of your new bumper. Most paint won’t bind to plastic correctly if the surface isn’t properly prepared. If the prep work isn’t done, cracking, peeling, and other issues can occur.
In some cases, the bumper is ready to paint in its current state. Some manufacturers prepare and prime the surface as part of the manufacturing process. In that scenario, you may be able to start painting right away.
However, you want to inspect the primer to make sure it’s even. Sometimes, there may be small imperfections, and you’ll want to address those by wet sanding with 600-grit sandpaper before painting.
For bumpers that don’t arrive pre-primed, you’ll need to handle the prep work on your own. That may involve lightly wet sanding the bumper and applying a bonding primer, allowing the primer to dry completely before you move on to the next step. If the primer is even, you can paint. If it isn’t, do another wet sanding before you switch to paint.
After applying paint, you’ll usually want to add a clear coat. That seals the paint and helps protect it from damage, reducing the odds of chipping or cracking in the future. Plus, it allows you to apply a nice sheen.
If you’re worried about getting the job right on your own or don’t have access to the right equipment, you can always take your vehicle to a professional auto body shop. They’ll have the tools and know-how to make sure it’s done right, leaving your plastic bumper with a paint job that will generally last.
Why Would You Need to Paint a Bumper?
There are several reasons why a person may need to repaint a bumper. The most common damage is related to an impact, such as during vehicle accidents. However, wear and tear on the paint could make repainting necessary, too.
The paint on a bumper and the protective clear coat shields the underlying bumper material from the elements. That can reduce the odds of structural breakdown, corrosion, or similar issues that harm the integrity of the bumper.
However, repainting is also an aesthetic choice. When the paint on a bumper is cracked or chipped, it diminishes the look of the vehicle. As a result, it can lower the car’s value, making it harder to get top dollar if you decide to trade it in or sell it.
Fresh paint restores the protection provided by properly applied paint and clearcoats. Plus, it makes the bumper look newer, potentially increasing the vehicle’s value.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint a Bumper?
The cost to repaint a bumper varies based on several factors. First, choosing between hiring an autobody shop or doing the work yourself plays a role. Generally, DIY repainting is less expensive, as you avoid any labor charges related to hiring professionals.
Second, the quality and type of paint you choose make a difference. Higher-end paint or specialty colors come with higher price tags, increasing the total cost regardless of whether you go with an autobody shop or choose the DIY approach.
Third, the current state of the bumper is a factor. Incidents that damage paint can harm the underlying structure of your bumper, and that could make repairs or a replacement bumper necessary. As that increases the amount of work and alters the material requirements to completely tackle the job, it changes the price.
If you do get a replacement bumper, whether it arrives pre-primed is another factor. With a pre-primed bumper, you don’t have to prep the actual bumper material or apply primer. With unprimed bumpers, you’ll usually need to sand the surface and use a bonding primer before you can paint, potentially leading to a higher price tag.
Fourth, your location matters. Prevailing rates for autobody work and supplies vary from one area to the next. For example, it’s usually less expensive in states with lower living costs. Additionally, you often spend more in cities where prices or tax rates are broadly higher than neighboring towns.
Finally, the size of the bumper affects pricing. Larger bumpers require more work and paint to handle the job. As a result, the bigger the bumper, the more repainting may cost.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the possible cost of repainting a bumper based on your chosen approach.
An economy repainting job uses lower-end products, making it more affordable. This option can work if your bumper is a conventional, widely-used color and you’re less concerned about longevity.
While the price of economy paint jobs for your bumper may vary, you’ll likely spend somewhere in the ballpark of $300 for labor and materials if you hire an autobody shop. Just keep in mind that the price may be higher if you live in a high-cost, high-tax area or have a larger bumper. Similarly, if repairs are necessary or the bumper itself needs replacing due to existing damage, the cost could go up.
On average, getting a bumper repainted at an autobody shop typically runs about $500. However, that’s the average cost, so it’s calculated using both economy and high-end paint jobs.
As a result, premium paint jobs for your bumper commonly cost more, particularly if you need to use a unique, specialty paint. In some cases, the total may reach $1,000 even if there isn’t any damage. If repairs or a replacement are necessary, the cost might exceed $1,500.
If you’re considering repainting your bumper on your own, the cost can range from low to moderate. If you need commonly available paint and have all the required tools and equipment, you might be able to spend less than $100 to tackle the job.
However, if you need premium paint or don’t already own the necessary tools, that changes the equation. In that case, you may be closer to $200 or $300. Depending on what you need equipment-wise and whether you choose higher-end solutions, you may even spend $400, $500, or more.
However, since you aren’t paying for labor, that does mean you can financially come out ahead. Just keep in mind that all of the required steps can take hours to complete. Removing and reinstalling a bumper can be cumbersome to manage, particularly if you’re doing it alone.
What Type of Paint Do You Use on a Bumper?
In the simplest sense, you’ll need an autobody paint to repaint your bumper. These paints are designed to stand up to the wear and tear most vehicles face. Additionally, they come in finishes that align with factory-applied paint, ensuring the final look is similar.
Typically, autobody paints come in one of two forms. First, there are standard paint cans meant to be used with sprayers. Second, there are spray can versions that eliminate the need for a separate sprayer.
Additionally, the paint itself might be designed to work on specific materials. For example, there are autobody paints that work on plastic and versions designed for fiberglass and metal. Some autobody paints will adhere to multiple surface types; just make sure that the one you choose will work with your bumper material before you buy.
How Long Does It Take to Paint a Bumper?
How long it takes to paint a bumper depends on the current state of the bumper, as that impacts the number of required steps. For example, if you’re starting with a pre-primed bumper, you can begin painting right away if the existing surface is even. If you have a new plastic bumper that isn’t primed, you’ll need to sand and prime it before you can start painting, increasing the total time required.
Generally speaking, the painting process requires two or three coats of paint followed by a clear coat. In between each step, you need to let the paint dry before you apply a new coat.
In most cases, it’s best to assume that you’ll need to put in three to five hours of work, depending on whether you need to apply primer. If you have to tackle some repairs, that can add two to four hours or more to the process.
However, the total time from start to completion can run between 12 and 24 hours when you factor drying time into the equation. Additionally, there are the hours needed to remove and reinstall the bumper.
Usually, autobody shops can finish all of the necessary work within a few hours or a day, as they have tools, equipment, and resources that speed things up. If you’re going the DIY route, you may want to break up the project across a few days to make it easier to manage.
Can You Paint a Bumper Without Removing It?
Whether you can repaint a bumper without removing it depends on the extent of the damage and the placement of the damaged area.
Touching up a small scuff on your bumper in a spot that isn’t close to other parts of the vehicle may make removal unnecessary. You can work carefully on that specific area, ensuring you don’t damage other components.
For more extensive damage or damage near other parts of the vehicle, removing the bumper is the better choice. It allows you to work without worrying about accidentally getting paint where it doesn’t belong. Plus, it can make certain preparatory steps easier to manage.
Should You Paint a Bumper Yourself?
Whether painting your bumper yourself is a smart move depends on the extent of the work and your level of comfort with autobody work. If you’re dealing with minor scuffs or scratches and don’t need to remove the bumper, you may be able to touch it up on your own.
However, removing and reinstalling a bumper is tricky. Similarly, dealing with major cracking, severe dents, or other significant damage isn’t something novices should take on.
Whether you have all of the required equipment also matters. A DIY approach is more viable if you already own the necessary tools. However, if you’d need to purchase the equipment, that could cause the cost of your project to balloon, making a professional autobody shop a more cost-effective choice.
How Much Paint Is Needed for a Bumper?
The amount of paint you’ll need for a bumper depends on the size of the bumper and the number of coats you’d need to apply. Generally speaking, one quart (32 fluid ounces) is the minimum amount you should purchase for an average-size bumper, as that will typically give you two coats.
However, if your bumper is larger or you may need three coats, get two quarts (64 fluid ounces). Additionally, if you don’t have much painting experience, you may be better of with two quarts. That ensures you have some room for error.
If your bumper is large and three coats are needed, then you might even want more than two quarts. However, if the color you need is readily available, you can start with two and determine if a third is necessary after the first two coats are applied.
Also, it’s important to remember that you’ll need one quart of primer if you have an unprimed bumper. Additionally, you’ll usually need to apply a few layers of clear coat, so you may need two quarts.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of Repainting a Bumper?
Whether your insurance company will cover the cost of repainting a bumper depends on whether the event that caused the damage qualifies under the terms of your policy. If you have comprehensive or collision coverage, the cost of repairing and repainting your bumper may be covered by your insurer.
However, if you only have liability coverage, the policy won’t handle a bumper repair. In that case, you may have to pay out of pocket unless another driver is deemed legally responsible for the damage.
If another driver is legally responsible, their insurance may cover the cost of the repair. In situations where that driver doesn’t have sufficient coverage, you could attempt to sue for damages to get enough compensation to cover the repair. However, a lawsuit may cost far more than handling the repainting of your bumper out of pocket, so you’ll need to weigh that cost against what it would take to address the issues on your own.
Is It Worth Repainting a Bumper?
At this point, you should have a solid idea of the answer to the question, “How much does it cost to paint a bumper?” Generally, repainting your bumper is worthwhile if it’s damaged. Paint protects the underlying material, avoiding issues like corrosion. Plus, it restores the look of your vehicle, maintaining the value of the car.
Did you learn everything you wanted to know about how much it costs to paint a bumper? If so, let us know in the comments section below. Also, if you know anyone who’s debating whether to repaint their vehicle’s bumper, make sure to share the article.