Bumpers may only make up a small part of a vehicle, but they are one of the most frequently damaged components of nearly every make and model. For owners, it’s hard not to be constantly bothered by unsightly scratches, dings and dents, no matter how small they may be. If you’re looking to refresh your vehicle, here’s a look at how much it costs to paint a bumper the DIY way and through a professional.
The Cost of DIY Bumper Painting
If your bumper has minor chips, scratches or scuff marks, you can tackle the painting process on your own. Extensive damage like cracks and severe dents will require either bumper repair or replacement, which should be handled by a professional.
For the DIY process, you’ll need the following supplies:
- Base coat
- Clear coat
- Latex gloves
- Drop cloths
- Protective goggles
- A mask or facial covering
You can find automotive paint and accessories through online retailers. TouchUpDirect offers bumper paint kits for light touchups that start at around $80, and kits for bigger jobs are usually in the $100 range.
Keep in mind there are some drawbacks to taking on the project yourself:
1. You’ll need to be safe.
To avoid inhaling paint fumes, you should paint the bumper in an open, well-ventilated space. Be sure to wear protective gear like goggles and a mask to keep yourself safe.
2. You’ll have to remove and reattach the bumper.
Painting a vehicle bumper is a more involved process than painting a wall in your home. In most cases, the bumper must be completely removed from the vehicle before painting, which requires a bit of manual labor and technical knowhow.
Removing the bumper from the frame of your vehicle could take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours. The exact time will depend on the complexities of your specific vehicle and your level of automotive experience.
Depending on the vehicle, there could be components behind the bumper (fog lights, airbag sensors, radar sensors, etc.) that must be carefully disconnected and then reconnected after the bumper is painted. Newer vehicles tend to have more complex bumpers than older vehicles, so a 2019 Toyota Corolla may be harder to work with than a 2001 model.
3. Your vehicle should still be looked at by a professional.
If you’re wondering how much it costs to paint a bumper because you’ve recently been in an accident, the safest bet is to have your vehicle checked by a professional auto body center.
With the many components behind the bumper, there’s always the possibility of internal damage — even if your vehicle was only lightly tapped in the accident and there’s no visible damage beyond a few scratches or dents. In more serious accidents, there could also be damage to the wheels, frame, grille or structural support.
4. Your paint might not be a perfect match.
Not all bumper paints are created equal — there’s a huge difference between a Blizzard Pearl Toyota Corolla and a Clear White Kia Sportage. If you’re not working directly with your vehicle manufacturer or a certified auto body paint shop, there are no guarantees that the paint you buy will be a perfect match to the rest of your vehicle.
The Cost of Going to a Professional Auto Body Shop
Painting is an integral part of the vehicle repair process, and most auto body shops are equipped to perform full-service paint jobs on nearly every vehicle make and model.
The first step is to take your vehicle to a shop for a quick estimate. A technician will assess the extent of your bumper damage and determine how difficult the removal process will be. From there, they’ll give you a quote that includes fees for supplies and labor.
According to AAA, auto repair labor rates range between $47 and $215 per hour. In most scenarios, the bumper painting process will only take a few hours, which puts labor costs in the $94 to $430 range. Supplies will be in the range of a few hundred dollars, depending on material or color. However, these rates are only averages, and every repair shop is different.
If the cost to paint your bumper is on the higher end, check the details of your auto insurance coverage. Insurance may cover the cost if it is higher than your deductible.
Even though the fees might be a little higher, there are undeniable benefits to taking your vehicle to a professional:
- Shops have specialized equipment to remove bumpers without causing further damage.
- The technicians will know exactly what to look for in terms of related technical or structural damage.
- The shop will apply exact color match paint in a controlled environment for the highest quality bumper painting.
- The most trustworthy shops guarantee all work performed on your vehicle, so you’re covered if a related issue arises down the line.
When searching for an auto body paint shop, look for one that is BASF certified. BASF is the world’s leading expert in high-quality vehicle paint colors and coatings. Technicians at BASF-certified auto repair shops receive extensive technical training in paint technology and color information systems, so you can trust that your bumper will be restored to like-new condition.
If you choose the DIY route, make sure you have all the necessary supplies (including exact color match paint), a basic understanding of how to properly detach and reattach the bumper and a lot of patience. You always have the option to take your vehicle to an auto body repair center, but keep in mind that the cheaper option is not always the best choice. Read customer reviews online and request estimates from a few shops so you can feel confident in your decision.