Bumpers are called that way for a reason. They’re designed to absorb impact from the front and rear ends of the vehicle, so everyone is kept safe for the ride.
Small dents and scratches are easy to fix. In most cases, a paintless dent repair can handle the job. But if the bumper is seriously damaged, you may need to replace it. Here are four signs to watch out for:
Sign #1: Severe bumper dents
Bumper dents should be isolated to one side or corner. This is pretty normal for collision accidents where you hit against a light pole, a high curb, a road sign, or any stationary object. But if the dent is several inches wide and appears to spread across the bumper; or if there are several dents overlapping each other, it’s unlikely that a dent repair will work.
The presence of large, widespread dents is an indicator that something worse is going on beneath the surface. It’s possible that the internal frame and/or foam filling of the bumper is broken. Either way, you have to replace the bumper or it won’t function as expected.
Sign #2: Holes, cracks, and wrinkles
You should also consider bumper replacement if you see holes, cracks, or wrinkles. While wrinkles can be smoothened out with a simple dent repair, the seemingly “smooth surface” will be compromised and prone to damage the next time you encounter a collision.
Cracks and holes can be temporarily patched up with bonding materials. However, they reduce your bumper’s overall ability to absorb impact. Hence, it’s better to have it replaced than risk the safety of your passengers.
Sign #3: Loose bumper
Some bumpers are designed to look like they are seamlessly part of a vehicle. These are called ‘molded bumpers’ and they’re connected to the car’s frame through a series of hooks and welded connection points. A molded bumper serves more than an aesthetic purpose. Upon impact, it absorbs the force and distributes it evenly throughout the vehicle, away from the passengers.
If the bumper moves around when you’re driving, or if it feels loose when you push on it, these are clear signs of loose connection points. You can attempt to reattach the bumper on your own, but there’s the risk of it falling off and getting damaged beyond repair.
Instead, you should have the bumper inspected by a professional. They can repair loose connections and other broken parts, or they can replace the bumper if needed.
Sign #4: Hidden body damage
A damaged bumper can hide a damaged car frame. This is especially true for bumpers that sustained large dents after a major collision. It’s important to have your car assessed following an accident. A professional auto body repair shop will be able to determine if the car frame is damaged or not.
The sooner you can get your bumper fixed, the better. It will help you avoid problems such as rusting and paint damage, which can turn into costly repairs. It will also help you preserve the resale value of your vehicle if you’re planning to put it on the market.