People are often surprised by car bumper repair costs. This is probably due to an outdated understanding of what a car bumper is. In the early days of the automotive industry, a car bumper was just a piece of wood or metal bolted to the ends of the vehicle. It was literally there to take damage when drivers “bumped” into things. The bumper was held on by a couple of bolts, and could be easily removed and replaced.
Over the past decades, car design has become much more complex. Bumpers are now an integrated component of the vehicle, and perform far more functions than just protecting the body from damage. This has caused car bumper repair costs to rise. To understand car bumper repair costs, you need to understand what a modern bumper does, and what’s involved in fixing or replacing one.
Removing and installing a bumper, whether for repair or replacement, is no longer a simple matter of loosening a few bolts. Modern bumpers are connected to numerous vehicle systems, and it takes time to disconnect all of those systems from the bumper. Some of the systems that are integrated into bumpers are:
Lights: Fog lights, turn signals, and decorative lights can all be wired into a bumper. These lights must be disconnected, removed, and replaced or reinstalled.
Trim: A modern bumper usually has several trim pieces that must be carefully removed prior to repair or replacement.
Warning Systems: It’s not unusual to find backup sensors, cameras, vehicle sensors, lane-change warning sensors, and more in a modern bumper.
Airbag Sensors: Some bumpers contain sensors for airbag deployment. For obvious reasons, these sensors must be removed very carefully.
Air Intakes: While not as common, some vehicles feature a cold-air intake mounted in the front bumper.
Removing all of these parts can take two to three hours or more. With an average labor rate of $100 per hour, the car bumper repair costs start adding up quickly.
Once the bumper is removed, it’s time to paint. If the bumper is being repaired and reinstalled, painting starts with repairing any damage to the bumper. This can involve using plastic repair material, filler, or other materials to repair cracks and dents. The goal is to restore the bumper to the condition it was in when originally installed.
Once repaired, the surface of the bumper is sanded and cleaned to ensure that the paint adheres. Any remaining trim or cutouts are removed, and the painting can begin. Painting involves matching the color of the bumper to the existing color of the vehicle, then laying a base coat, one or more coats of color, and, finally, the clearcoat. Each layer of paint must be allowed to cure properly, or the entire process starts over.
The entire painting process can take around three to four hours. The labor cost for painting also runs around $100 per hour, making the car bumper repair costs rise more.
All of the body filler, plastic repair material, sandpaper, masking tape, and paint cost money. Instead of trying to measure every inch of masking tape used and every ounce of paint sprayed, auto-body shops charge a flat rate for materials. At a rate of $45 per hour on average, paint materials also contribute to the rising car bumper repair costs.
Of course, in any collision, it’s likely that some components will be damage beyond repair. A replacement bumper averages $300 to $700. If any lights, cameras, sensors, or other components are also damaged, those will further increase the car bumper repair costs. Even a low-speed collision in a newer vehicle can quickly add up to well over $1,000 in parts alone.
Adding it all up
As car bumpers have grown in complexity, the time, tools, and experience needed to replace them have also grown. When people hear the word “bumper,” they may incorrectly associate it with a disposable, easily replaceable part of the car. That simply isn’t the case.
Once all of the expenses are tallied, it’s easy to see why car bumper repair costs are so high:
Labor Time: 2 – 3 hours at $100/hour = $200 – $300
Paint Labor: 3 – 4 hours at $100/hour = $300 – $400
Paint Materials: 3 – 4 hours at $45/hour = $135 – $180
Parts: Average parts cost = $300 – $700
Grand Total: All told, average bumper repairs run between $935 and $1,580
With the mechanical labor necessary to remove the bumper, the labor and materials needed to make it look like new, and the cost of the parts that make it all possible, it’s no surprise that car bumper repair costs have risen.
A variety of factors can determine how much it costs to have your car bumper repaired. Having a basic understanding of each factor will help you get a better idea of your final repair costs.
Extent of Damage
When it comes to determining repair costs, the extent of the damage is a significant factor. Common repairs include fixing a bumper with paint scratches or dents. In some cases, the bumper itself can become cracked. Whether the damage is located on the front or rear bumper also affects repair pricing, and front-end bumper repair is often costlier if there is air intake damage as well as cosmetic damage.
To get a general idea of your labor costs, first determine whether the bumper can be salvaged and repaired or whether it will require a complete replacement. Replacement is typically costlier than a basic repair to the existing bumper. If the bumper has to be removed for replacement or repair, your costs could increase as well.
Labor and materials are the two most significant costs when it comes to repairing a damaged bumper. Even cosmetic paint jobs can require hours of labor if the damage is extensive. A fresh coat of paint improves the appearance of your car. It also helps maintain its market value and protects the body of the vehicle from the elements. You should factor in the amount of time it will take to paint the bumper as well as the cost of paint needed for each job.
Overlooked when having a bumper repaired is any related damage that may have occurred. From the air intake system to the lights, most bumper damage does not occur in isolation. Replacing headlights or tail lights adds to your repair costs. It’s important to get an idea of the full scope of damage before you proceed with repairing the bumper itself. In some cases, the entire bumper may need to be removed so your repair specialist can work on other damaged parts of the vehicle. Most bumpers also have more than one layer of trim, which means that multiple trim layers may need to be repaired in a single session.
Common Bumper Repair Scenarios
The need for bumper repair can arise for various reasons. Maybe you got into a car on car collision, had your car vandalized, or displaced an unfriendly tree. Considering parts, paint, and labor, the average bumper repair can range from $935 to $1580 or more depending on the scenario. How you go about repairing bumper damage depends on the extent and type of the damage to the vehicle.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Bumper Scratch?
A scratched bumper can vary wildly in repair cost because the severity of the scratch dramatically impacts the needed repair. A bumper scratch can range in price anywhere from $70 for supplies to repair your clear coat at home or $1500 for a paint shop to remedy a severely damaged base coat with premier paints, supplies, etc. If you’re getting your bumper scratch professionally repaired, labor costs may significantly impact the price of repair.
Cost to Fix a Bumper Dent?
As far as bumper damages go, dents can be both good and bad news. If it the dent isn’t serious, you might be able to get away with repairing the dent with just a blow dryer and a ply bar. However, if the dent is severe, the repair will probably cost between $450-$900. The fees associated with more severe dents are due to the complex systems modern bumpers are now a part of. Sometimes, to repair a dent, auto repair technicians must disconnect warning systems, lights, airbag deployment structures, and even cameras. If a dent is severe enough that it damages a vital safety feature of the car, it may require a full bumper replacement.
Cost to Fix a Bumper That Is Falling Off?
If your bumper is severely damaged, such that it is falling off, it is a good idea to get it replaced. The primary function of a bumper is protecting the car and therefore its passengers from collision damage. A bumper that is falling off will almost definitely be incapable of keeping you safe when needed.
Related: What Can Happen If You Don’t Repair a Damaged Bumper?
A replacement bumper must match the make and model of your vehicle. Costs associated with bumper replacement arise from:
Labor costs associated with removing the old bumper
Labor costs related to installing the new bumper
The price of the replacement bumper
Potentially costs associated with spraying your new bumper to match the vehicle.
With these things in mind, a bumper replacement can range between $885 to $1389 or more.
Cost to Repaint a Bumper?
When a bumper requires a new coat of paint, costs are relatively stable. Unless your bumper needs a luxury coat of paint, a repaint should run anywhere between $150-$300. The only expenses accompanying a repaint are labor costs and the paint itself. If you are willing to take the time and care necessary to repaint your bumper, there is a good chance it’s worth the time. The cost of the paint needed to repaint a bumper probably will pale in comparison to the labor costs entailed by having a repair shop do it for you.
Get an Estimate from an Auto Body Repair Shop
Getting an auto body estimate at your local New Look Collision Center* will help you obtain the pricing information you need to get your BMW back in top condition. Damage can vary significantly from one accident to another, so an honest estimate is the key to knowing how much you will end up paying for repairs.
While repairing your bumper may cost money upfront, it is crucial when it comes to ensuring that your newer model BMW remains functioning and looking its best.