Minor collisions happen all the time. You back into a pole, tap another car’s bumper during a sudden stop on a busy highway or you overestimate the power of your brakes when you are in a hurry and roll into the wall of your garage. Just as you are ready to look up “bumper repair near me,” you may look at it and think you escaped without damage. If it looks fine, there is no need for car bumper repair, right? Not necessarily.
The Purpose of Your Bumper
Bumpers aren’t just for aesthetic purposes. They are designed and engineered to take the brunt of collisions by absorbing the impact. Both front and back bumpers are also intended to protect the body of the vehicle from excessive damage. You may not have realized that bumpers are considered standard safety equipment.
The materials from which OEM bumpers are made are chosen specifically for the characteristics that the plastics, rubbers, or metal provide. Even bumpers that look like they are molded into the body of the car are reinforced with an aluminum or steel bar. Rugged polypropylene, polycarbonates, polyurethanes, polyamides, thermoplastic olefins (also known as TPOs) and polyesters are all used by car manufacturers for their superior shock absorption capabilities. Often they are also combined with glass fibers and other materials for added strength and durability. Another advantage is that the plastic bumper repair cost may be less expensive, as they are frequently made with recycled materials.
Many design factors can influence the efficacy of your vehicle’s bumper. Aftermarket bumpers may not provide the same protections for occupants as the OEM bumper. Popular custom truck bumpers are often made from heavy-duty metal or iron that does not have the shock absorption capabilities that factory bumpers possess. Decorative embellishments, lights and even the overhang can be problematic in certain driving conditions. Bigger isn’t always better, as evidenced by smaller, lighter manufacturer bumpers that offer fuel economy while working in harmony with your suspension.
Common Bumper Damage
Just because you don’t see the damage, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Cars are designed with crumple zones and breakaway parts that are intended to help absorb impact. It may not always be evident to the average car owner if any safety aspect of their vehicle has been compromised without having a professional examine it. Unrepaired damage to a bumper can affect the aerodynamics of your vehicle and can contribute to severe injuries or even death of the occupants in a crash.
Depending on the design of your bumper, typical damage can include the following:
- Air Intakes: If your bumper has a cold-air intake on the front bumper, it is at risk of damage from impacts.
- Airbag Sensors: Airbag sensors can be mounted in a variety of places on different vehicles, including the bumper.
- Lights: A common form of damage, even if the lense or light itself is not broken, involves the surrounding architecture like clips. If those are damaged, your lighting isn’t focused on the right part of the road, meaning you could be at higher risk for accidents in rain, fog or dark conditions.
- Trim: Many of the bumper’s trim pieces can be damaged, leaving it not only unsightly but possibly open to further deterioration.
- Warning Systems: Newer vehicles have many safety features in the bumper like cameras, backup sensors, lane-change warning sensors and vehicle sensors that are easily damaged.
The Bumper Repair Process
Over the years, as engineers have developed more and more safety features, bumpers play an even more critical role than they ever did before. Innovations in materials, technology and safety devices necessitate greater depth and breadth of expertise for bumper repair technicians. Thermoplastics repair requires knowledge and training in thermoplastic welding, as well as the particular techniques to apply a successful repair. Delicate safety equipment located in the bumpers must be handled carefully during removal, repair or replacement so that they maintain effectiveness.
At times, it makes more sense to replace your bumper instead of repair it. In some cases, severe cracks can be a threat to the structural integrity of the safety feature. With many of the flexible plastics used now, it may be less expensive to replace rather than to repair your bumper. The same is true with deep scratches that require considerable labor to sand, buff and repaint the bumper. If the hooks that secure the bumper to the car are broken, replacement is advised over repair.
When you are facing bumper repair, there are a few tips that may help you navigate the process more easily:
Step 1: Don’t Panic
It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are faced with getting repairs to your vehicle. Don’t stress, take a breath and work your way down this list.
Step 2: Do Your Research
Speak with your auto insurance agent to understand your coverage, deductible, copays and exclusions, if any. According to your coverage and the extent of the damage, you may ultimately decide that it makes more sense to pay out of pocket rather than file a claim. Next, research qualified body shops that have experience with bumper repair and replacement. Verified reviews can give you a sense of the quality of their work and how their customers have felt about the service they received.
Step 3: Get Estimates
Once you have narrowed down your choices, get estimates on the damage so that you can decide between making an insurance claim or paying out of pocket.
Step 4: Plan for Alternate Transportation
Doing the job right may take time. Ordering the parts or doing skilled repair work may not happen as quickly as you would like. Having alternate transportation is advised, and may be covered under your auto insurance policy.
Step 5: Trust Your Repairs to an Experienced, Certified Repair Shop
The adage, “you get what you pay for” is often true. You want to pick the most qualified technicians when your safety is at risk, not the least expensive. Certifications tell you that a facility has gone above and beyond to acquire and exhibit a higher level of training, expertise and quality.
Picking the Right Bumper Repair Shop
When you need expertise, high-quality car bumper repair with exceptional customer service, you need Tachoir Auto Body. Our ASE and I-CAR Gold Class Certified facility is here to help you with all your repair needs. Contact us for an estimate today.