/ Front bumper repair

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Elsier on 19:01 Mon

Help - need some advice about repairing my front bumper.

So I cracked my front bumper this morning when I was reversing out of a farmyard and a bump/drop in levels of the concrete, combined with a low body on the car meant that it caught and has partially come off on one side. (just cracked along a clean line) 

My local garage said they don't do bodywork and sent me to accident repair who said the whole bumper needs to be replaced and the new one repainted (didn't really understand why that was necessary given they were going to order it new) it will cost 600 pounds. Its an old car and I don't really care how it looks (so long as its safe) so want to get a second opinion to find out whether it can be fixed rather than replaced but don't really know where to start, so advice would be appreciated? 

Is it all local garages that don't do bodywork or is it worth trying some different ones? 

I found a bit of info online via Google about specialist companies that fix cracked bumpers but can' t find any near me. 

Otherwise that leaves me with the accident repair companies, which seem very expensive. 

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DredStripe - on 19:19 Mon
In reply to Elsier:

Head to a scrapyard. They are generally pretty easy to swap over yourself. Shouldn't need much more than a screwdriver. Or a ratchet with a Phillips bit. Even easier if your not worried about colour matching.

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Jack B on 19:24 Mon
In reply to Elsier:

The reason they want to paint it is because it's damn near impossible to get a colour match otherwise - the paint on your car will have subtly aged, and every car can be a bit different depending on where it's been parked, sun exposure etc. To do a really good job, you have to also paint a little bit onto the adjacent panels, and blend it in gradually. Because of that, most new bumpers will come primed but not painted.

The fact they're keen to paint it and the suggested bill sounds like they are offering to get it looking like new. Lots of body shops work that way, as it is what car enthusiasts and insurance companies want. If you don't care about looks, it should be possible to do it much, much cheaper.

If the car is common and not too new, see about getting a replacement in a close-enough colour from a scrap yard. Depending how it is attached, your local garage might be willing to swap it, as it's a different thing from trying to repair it and much more like what they are used to.

The cheap and nasty way would be to take a hot soldering iron and melt a line of holes about 30mm apart 20mm back from each side of the tear, and join it up with garden wire or zip ties. To pass muster at the next MOT, you need to do it so that the're nothing loose or about to break off, and there's no sticky out bits which could catch on a pedestrian in a crash. Best to get the joins in the wire/ties on the inside if you can, but it depends where it is.

Can't really suggest anyone to do that.  I'd just do it myself, but I suspect my usual garage would do it after a bit of grumbling if I asked nicely.

Post edited at 19:27
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Elsier on 19:59 Mon
In reply to DredStripe:

Great thank you, how does it work with scrapyard, can I just turn up and ask if they have any, or can I phone?

Not quite sure about fitting it myself but I could ask a local garage (maybe not the one who saifmd they couldn't help) 

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pec on 20:10 Mon
In reply to Elsier:

You could try looking on ebay or just google second hand bumper or similar, it will bring up websites which act as a marketplace for lots of small breakers who will send you quotes if they have one in stock.

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Elsier on 20:10 Mon
In reply to Jack B:

Thanks, really useful advice, am going to try the scrapyard approach first I think. 

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balmybaldwin - on 20:55 Mon
In reply to Elsier:

Most scrap sellers also sell through the auction site these days... I'd start there - tick the used box on the search options

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tjdodd - on 21:07 Mon
In reply to Elsier:

Can you repair it yourself using a fibreglass repair kit?  It might need taking the bumper off (which you will need to do if you get one from a scrapyard in any case).  If the break is clean then just glue it together temporarily to keep the broken bit in place and then layer up fibreglass over the join on the inward face of the bumper so it cannot be seen.  Use something like

https://www.halfords.com/motoring/paints-body-repair/fillers-preparation/davids-fastglass-glass-fibre-kit-small

It may not look pretty but will be cheap and will be sound.  Also means the bumper will definitely be the same colour as the car so actually my be the prettiest option without doing an expensive professional repair.

If you want it to look prettier you can then use filler on the outside surface to cover the crack, sand down and then paint over with the closest colour match.

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LastBoyScout on 22:17 Mon
In reply to Jack B:

What you said, but use a rivet gun and some metal strips. Can drill the holes, rather than melt them.

Personally, I'd head for the breakers yard. Find the relevant Haynes manual for how to change the bumper and swap any lights or sensors over.

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Dave the Rave on 22:49 Mon
In reply to Elsier:

Google my PartsGateway . Put in your reg and get several quotes for the part(.not fitted)

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Ben Sharp - on 07:31 Tue
In reply to Elsier:

I've repaired a few before with methods similar to those described. Usually rivets with a metal plate behind and filler over the top.  If you're not tooled up then the easiest solution is a block of wood behind and a few wood screws followed by some clear duct tape and some heat to stick it properly down.

Getting a replacement from a scrappy might be an easy solution but might not be, depends on your car and the age of it. For example my partner had a civic which she knocked and split the bumper, upon inspection the previous owner had obviously had a few knocks too and most of the mountin points were bodged, rusted or non-existent. Repairing it in situ was a lot easier than getting it off and trying to fit another that was in decent nick (which seem to be quite rare looking at other civics around town of the same year, that's what you get for having tiny windows and the seats on the ground I guess!)

If you're not into doing it yourself then maybe phone around a few smaller garages or ask on a local facebook car page, you might find someone willing to bodge it up for you but it's more the sort of job that a mechanic will oblige you for if you're a regular and the easy solution for them is what you've been offered already, quote you a new one or say you don't do body work. There are a few small one man band type garages around here that do that kind of thing and I expect it's the same in most places but not always obvious where they are.

Post edited at 07:32
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jkarran - on 10:05 Tue
In reply to Elsier:

Google a few local body shops, explain you want a cheap tidy repair to an old car rather than perfection, most won't be interested because your job keeps lucrative insurance rip-offs out for the day but someone will helpfully point you to a cheaper shop that will do the repair work.

Failing that patch yours for now (drill and stitch the crack with cable ties like you would a wound in skin) an pick one up off ebay ideally in the right colour, unless it's a very rare car one will turn up in no time.

jk

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Elsier on 12:47 Thu
In reply to jkarran:

Thank you for all the suggestions, car now fixed (at least for now) found a local accident repair place which stapled it back on for free, they have said they can't guarantee how long it will last and it might need a new bumper at some point, but at least it's fixed for now.

Also so nice that there are garages out there that will do this for you and not just quote the most expensive option possible. 

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