When Does a Bumper Need Replacement Rather Than Dent Repair?

Vehicle bumpers are designed to absorb the impact of a front or rear-end collision to keep you and your passengers safe, but they usually look worse for the wear after taking even a minor hit. Small dents and scratches on the bumpers of your car are easy enough to fix with basic auto body shop methods. However, extensively damaged bumpers are usually better replaced than repaired. Since the bumpers are designed as shock absorbers to lessen the force of an impact, repairing a compromised bumper could result in more damage during a future accident.

Damaged Connection Points

A molded bumper may appear to be a seamless part of your car’s exterior, but it’s a separate piece that is mounted to special hooks and welded connection points on the vehicle’s frame. This ensures that the force created by someone bumping into your car travels through the entire car evenly. If your bumper is loose and moves around when you push on it or while you drive, it’s likely missing one or more of these connection points. Attempting to simply reattach the bumper could result in it flying off later, even when you’re just driving normally. Removing the damaged bumper and discarding it gives the auto body shop a chance to check and repair all the connection points and other parts of the frame before they install the new bumper.

Cracked and Crumpled Surfaces

Cracks, holes, and crumpled areas that form ridges are difficult to address with repairs along. Dent repair techniques may smooth out part of a crumpled area, but the compromised material that can’t be smoothed out will weaken the bumper and make it react unexpectedly in the next collision. Cracks and holes weaken the entire structure and reduce the bumper’s ability to absorb shocks. While it is sometimes possible to patch very small cracks and holes with bonding materials, it’s not the best idea due to the compromised strength of the part. You’ll have more peace of mind and a more attractive car by simply opting for a replacement bumper.

Widespread Denting

Dents in bumpers are usually isolated to one corner, especially damage caused by single car accidents like bumping against a high curb or light pole. If the dent spreads across the bumper and is more than a few inches wide, or if there are multiple dents overlapping a large portion of the bumper, dent repair is less likely to work. Bumpers with widespread and severe denting also tend to be compromised under the surface. If the internal frame or foam filling of the bumper is broken due to extensive denting, the bumper won’t perform as expected in an accident even if dent repairs are used to make it look perfect from the outside.

Underlying Body Damage

Finally, the accidents that dent a bumper can cause serious frame damage. A bent, cracked, or twisted frame is a major safety hazard since the constant vibration of roadway driving slowly worsens the problem. Taking a damaged bumper off and replacing it after other repairs is usually recommended any time you have a serious collision, even if the visible external damage doesn’t look that bad.

Not sure if you need bumper replacement or just a minor dent repair? Talk to your local auto body shop today for a professional’s opinion.

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