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Car Bumper Paint Peeling – What To Do?

Paint peeling from your car’s bumper can make the entire vehicle look unsightly. But what can you do if you see this issue? We researched the answer to this problem, and here’s what we found.

Perhaps the best way to remedy paint peeling from a car bumper is to apply a patch job to the area. Complete this process by painting over the region where you can see the peeled paint. The general steps for this task are:

  1. Apply masking tape to the areas that you don’t want painted, such as the headlights.
  2. Use sandpaper to even out the region with the peeled paint.
  3. Use a spray gun to apply primer to the offending region.
  4. Apply three coats of your preferred paint to the primed location.
  5. Protect the patch job with a weather-resistant automotive polish.

At first, it might seem like a relatively straightforward task. But making mistakes can worsen your car bumper’s appearance. So continue reading as we talk about the steps to fix paint peeling from a vehicle’s bumper in greater detail.

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Auto body repair series: Red bumper being painted in paint booth, Car Bumper Paint Peeling - What To Do?

Why Is The Paint Peeling Off My Bumper?

Close-up of damaged fog lights lens ,Cracked and peeling paint on car front bumper.

Paint peeling from a car’s bumper can occur because of different reasons. These causes may include:

  • Prolonged exposure to harsh UV rays
  • Uncured paint subjected to weather damage
  • Insufficient number of layers for the paint job
  • No protective topcoat applied
  • Bumps, dings, and scratches made to the bumper

It’s also important to mention that a car bumper is different from a fender. Read our post on that topic to learn the differences between these fixtures.

How Do You Fix Peeling Paint On A Bumper?

Car painter in protective clothes and mask painting automobile bumper with metallic paint and varnish in chamber workshop.

Before continuing with this project, ensure that you have the same paint as the rest of your vehicle. Otherwise, the patch job will stick out like a sore thumb.

Also, it's important to have the confidence to proceed with painting a part of your bumper. Otherwise, you might make mistakes that could worsen your bumper's appearance.

If you’re confident with your car painting skills and you have the correct paint ready, continue this process by following these steps:

What You’ll Need

  • Masking tape
  • Primer
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Automotive wax

Step-By-Step Guide

1. Apply Masking

If you don't want to remove the entire bumper assembly to paint a peeled area, you need to mask the areas that you don't want to be painted. Some assemblies that you need to mask are the headlights along with other accessories on your car's bumper.

2. Even Out The Peeled Area

Oftentimes, paint peeling off a vehicle’s bumper doesn’t have a uniform appearance. Failure to fix this particular issue will also result in an uneven paint job. So use medium- to low-grit sandpaper to even out the surface of the offending area.

3. Apply Primer

With your paint spray gun, apply primer to the damaged area. Make sure to not apply too much, as it can also lead to unevenness.

4. Color The Offending Area

Clean the spray gun’s paint reservoir to remove any leftover primer. Then, fill it with your chosen color. Use the spray gun on the localized area, but this time apply three coats of your preferred color. Make sure to wait about 5 minutes for each coat to dry before applying the next layer.

5. Finish With Wax

Once the last paint layer dries, apply your preferred wax to the painted region. A good choice would be to use a polish with weather protection properties to promote long-term resistance against peeling and other issues. Finally, remove the masking tape that you applied earlier.

Check out this spray paint gun on Amazon.

If you need additional help in removing paint from a car’s plastic parts, read our post on that topic to learn more about this procedure.

How Do You Remove A Car’s Front Bumper For Painting?

The hand of a man putting on or removing the front bumper from a red car in a vehicle repair shop. Industry in auto service.

You can remove the car’s bumper if you don't want to mask your car's headlights, trims, plates, and other accessories on the fixture before painting.

What You’ll Need

  • Panel removal tool
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Open the vehicle’s hood.
  2. Take out the headlights and front grille assemblies. Be careful when removing the fasteners on the grille, as these can break easily.
  3. Use a panel removal tool and take out the fasteners securing the front bumper from underneath the vehicle. Again, be careful since applying significant pulling force might dent the bumper.
  4. Turn the steering wheel to turn the front wheel slightly to expose the screws securing the bumper on the wheel hub.
  5. Unscrew the bumper by removing its screws on the wheel hub.
  6. Pull out the bumper’s plastic shielding from the wheel hub.
  7. Look inside the newly exposed area and remove the bolts that secure the bumper to the rest of the car.
  8. Slowly remove the bumper from its mount and set it on a flat surface for painting.

Check out this panel removal tool kit on Amazon.

You can also watch the video below to learn more details about completing this particular task. The clip also shows how to replace a broken bumper with a new model:

How Can I Paint My Car Bumper Myself?

Closeup of mechanic's hand sanding bumper

Painting the entire bumper can be a good choice if you want to repaint the whole fixture instead of painting over a small portion. Doing so may also help you achieve a uniform result.

Also, it can be ideal to remove the bumper instead of using masking tape on it. Taking out the bumper won’t make you worry about paint splashing onto other areas of the car.

But make sure that your painting area has proper ventilation. Plus, wear a respirator or face mask to prevent breathing toxic paint fumes for extended periods.

Once you’re ready, proceed with this project by following these steps:

What You’ll Need

  • Power sander
  • Sandpapers
  • Sandable primer
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Garden hose
  • Microfiber towels
  • Topcoat
  • Automotive spray paint

Step-By-Step Guide

  1. Use the power sander with a 400-grit sanding disc to remove the existing paint from the bumper.
  2. Smoothen the bumper’s surface by using 1,000- and 1,500-grit sandpaper on it.
  3. Vacuum the bumper to remove the dust from the sanding.
  4. Rinse the bumper with a garden hose to remove any leftover sanding residue not removed by the vacuum cleaner.
  5. Apply two coats of primer to the bumper. Make sure to give ample time for the first coat to dry before applying the second layer.
  6. Let the bumper sit overnight after spraying it with primer.
  7. Wet sand the bumper with 1,500-grit sandpaper. Then, wipe it with a clean microfiber towel.
  8. Apply a light coat of your preferred automotive spray paint.
  9. Let the first layer dry before applying a thicker coat.
  10. Apply a third light coat to the bumper after the second layer dries.
  11. Spray a protective topcoat on the bumper after letting it dry overnight.

Check out this automotive spray paint on Amazon.

How Long Does It Take To Respray A Bumper?

It can take up to 3 days to respray a bumper. Keep in mind that it may require 6 to 8 hours for each coat of paint to dry. That means it may take anywhere from 18 to 24 hours to coat a bumper with three layers of paint.

How Many Times Can You Repaint A Bumper?

You can repaint your car’s bumper as many times as needed. However, frequent stripping and repainting can cause the plastic material to become brittle over time. So it might be best to limit your bumper repainting sessions to prevent irreparable damage to this component. 

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Bumper Repainted?

The cost to have your vehicle’s bumper repainted often depends on whether you use DIY solutions or professional services. Choosing to repaint the bumper by yourself may require at least $80 to gather the equipment and materials for the job.

On the other hand, taking advantage of professional services might require spending between $47 and $215 per hour. Also, the cost of using expert assistance might increase if the technicians demand an additional payment to cover the supplies used for the job.

Final Words

Professional male car painter is painting in garage by airbrush. Man works with spray gun. Painting the car in white. Body repair cars.

It can be a good idea to paint over a spot on your car’s bumper if some of its original paint chipped or peeled. If so, make sure to use the correct paint for this patch job. If you don’t have the confidence or skill to proceed with this project, don’t hesitate to let professionals handle it.