Car Bumper Scratches

How to Remove Scratches from Your Car Bumper

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If parking your auto in public parking spots is part of your daily routine, then it’s inevitable your auto will pick up some car bumper scratches. You see, no matter how careful you drive, picking up a few scratches is quite unavoidable especially when driving alongside careless and less experienced drivers.

Now, the worst thing about cracks, dents, and scuffs is that they automatically lower your car’s resale value. They also create a cosmetic blemish that damages your car’s integrity. Also, a scratched, dented, or scuffed bumper tends to lower the bumper’s ability to absorb impact making it less useful in case of an impact.

While some people will opt to take their cars to repair shops, others will consider taking the matter into their own hands by fixing the problem by themselves. So, if you’re the latter, here’s a detailed process you can use to guarantee good results. In this guide, we’re going to discuss at least three methods you can consider to get rid of these scratches.

Removing Faint and Minor Scratches


One tip of keeping your car in great shape is by removing scratches immediately you notice them. This helps to keep the protective skin intact to avoid exposing the interior metal parts to corrosion.

So, in this section, we’re going to discuss how to remove swirl marks and light scratches from your car’s bumper.

Faint Scratches

Things You’ll Need

  • Rubbing & polishing compound
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Polishing/buffing pads

Step One: Inspect the Condition

Before you begin, you’ll need to first inspect the severity of the condition to know the right course of action. To do this, simply glide your nails across the scratched areas to see whether they will get caught by the grooves. In case they’re caught, then it means the scratch is deep. If they don’t, then it means the scratch is minor.

Step Two: Apply the Rubbing Compound

So, once you’re sure the scratch is minor, the next step is to clean your bumper to have a clear view of the affected area. Next, apply the rubbing compound by applying it on a clean microfiber cloth. Rub the cloth against the affected area using back and forth strokes for a few minutes.

Make sure that you apply firm hand pressure to break the sharp edges of the scratch. Now, most rubbing compounds are mildly abrasive and have grits that range from 1000 to 5000. So, when choosing one, make sure that you pick the right compound that’s abrasive enough to handle the type of scratches you’re trying to get rid of.

Step Three: Allow it to Dry

Once you’re through, allow the rubbing compound to dry. Next, use a clean cotton or microfiber towel to remove any excess residue from the affected area. In case the marks are still noticeable, apply more rubbing compound and repeat steps 2 and 3 again.

Step Four: Apply Car Polish

Once you’re satisfied with the results, apply car polish on the bumper and massage it using another clean microfiber cloth. Rub back and forth in a circular motion until you bring out the desired shine.


Medium Scratches

Things You’ll Need

  • 3000 grit sandpaper
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Rubbing & polishing compound
  • Polishing/buffing pads

Step One: Inspect the Situation

As usual, the first step is to inspect the severity of the condition. In most cases, medium scratches are normally noticeable when you glide your nails against the affected areas. These scratches go as far as the coat paint but not deep enough into the base color paint.

Step Two: Mark the Affected Area

Now that you’re sure what you’re dealing with, start by marking the affected area by placing masking tape. This will help you know the areas to focus on during the application process.

Step Three: Buff the Scratches using Sandpaper

Using wet 3000 grit sandpaper, buff the affected areas of the bumper until the scratches are no longer visible. You can also use toothpaste or any other abrasive rubbing compound to remove the sharp edges of the scratch. Buff the area for about 30 seconds while applying firm finger pressure.

Step Four: Wipe Dry With a Microfiber Cloth

Once you’re done, wipe the affected area using a clean microfiber cloth to remove any debris or residue. The reason for doing this is to have a clear view of the results to determine whether there’s a need to take any further action. In case the results are not pleasant, then you can repeat step 3 until the scratches become invisible.

Step Five: Apply Polishing Compound

Finally, apply a polishing compound on the affected area to give your bumper a more manicured look. Again, apply the polish on a clean microfiber towel then rub it against the scratched areas. Here, you can consider rubbing the polish on the surrounding areas of the bumper to camouflage the repaired parts.


Removing Major Scratches

Things You’ll Need

  • Scratch filling putty
  • Automotive spray primer
  • Clearcoat
  • Wax & grease remover
  • Prep solvent
  • Factory-matched paint
  • Different grit sandpapers
  • Scuff pads & microfiber towels
  • Bumper repair kit

Step One: Inspect the Condition

Just like in our previous steps, the first thing you have to do is to inspect the condition of the bumper. In this situation, for instance, the scratches seem to be deep and very pronounced making it impossible to use our previous methods. Thankfully, this method is considered the best if you’re dealing with deep stubborn scratches.

Step Two: Determine the Type of Material Used to Make the Bumper

Although most bumpers are made of plastic, the type of plastic material used can have a huge significance on the repair route you’ll be taking. Some of the materials you’re likely to find include;

  • PP (Polypropylene)
  • PPO (Polyphenylene Oxide)
  • TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)
  • TPUR (Thermoplastic Polyurethane Elastomer)
  • PUR (Polyurethane Plastic Rigid)

Before you commence with the repair process, note that PP, PPO, and TPE tend to smear when sanded while TPUR and PUR tend to powder up when sanded.

Step Three: Remove the Bumper

So, once you’re aware of what you’re working on, park your auto in a dry warm place. Next, remove the bumper from the car’s body by unscrewing the fasteners holding it in place. In case you’re unaware of how to do this, simply refer to your car’s manual. Removing the bumper is important, as it will give you clear access to the scratched areas during the repair.

Step Four: Wash the Bumper

With the bumper out of the car’s body, use a high-pressure hose to wash the scratched areas thoroughly. The reason for doing this is to remove any dirt that might have stuck in between the grooves. Remember, failure to remove all the dirt can interfere with the process.

Step Five: Apply the Prep Solvent

Once you’ve washed and dried the bumper, pick your prep solvent and start applying it. During the application process, avoid rubbing it back and forth but rather in one direction. This will prevent you from dragging debris to the scratched areas. While you wait for the bumper to dry up, mix equal portions of hardener and repair adhesive in a clean container.

Step Six: Sand

Before you apply the adhesive, use 80-grit sandpaper to sand the affected areas thoroughly. There are two reasons why sanding is important. One, it removes the sharp edges of the scratches by smoothing them up. Two, it removes the top layer of paint in the scratched areas to make it easier to work on.

Step Seven: Form “V” Shaped Grooves

Once you’ve sanded the bumper, form a V-shaped groove in the damaged areas. This helps to create more surface area for the repair adhesive and hardener to stick on. If your bumper is the type that powders, then you’ll have to use a sander with a 24-grit disc attachment. On the other hand, if the bumper is the type that smears, then you’ll need to use a drill and a rotary file instead.

Step Eight: Apply the Body Filler

Start applying the plastic filler or the scratch filling putty on the scratched sections of the bumper. Apply the filler putty a little at a time until the scratches are entirely covered. In case the edges of the V grooves are slightly misaligned, cover the area with fiberglass repair tape to keep them strong.

Next, apply an adhesive over the tape and spread evenly using a squeegee. Apply the second layer immediately then allow it to dry up for about 20 minutes.

Step Nine: Skim Coat and Sand

Once the adhesive has dried up, use 80-grit sandpaper to remove any excess adhesive in the area. Also, remove any visible fiberglass tape in the area to make it look neat. Next, skim coat the repair area of the bumper with a light coat of repair material to remove any imperfections. When you’re done, use 400-grit sandpaper to manicure the area.

Step Ten: Paint the Bumper

If you have reached this step, then congratulations! You’ve just repaired your car’s bumper. Now get ready for the last step, which is painting the bumper. So, in this last step, you’ll start by applying two coats of flexible part sealer. Allow it to dry for about 30 minutes.

Next, apply the primer over the flexible part sealer. Start by shaking the primer thoroughly before applying. When applying, make sure that you apply a thin layer first then followed by a thick layer. Allow the first layer to settle for two minutes before applying the second.

Allow the primer to harden then use 400-grit sandpaper to smooth the repair area. Next, pick a wet cloth and wipe the sanded area to remove any dust.

Pick the can containing the basecoat and shake it gently. Apply several coats while maintaining a distance of 10-12 inches from the paint can to the bumper.

Finally, it’s time to apply the clear coat. To do this, simply mix the clear coat with a hardener and apply the first coat. Wait for about two minutes then apply the second coat. Allow the bumper to rest overnight before screwing it back into your car.



So, there you have it. As you can see, the process of removing car bumper scratches is not as hard as it sounds. Secondly, this process is not as easy as it appears to be. There are so many factors you need to consider before starting, which if done incorrectly, can lead to undesired results.

Thankfully, this guide has taken ample time to discuss three key methods that you can consider. So, whether you’re looking to remove faint, medium, or severe scratches from your bumper, this guide has offered you various solutions you can consider.

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