Front bumpers are one of the most commonly damaged parts of a car. After all, that’s their job – to absorb impacts and protect the rest of the car from harm. Replacing them is a relatively easy task as long as you follow a few guidelines.
If your front bumper is showing signs of wear and tear or you’ve recently been involved in a minor accident, you’ll probably find it easier to replace it than trying to repair it. The good news is that you should be able to find second-hand bumpers for all major makes and models of car at a breakers or online for a reasonable price.
Buy the right bumper
It goes without saying that every model of car is different and even minor variations will mean your new bumper won’t fit properly. You can sometimes get around this with some judicious cutting, filing and drilling, but that’s generally more trouble than it’s worth. The lesson: buy the right bumper in the first place. Make sure you get an exact match for the make and model of your car, otherwise you’re likely to run into problems.
Because all cars are different the procedure for changing your front bumper will vary considerably. These instructions are a general approach that you may need to tailor or adapt, according to the make of car.
Before you start…
Inspect your existing bumper carefully. Look for the bolts or screws that hold it to the chassis or brackets, as well as any clips and wires that are attached, such as those for your indicators and other lights. You may find it helpful to take some photos at this point to help you can reconnect everything in the right place. You should also compare the damaged bumper to your new one to make sure that the holes for the bolts and any connectors for the wires are in the same places.
Remove the front bumper
Start by disconnecting all the leads, and then remove the bolts. You should be able to lift the bumper off the front of the car now. There may be a number of items attached to the bumper – including lights and your number plate. Make sure you remove them all so that you can transfer them to the new bumper.
Now that the bumper is off the car, compare the two bumpers once again to make sure you have the right kind. You should also position the new bumper against the car to check the fit. Usually there won’t be a problem, but if any changes have been made to the car then there may be components in the way. If it doesn’t fit properly you have a decision to make. You can either remove or cut down the obstruction (such as a reinforcement bar), or cut or adjust your new bumper to accommodate the changes. Comparison with the original bumper should give some indication of what is necessary. This step comes with a warning, since any modifications to safety features or the chassis entails a potential risk.
Mount the new bumper
Assuming the new front bumper is the right fit, start by installing the number plate and any other accessories that you removed from the first bumper. You can now position it against the car and tighten the bolts that hold it to its brackets. You may need a second person to hold the bumper while you attach it. Finish by connecting any leads that you removed at the beginning.
NoteIf you buy a used bumper from a breaker or similar, it should come ready to install. If you purchase a brand-new bumper from a factory or parts dealer, additional steps may be required. You might need to drill holes for the bolts and the bumper may need spraying before installation. These steps significantly add to the time and complexity of what should otherwise be a relatively simple and fast process.