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Bumper Scuff Repair, Part 1

Posted by Jay Schneider. Filed under Automotive.
September 1, 2009

Bumper scuffs are common - particularly in the Snow Belt states where stopping distances can become challenging. Repairing scuffs is the topic of this blog series.

Determining where to start the repair process is fairly easy as is the entire process. The biggest stumbling block is making the decision to try and make the repair yourself. Depending on your skill level and tools kept, making you own repair can be very rewarding! Once mastered, you can take the skill with you forever.

Our first blog on this topic brings us to a typical parking lot incident where the front corner of a Lexus GS 300, (Tri-coat / Clear coat) bumper was scuffed right down to the raw plastic covering. This is to say the clear coat, pearl coat, base coat and primer were removed during the incident. (See figure #2)

 Wiping down bummer


Before getting started, ALWAYS degrease and remove wax residue prior to sanding. If this task is not performed, you end up pushing any oils, waxes or residues down into the surface as you sand making it very difficult for the primer to bite into. Your local Automotive Paint store will have the proper products for prewashing the finish prior to sanding. (See Figure #1). One important note – when dealing with Automotive paints, never touch the surface with your bare fingers/hands. Always wear latex or vinyl gloves – your fingers and hands have oils in them that can prevent the paint from maximum adhesion.  Next step is to properly tape off the finish. Be certain your tape is designed for automotive finishing. These tapes have specific adhesives designed for paints and solvents used during automotive refinishing. Good painter’s tapes also allow the taper to stretch and pull the tape without tearing thus having excellent cornering capabilities. (Figure 2).

 Taping off bumper


We will start the sanding process with 240 grit paper. On curved surfaces such as across the top of fenders or shown here over the top of a fender, ALWAYS sand on a bias. This means sand across the surface at 45degree angles, ( See Figure 3). This technique minimizes the creation of flat spots during the sanding process. Finish sanding the area by concentrating on the areas of where paint meets the raw plastic and blending or melting the paints edges down to nothing. – this process is called “Feathering”. Once the entire area is blended with 240 grit sandpaper, continue with 320 grit sandpaper performing the motions as with 240 grit sandpaper.

 Sanding Motion


Next up? Priming the area.

Scott S. Mc Lain

Vice President

Sales & New Product Development



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