To protect the paint job of a car, some cars have plastic bumpers. These do a great job protecting from minor bumps and scratches. The bumpers look unpleasant when they get scratched up. How to remove scratches from black plastic bumpers?
You can’t restore the original look of a black plastic bumper that has scratches. You can just smooth out the surface by cleaning it, buffing it out, and applying a restorer. This will make the bumper look smoother but not restore it to its original look.
Even though you can’t restore the plastic bumpers, you can make them look better. You don’t have to replace the bumpers after every scratch, just maintain them in a good condition.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove scratches from black plastic bumpers.
Can Scratched Plastic Bumpers Be Restored
First of all, we need to make sure what kind of solution you are looking for. Following this guide won’t result in brand-new plastic bumpers.
If you want to even out the scratched areas with the rest of the bumper, this guide will help you. However, if you want the bumper to look like it was never scratched, you will need new bumpers.
The reality is that the treated areas of the bumper will look a bit different from the rest undamaged parts. The scratches won’t be noticeable though.
If you only have a few scratches that you want to remove, this guide is for you. If the entire bumper is scratched, I recommend you get a new one.
[Related Article: The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Remove Your Car Scratches]
How To Remove Scratches From Plastic Bumpers
Here, we’ll thoroughly explain what you need to do in order to remove scratches from the bumpers.
Clean The Bumpers
As mentioned in the beginning, you will be doing some buffing. In order to do that, you need to prep the surface.
The bumper should be clean of dirt and dust particles. The dirt can cause an even bigger scratch when you will be and waxing.
To clean the black plastic bumpers, use the regular car shampoo you use for washing your car.
In fact, I recommend washing your entire car before continuing. As a general rule, when you are doing restoration work on the exterior, you first wash the car. Any leftover dirt or road debris can further damage your paint.
Pay extra care to the bumpers this time though.
Cut The Bumpers With Sandpaper
You can call this buffing but it’s not actually buffing. That term is usually associated with buffing out a car’s paint job. Here, you are basically cutting or removing part of the bumper’s surface.
The grit of the sandpaper isn’t really a standard for plastic bumpers. So, it’s best if you have several grit sizes on hand.
I recommend having 80-grit, 150-grit, and 180-grit sandpaper on hand. This way you can change grit sizes, the finer the surface gets.
Don’t cover the entire bumper with the sandpaper, just the scratches and the areas close to it.
Once you have a fine smooth surface, you can wipe the bumper with a microfiber cloth. Just clean off the residue from cutting the plastic.
You will be adding a restorer to the bumpers. For that to be effective, you need a surface clean of any contaminants.
So, this should be your next step. This is a prepping step. Don’t skip this, otherwise, the restorer won’t be efficient, and you will be left with a faded bumper.
To remove contaminants we usually an all-purpose cleaner that’s good at lifting debris off. You can also try using a degreaser. Both will work just fine.
After applying the cleaner, you will immediately notice that the bumper is looking better like this.
You will be surprised how much debris was on the bumper without you even noticing.
Apply A Plastic Trim Restorer
Fortunately, there are dedicated car products that are made specifically for this purpose. Most cars have some kind of plastic along with their paint job. So, it makes sense to have a product like this.
The product you need here is called a plastic trim restorer. There are plenty of brands you can use here. I recommend going with trusted brands and manufacturers.
Each plastic trim restorer has a different way of applying it. The instructions should be on the bottle. Follow these to the letter for maximum efficiency.
Make sure to not apply the restorer to parts that you haven’t buffed or undamaged parts. If you are worried you will apply on the wrong parts, use masking tape. Just isolate the parts that need to be restored with the tape.
Even Out The Surface
After you are done with the plastic trim restorer, the job is still not finished. The restorer is basically painting, so you are adding a layer of paint to the bumper.
As is the case when you apply a layer, there will be mountains on the surface. Even though these curves can be unnoticeable, it’s best to smoothen out the surface.
So, you will need to do a polishing touch on the bumpers. Again, there are dedicated products for polishing plastic bumpers.
Get a plastic polish kit and you should be good to go.
Should I Replace My Scratched Plastic Bumper
This begs the question: Is all of this labor worth it? Should I just buy a new bumper? Well, this is up to you to decide.
In my opinion, replacing a plastic bumper with 1-2 minor scratches is not worth it. If the scratches bother you that much just restore the bumper. If the entire bumper is damaged though, replacing it is a good idea.
If you want an upgrade in bumpers, then, of course, replacing it makes sense. Sometimes this can be the only option.
Related Questions And Other FAQs
Can You Buff Out Scratches On A Plastic Bumper
Yes, you can buff out scratches on a plastic bumper. Use sandpaper to cut the plastic and even out the surface.
Does Toothpaste Remove Scratches From Plastic
Toothpaste won’t help you remove scratches from plastic bumpers. Toothpaste can be used to polish plastic materials. However, it can’t be used to buff plastic bumpers.