How to Fix a Cracked Fiberglass Bumperby William Zane
The bumpers (or bumper caps) on most modern cars are manufactured from fiberglass. While fiberglass is a durable material that can bend a little and still return to its former shape, if it is hit hard enough it will crack. Fixing a fiberglass bumper is easier than fixing a metal bumper, however.
Remove the bumper from the car. Consult the workshop manual for your specific make. You will need to remove the bumper since you will be working from both sides.
Examine the crack to determine how large it is. If it is a small crack, you can apply a layer of Bondo to repair it. If it is a larger crack that needs to be fiberglassed, proceed to step 5.
Clean the area to be repaired with mineral spirits.
Mix the Bondo according to the directions on the package and apply it to the crack and the area a few inches around it.
Let the Bondo dry and then sand it down, starting with a rough grit (60 grit) and then moving up to smoother grits (as smooth as 400 grit).
If the crack is larger than 1/16 of an inch, you will have to apply fiberglass weave to reinforce it.
Grind the surface of the bumper down a few inches to each side of the crack.
Clean the area thoroughly with a mineral spirits and a clean dry rag.
Mix up the fiberglass resin according to the directions on the box and apply it to the crack on the backside of the bumper and the area around it with a brush.
Lay a patch of fiberglass cloth over the resin, making sure there is enough coverage to give proper support to the cracked area.
Brush more fiberglass resin over the fiberglass mat until it is thoroughly saturated. Try to keep the resin and fiberglass mat as flat and level as possible to reduce the amount of sanding that will occur later on.
Allow the fiberglass to dry. Sand the repair down until it is level with the nearby area.
Use Bondo to fill any imperfections on the visible side of the crack. Sand with 60-grit, 150-grit, 220-grit, 400-grit and then 1000-grit prior to painting. Use a block for the sandpaper to ensure even sanding.
Things You'll Need
- Fiberglass resin
- Fiberglass cloth
- Sandpaper, 60-grit to 1000-grit
- Mineral spirits
- Wear the proper protective equipment when working with fiberglass and the chemicals involved. This should be a good respirator and gloves.
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.