How to Paint Chrome Bumpers

by Jenny Carver

Painting over chrome may seem easy, but after a short amount of time, the paint will flake off and reveal the chrome underneath. Painting chrome involves a different process than painting regular metal. Learn how to paint chrome bumpers and get your vehicle bumpers to match the color of the entire vehicle. The result is a clean, custom-looking ride.

Step 1

Wash the chrome bumper with soap and water. Wipe it down with wax and grease remover to remove any fingerprints or dust.

Step 2

Use 36-grit sandpaper and a dual action sander on the entire bumper if the chrome is peeling, flaking or has large cracks. If the chrome is smooth and in good shape, use 80-grit sandpaper. Sand the entire chrome bumper until there are no shiny spots to be seen.

Step 3

Wipe with wax and grease remover and then spray the entire bumper with self-etching primer. This type of primer grabs onto the metal, allowing later coats of primer and paint to stick to the chrome. Allow it to dry completely.

Step 4

Spray regular automotive primer to the bumper, directly on top of the self-etching primer. Spray two thin coats, allowing each to dry completely before moving on.

Step 5

Sand the primer lightly with 800-grit sand paper, keeping the paper wet while sanding. Sand the primer without reaching the chrome surface. If you sand through the primer, reapply the primer and sand again, repeating the former steps. Allow the bumper to dry completely.

Step 6

Spray the paint on the bumper in light, even coats. Use four coats of paint, allowing each to dry completely before applying another coat.

Step 7

Apply three clear coats to the painted bumper, allowing each coat to dry before applying another coat.

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