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Bumper Repair

How Long Does it Take to Repair Bumper Damage After a Fender-Bender?
Repairing a bumper or replacing it is not always cut and dry. In fact, most vehicles today don’t even have bumpers. If you haven’t noticed lately, only trucks and SUVs built on a chassis and frame platform have traditional bumpers. The bumpers on uniframe vehicles are kind of still there but hidden under the front and rear fascias. In fact, the bumpers in many late-model uniframe cars and crossovers have explosives to project the bumper outward and repel forces upon impact. 

The belief is that bumpers were phased out as the fear of pedestrian safety took over and the impact standards diminished. However, there was also the progression of crumple zone technology that Mercedes-Benz invented. The theory behind crumple zone technology is that a vehicle could be designed to deform in particular crumple zone areas during an accident to absorb any of the deadly and invisible shock waves that travel into the cabin. Nowadays, the entire front-end of a luxury vehicle can deform from an impact as low as 3 to 5 miles per hour and be more expensive to fix than the vehicle is worth. 

Therefore, how long it takes to complete a bumper repair often depends on whether it is a uniframe vehicle or a truck. If the vehicle has a bolt-on and replaceable bumper, the job can be completed in under an hour if the part is in stock. Most bumpers are secured with no more than four large bolts to hold them onto the subframe in the back and the frame or uniframe in the rear. 

If your vehicle has a front or rear fascia style “bumper” (and I use that term loosely), then it can take a lot longer, depending on the make, model, and extent of the damage. In most cases, even a small forward collision at 3 mph will require replacement of the hood, the hood latch, the bumper, the front fascia, and other parts like the front-end apron and grille. On top of the mechanical aspect of unbolting the damaged parts and refitting brand-new parts, the new parts will also have to be painted to color-match your vehicle. That can take several hours just to spray it and maybe longer to ensure the paint is cured before it is installed. 

In an accident that occurs at higher speeds, the crumple zones may be affected and may require the shop to remove all the front-end components to laser align and weld in new body parts. A lot of sanding and preparation then has to be done to spray and color-match the new uniframe parts after they are installed. In any case, a bumper repair often involves more than just the bumper on today’s late-model vehicles and can get pricey without insurance coverage.

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