Auto Body Repair – Does Bumper Repair Have to Be So Expensive?

There’s a very good chance that you have damaged the bumper on your car at some point in your driving career. Your bumpers are the most exposed parts of your car. They’re the most likely to be damaged. And…they’re designed to be repaired quickly and easily.

There’s also a very good chance that something much worse than having your bumpers damaged has happened to you: you almost certainly have overpaid by as much as double to have those bumpers repaired.

Body shops have two solutions to bumper repair: repaint the whole bumper (if the paint is damaged but it isn’t misshapen) or replace it (if the bumper has been cut, dented, or misshapen). There’s one option that they almost never consider: repair and repaint just the area that has been damaged.

When I owned a body shop I was shocked at how many healthy bumpers with minor damage (bumper rash on the corners, a dent with no paint damage, scratches across the face) were removed and discarded by body shops. The body shops were more than happy to toss bumpers that were 90% brand new because they could mark up the cost of the new bumper to the customer. And they were just as happy to paint the entire bumper for small scratches and scrapes covering just 10 – 20% of its surface area because the paint, primer, labor were all marked up as well. In sum, the tactic of body shops is to make jobs as large as possible because bigger jobs yield bigger profits, and it’s not the customer that’s paying…it’s the insurance company (don’t fall for that–you pay and then some over time when they increase your rates slowly). The average bumper repaint is about $450. A replacement is usually $800.

There is a sub-industry that car dealers use but the public is mostly ignorant of: the spot repair business. Spot repair techs specialize in bumper repairs. They can reshape, refill, recolor, and re-clear almost any bumper that doesn’t have damage done to the tabs that attach it to the car (that’s 80% of bumper damage, by the way). Contrary to what body shops will tell you, bumpers can be fixed, and just the area that has been damaged can be painted. This does require some skill. The painter must know how to properly scuff beyond the damaged area, blend in the paint, and apply the clearcoat so that the repair is undetectable.

What’s the average charge for a corner scuff, the most common of all bumper repairs? About $250. And here’s a HUGE bonus: most spot repair techs are mobile. That means they come to your home or office. A bumper corner can be sanded, primed, painted, and cured within 90 – 120 minutes. Ask your local car dealers for their “bumper repair guy.” There’s many in your area doing work you just didn’t know existed for prices and convenience that you would be silly to ignore.

Dent Repair Can Add Value To Your Car!

Repairing dents of any size is a quick and easy way to boost the value of a car. Most body shops can fix dents ranging in size from small to large and it is estimated that this repair increases the value of a car up to $1,000. While the mechanical functions of a car should be the priority, most people buy a used vehicle based on its appearance and assumed maintenance. A car should always have dents of any size repaired before selling.

How Repairing Dents Increases Value

It’s well known that small touches can help a car sell for more. Cleaning wheels and interior, fixing burnt out lights and waxing a car improve the appearance and the value for very little money. Dent repair is similar; it is a small investment that can yield a big return. A good body shop can use a technique known as paintless dent repair (PDR) to fix dings without the need to repaint. This is one of the best investments to make in a used car before selling and is often used by rental agencies, dealerships and auctions to prepare a vehicle for sale.

How the Technique Works

Paintless repair of dents is a technique that can repair depressions in the metal. A technician at a body shop uses special tools to manipulate the metal back into its original form from behind the dent, causing no damage to the paint. The panel is accessed by removing trim pieces or through inner panels. This technique can only be performed by a trained PDR technician and requires experience. The dent is removed by working from the outside edges in, slowly decreasing the size until it becomes so small it blends in with the paint texture.

What Dent Repair Can Fix

Typically, dent repair by a professional can fix virtually any dent from very large to small. The paintless technique works best on 1990 and newer car models because of the type of paint and frame used. This technique is only recommended for dents if the paint is not cracked or broken as well. Lastly, the dent must not be near the edge of a panel and the area must not have any previous body repair work that has changed the integrity of the panel.

Advantages of Fixing Dents

There are many advantages to repairing dents in a vehicle before sale. There is no repainting or filler needed, which removes the chance of paint overspray on other areas of the vehicle. This also eliminates the need to match paint colors and allows the vehicle to retain its original paint. Vehicles with original paint have a better resale value than repainted vehicles. Repairing dents with the paintless technique is also much more affordable than traditional body work and some insurance companies even waive deductibles when this technique is used.

Many body shops today employ trained PDR technicians to remove dents affordably and safely. This technique is the number one way to increase a car’s value before selling because it raises the value a great deal for a small investment. Dents of all sizes can be repaired with this technique and the cost is usually under $150 at a qualified body shop. Although the process can’t remove all dents, it’s the best way to maintain the integrity and original color of a vehicle while making it as attractive as possible for resale.

Vinyl Stickers – What Will They Stick to, and Once They’re Stuck, How to Unstick Them

Question: What is the best way to get a decal to stick to velvet? Will a decal or sticker work?

Answer: No, or at least none that I know of. Acrylic adhesives will adhere to the fabric somewhat, but not for long. And do NOT wash any fabric or garment EVER with an adhesive sticker, as you’ll likely never fully remove the adhesive. Applying decals to velvet will produce the same result as you would with any other fabric.

Velvet, as with many materials, is printable with screen print inks, but it will stiffen the fibers to some degree, like you will find with printed cotton T-shirts and other fabrics. Unless the fibers are printed in the manufacturing process, this will always be the case.

Question: Will my windshield wipers ruin the decal on my car’s rear window?

Answer: If it’s just rain water, it is unlikely that any real damage will occur in the short-term or at least within in a couple of years. However, if there’s lots of dirt or mud that hits your windows, then you may see the abrasive action of the dirt (which contains silica, the main ingredient of glass) begin to wear on the decal’s ink.

Another way you can minimize wear and tear on the decals is to order laminated stickers. If you know the decals are going to be used in a climate or region where there are a lot of muddy roads, it might be wise to protect the print using over-lamination. Over-laminate comes in various finishes like gloss or semi-gloss or matte, and the warranties will vary from three to five to seven years mostly. For decals, three years is probably enough.

Question: My car is 10 years old and has a decal on it that I want to remove, but I fear that when I do this, the paint under the sticker will be darker than the rest of the paint. What can I do about this.

Answer: Repaint the car. That is about the only thing you can do to even the paint out. If the sticker’s been there for a while, it is very likely that your assessment of the paint being darker underneath the vinyl decal will be absolutely correct, and there will be nothing you can do, short of repainting your car, to fix it.

Question: What is the best way to remove a dealer sticker from the trunk of my car without damaging the paint?

Answer: We’ve covered this topic in detail in several other posts, but it is an important topic, so I’ll be happy to cover it again to make it easy for our readers to find answers on successful and safe vinyl sticker or decal removal.

First, realize that standard decal adhesive is a very tough adhesive, meant to withstand temperatures down to 40 below zero Fahrenheit and up to close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. These acrylic adhesives are very strong so that they won’t let a sticker fall off your car window or in your case, the painted trunk of your car.

Over time, too, acrylic adhesives harden to the point that they don’t want to release your sticker or decal, and as many dealer stickers are also made of mylar, or polyester, they also tear quite easily as well.

So, to combat this, you need to use heat to get the decal’s acrylic adhesive to release. Using a hair dryer on high heat or a heat gun on low heat, heat the stickers up until soft, then slowly pull them off. It is likely you’ll leave a little to a lot of glue residue, so you’ll need to purchase an orange peel glue remover to soak the adhesive in order to soften it, then use a stiff card, such as a credit card, to scrape the softened glue off the car. Once most of the glue is removed, it is best to use a soft paper towel soaked in the glue remover to rub off any remaining glue.

The Best Way to Repaint Jeep Wheels

A good way to make your Jeep appealing is to repaint it. Jeeps that are used for off-road driving and the wheels tend to look worn out after some few years. This is because off-road driving involves driving in the mud and water or around rocks. This cause scratches and surface rust on the Jeep wheels.

Even though you do proper maintenance of your wheels, repainting them makes wheels look new again. Anyone can repaint the wheels and get positive results. Repainting Jeep Wheels takes some few hours using materials from an auto parts store.

The first thing is removing the Jeep wheels in pairs. Untie the lug nuts on the front wheels and lift the jeep with a car lift. Ensure the jack is securely standing on the vehicle. Lower the Jeep lifts until an equal weight is distributed between the lift and jack stands.

Use the 400-grit sandpaper to sand the Wheels, rub as if you are washing the Jeep. Ensure you keep the sandpaper wet the entire time. Use water from a bucket or running water hose pipe. The water is usually used to keep build-up of the old paint from scratching into the surface of the wheel. Sand the surface until the wheel feels smooth to the hand. Remove any rough spots and any scratches or surface rust.

After removing the dirt apply degreaser. Once applied, wash the Jeep wheel off with water. Allow the wheel ample time to dry completely. Apply masking tape on the tires sidewall and also around the tire's valve stem this is to limit the overspray from the paint. Ensure that no parts of the wheel are masked. Use the adhesive promoter and spray the primer in light thin coats so that it fills all parts of the wheel. Each coat should be sprayed within two to three minutes. Let it dry.

Use the 1200-grit sand paper and wipe the Jeep wheel down. Sand down any areas which were contaminated. If necessary, you can reapply the primer. Wash this area with water after final sanding. Then, use rubbing alcohol and a cloth to clean the entire area.

Finally, you spray the wheel with color coat rim paint. Apply two to three light coats, this limits dripping of the paint. Ensure you keep the nozzle eight to twelve inches away from the wheel surface and also apply in a back to forth motion. Allow the paint to dry for at least 30 minutes and remove the masking tape.

Custom Auto Painting Can Make Your Car Look Great

When deciding what car paint shop should paint your car there are a lot of things to think about. First of all you need to decide if your going to put a custom paint job on your car; then the hard work starts. After all, this is your car, your classic beauty, the perfect car for you.

If your not going to custom paint your car, all you need to know is what body shops will do a complete paint job. A collision shop makes a lot more money doing spot repair work on paint, or paintless dent removal. A lot of shops these days will not even consider doing a complete paint job, let alone a full on custom paint job. You really need to do your research about the different shops in your area. Most shops that do custom paint work are not the one that specialize in collision repair work.

You should also check out all of the shops that you research through the BBB, or your local Chamber Of Commerce. You should also ask the shops owners, or their managers for a list of references of people who have had car paint work done there in the past. If they refuse to provide you with a list of references, you should look deeper in to the shop's history before you take your car there. It also pays to make sure that the shop has been in business for a long time, this will help do away with the fly by night shop owners.

Remember that the key idea here is to get exactly what you want in a paint job. You should never have to convince an owner of any shop that they should do your custom car paint work. I am a huge promoter of the automotive industry, but also a huge promoter of getting it done right.

Custom car paint, or a complete paint job will cost a lot of money; so you need to pay attention to every detail of the process. For just a complete repaint on your car it should take around 40 hours of work, most shops run at $ 60.00 – $ 75.00 per hour. In essence this works out to about $ 3,000 in just labor, and supplies can easily run from $ 1,000 – $ 3,000 so be ready for the pricing structure. This is the area where you can begin, and custom car paint will cost more due to masking, and application of the product, let alone the art work itself.

You can easily run a tab of $ 10,000 or more in custom auto paint work. Don't be surprised if the bill looks like that either. Be ready for every event that might happen. If you pay attention to every detail you will get exactly what you want in a custom car paint job.

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