How to Restore a Damaged Lexus Bumper Cover
A crack here and a scratch there will surely not make you happy. The ugly look that they bring your Lexus is disheartening, and the cost can even be more upsetting. You could install every type of exterior panel covers all you want, but you might just lose the look original look that you loved about your car. To avoid that but still have some level of protection, especially on the extreme parts of the vehicle, plastic Lexus bumper cover would already do. Cracks and scratches on it won't be too saddening. You can even repair it yourself.
Difficulty level: Moderate
Things you'll need:
- Screwdriver or wrench
- Plastic-specific adhesives or repair kit
- Plastic surface cleaner or solvent
- Scouring pad
- Soap and water
- Lacquer thinner
- 80 & 180-grit sandpaper
- Plastic tape
Step 1: Uninstall the bumper cover even if the cracks and scratches are fairly dismissible. This is to avoid the need of masking the other body parts when it's painting time. Use a wrench screwdriver to remove fasteners, and then, pull the bumper cover.
Step 2: Most plastic bumper covers are of thermoplastic compounds, and you must find the correct adhesive that you specifically need. Look for the stamp at the back side to identify the plastic. Thermoplastics are identifiable with PP, PPO, TEO, TPE or TPO stamp. You will find PUR or TPUR for thermoset plastics, though.
Step 3: Clean the contaminants off the damaged area with the plastic surface cleaner using the scouring pad. Gritty surfaces need to be washed first with soap and water before cleaning with the plastic surface cleaner. Use lacquer thinner for stubborn grime.
Step 4: Carefully sand using 80-grit sandpaper to at least 2 inches around the repair area, making a feathering effect around the edges.
Step 5: Carve a shallow v-groove incline at an angle of half an inch with a grinder. Repeat this step at the back side of the bumper cover. Use 24-grit disc on a sander with plastics that powders when sanded, while cordless drill and rotary file for those than smear when heated with friction.
Step 6: Hold the edges of the crack with a tape across the front side to keep them from shifting and aligned.
Step 7: Thoroughly apply adhesion promoter on the back side of the repair area, including the inner edges of the crack. Let it set for 10 minutes.
Step 8: Reinforce with a mesh patch of at least an inch from the crack. And then, apply a mixture of flexible epoxy adhesive to the crack, making 3 to 4 wipe-layers. Let dry for 20 minutes.
Step 9: Make sure that the adhesives at the back side of the bumper cover have completely hardened before working at the front side. Remove the plastic tape, and sand down any blobs that may have seeped from the back side job.
Step 10: Repeat steps 7 and 8. But make sure to build up several layers of epoxy for large cracks. Let the adhesive dry for 30 minutes or as recommended by the product.
Step 11: Remove high spots and rough edges with 80-grit sandpaper. Contour the surface with DA sander until desired shape is achieved, and then, smoothen with 180-grit sandpaper. Repair is done, and you're all set for the primer and paint.