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I understand it's hard to answer this question without having a lot of details, but still I would like to figure out one thing.

So, I got rear-ended recently. Fortunately the damage is really basic, just a couple of scratches. But still, the body shop estimated it to be a ~$600 and 3 days worth of work.

It's certainly not extremely expensive compared to what people usually associate with a cost of an average imaginary accident, but still quite expensive if you think just about a couple of scratches.

So I was thinking whether it would make more sense just to buy and install a new bumper instead. It's hard to find a genuine bumper price on the web (at least right away, maybe it's easier if you know how to do that properly), so I found a couple of aftermarket ones that were ~$250. I guess a genuine one would be maybe ~$500.

The question is what is the point of spending $600 and 3 days on painting if you could buy a $250-500 new bumper and have it installed in less than a day? Or what am I missing?

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Some people have varying opinions on the value of a precise color match/blend. You are unlikely to have a precise match even on an OEM part. – Nathan L Dec 5 '13 at 22:34
Well, repairing the existing bumper is also going to require sanding and repainting, so the risk of a colour mismatch is always going to be present. – Juann Strauss Dec 7 '13 at 7:40
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If you buy a new bumper, you're almost surely still going to need to paint it. (Normally the ones you buy are just the bare plastic.) That's expensive if you get a professional to do it, and a pain if you do it yourself. If you're trying to save money and effort I would just patch any cracks/holes with fiberglass resin (a higher-quality patch alternative available next to the low-quality Bondo in the auto parts store) and then paint just the affected area yourself. That's easier than painting a whole bumper and cheaper.

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Be sure that your rear bumper does not include any safety features which would make a replacement bumper the only feasible repair. If as you say it is only a 'couple of scratches' you could put a stick-on decal such as 'Support your local Sheriff' to cover the scratches.

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Normally "bumpers" these days are just "bumper covers" which have no structural purpose; they're purely cosmetic. The structural component is underneath. – R.. Dec 5 '13 at 23:48

Obtain a can of spray paint....match the paint colour from your VIN number/car/model/year and spray/touch up your time, it will scratched, nicked again.....good luck

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