I recently backed my car into something which left me a scratch and some bare visible metal. I am in Canada where the seasons are extreme, and we are getting into winter and thus plenty of rain, snow, and salt. I would like to patch this up rather quickly, and preferably non-expensive method.

The images of the damage can be seen here:

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Some have suggested to me that I need to paint the entire back bumper to get a uniform look, but I am a little skeptical of that since the paint is white.

  • 1
    Edit your post and post the picture in the post. The picture will be high enough resolution to be useful here. Nov 21, 2016 at 20:41
  • Welcome to mech.SE... from Canada!
    – anonymous2
    Nov 21, 2016 at 20:44
  • @cory How can I post a >2MB file? Is there a way that the uploading code can scale it down for me? In the meantime I've put it up on imgur, which has a cleaner looking url.
    – masfenix
    Nov 21, 2016 at 20:44
  • 6
    That's exposed plastic. Most bumper covers aren't metal. Use some bug and tar remover or some solvent to get the black stuff off and see what it looks like after that. A little touch up paint will probably be fine. For a perfect finish... you'll need to have it painted as your friends have suggested.
    – cory
    Nov 21, 2016 at 20:48
  • Believe it or not white is one of the most difficult colors to match without color matching technology.
    – BillDOe
    Nov 23, 2016 at 6:42

3 Answers 3


As has been mentioned in the comments, most bumper covers are plastic. Usually (I think) they're injection molded ABS which is black. So the black may just be that plastic. It is also possible that the black is from whatever you bumped, and is on top of the paint (I can't really tell for sure from the pictures). If you take ~1 hour to work with some good cutting compounds, polishes and glazes, you can get it reduced a bit, and if it's a rub mark (not an actual scratch) it will vanish. If it's a scratch, it will reduce.

The way I see it, if it is a scratch through the paint layers, you have a few options:

  1. Touch-up painting. If you clean and paint (with the factory spec color) just the tiny surface of the scratch itself, you may be able to get away with it. The scratch is quite small, and if the finish is very close, you won't easily notice the difference.

  2. Paint Patching. You can clean and paint a patch (slightly larger than the damaged area) and sand (the area), polish (a larger area), glaze and wax (the whole bumper cover) and it will be quite hard to detect ANY major differences 90% of the time.

  3. Repaint the whole bumper cover. Yes, "It's just white." But, white and black are both tricky shades. There are THOUSANDS of varieties of each, and depending on the exact pigmentation, metallic content, pearl-look, they can both be quite unforgiving - especially when they're well finished. This is why most shops will recommend either repainting the whole bumper cover.

  4. Replace the bumper. It's not easy (in my experience) to get bumpers from junk/scrap yards that are in good condition, but you can find them sometimes for not too much. I don't know what make/model you have here, but a quick Google of "2008 vw passat bumper cover" found one for $144+ S&H. Not cheap per say, but not too expensive.

  • "This is why most shops will recommend either repainting the whole bumper cover." Or ____?
    – Mathieu K.
    Nov 24, 2016 at 20:52
  • @MathieuK. Grammar classes. ;-P sometimes I typo. Nov 25, 2016 at 17:13

if it is bare metal and you cant find a solution, to prevent it from rusting you can put some grease on it if your really worried, if you paint it and its metal just make sure you clean it, make sure its dry and there is no rust. then paint it.


That's just plastic, just a little sandpaper (300 grits works wonder, and you don't need to sand more than a couple of inches around) to even the spot the more you can, so when painted you won't notice the dent. Clean the whole zone carefully, mask headlights with paper masking tape, or if have time, mask the curve right on the bevel edge, then apply paint. Do not mask only the spot, or make a mask "window" because the paint your car has won't match directly with other paint, unless you go fancier and ask a paint service to prepare the matching paint. You need to diffuse the new paint.

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