Car bumpers play an important role in your safety when you’re on the road.

Its main purpose is to reduce or even prevent crash damages when minor crashes happenEach car manufacturer follows a certain standard to keep their bumpers durable and effectiveThat’s how important bumpers are for the automobiles that we use every day.

Bumpers are naturally shiny, which might not go on very well with the color of the car. It can be changed or repainted based on the preference of the owner. Painting over chromium is not the same as painting any other metal. Read on to find out how to properly paint over chrome bumpers.

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Why paint your chrome bumpers?

Most bumpers have a thin layer of chromium in them. The base of the car part is made out of steel electroplated with nickel. A lot of people like the shine of these chromium bumpers. However, even though this plate is lightweight and durable, there are times when the polish is just too overbearing.

Drivers who don’t want their cars to look like some sort of “Transformers” abomination usually opt to paint it. In addition, chrome bumpers use the paint as another layer of protection for weather effects since these things often rust because of exposure. A good paint job needs a lot of preparation (and sandpapers). If you don’t prepare your bumper properly, you will get a flaky and ugly chrome bumper design. Here’s how to prepare your bumper.

Things you need: painting your bumper

To start, painting chrome bumpers usually have three stages: cleaning, priming, and actual painting. You need to add a masking tape or any cover surrounding places. You don’t want to remove it from your car. Additionally, make sure that you have sandpapers listed below:

  • Sandpaper – for sanding, with 36-, 80-, and 800-grit
  • Degreaser – for dissolving grease and oil
  • Self-etching Primer – to prevent rusting
  • Regular primer – for preparing the metal for clear coat
  • Paint – your preferred color
  • Clear coat – used to make the final finish shiny

How to paint real chrome bumper?

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  1. Remove the bumper from the car

If you want to get the best result without wrecking the other part of your car, you should remove the bumper altogether. Some people would just mask the other car parts and proceed, but that might cause some problems in the process. Removing the car bumper depends on your car model. But typically, this will only need a wrench set, socket set, and screwdrivers.

  1. Use sandpaper with 80 grit to sand the bumper

To remove the shine that comes from the Chrome bumper, use the 80-grit sandpaper that you prepared. You should sand it until there is no shine in it. Make sure to sand the bumper evenly and thoroughly so the surface would be ready for the primer. Use different sandpaper if your bumper have rust or flaking.

  1. (situational) use 36-grit sandpaper for flaking bumpers

For rusting or flaking car bumpers, use 36-grit sandpaper instead. This type of sandpaper has a coarser surface, which is great for the tough stuff. You can also use this on bumpers with cracks to even out the surface. You don’t really want the cracks to be left on the surface, at it will affect the finish.

  1. Clean the bumper with a degreaser

To further make the surface cleaner and even, you should apply a degreaser on it. Like cracks and peels, dirt deposited in the bumper itself will cause uneven surface area. You can purchase a degreaser at home improvement stores or online. Automobile shops also have this cleaning agent.

  1. Apply a “self etching” primer

A self-etching primer is a rust protectant that is usually applied via a sprayer. This material is an important one in this process, as it allows the regular primer to be sprayed in the metal. You must coat it with 2-3 layers and let it dry completely for a few hours.

  1. Spray regular primer on top of self-etching primer

Once the bumper is prepared, its time to spray the regular automotive primer. Coat the whole bumper with at least two thin coats of regular primer and let it completely dry. Take note: some people omit using regular primers because the self-etching primer is already applied. However, using the regular primer on top of self-etching ones would help in keeping the metal durable and rust-free. Use face masks when spraying both primers.

  1. Finish by sanding with 800-grit sandpaper

Smoothen up the surface by once again sanding the primer with fine 800-grit sandpaper. Be careful about sanding this time, as you might sand away the thin layers of primer, as well as the chromium on the surface. When this happens, you would need to reapply the primers, effectively getting you to square one. Besides, don’t substitute the 800-grit sandpaper with other coarser sizes.

  1. Apply to paint the clear coating

Last but not least, apply your paint by spraypainting the bumper. We recommend about three to four light coats for a better result. Most car owners would match the color of their car to make it aesthetic and even, but you can choose whatever color you prefer. Before applying another layer, let the first one dry completely. Finish it up with three layers of clear coats. Just like the paint, allow each clear coat layer to dry completely first. The Clearcoat spray makes the finish shiny and polished.

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