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 happen. Each car manufacturer follows a certain standard to keep their bumpers durable and effective. That’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.

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?

  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 breaks to even out the surface. You don’t really want the breaks 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 breaks 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.

What paint will stick to Chrome?

Once the primer is dry, apply an acrylic or latex metal paint in your color of choice, or automotive enamel if you’re coloring a faucet. Here, too, either spray-paint or painting with a bristled or foam brush work. When spray-painting chrome, remember to apply in a steady sweeping motion side to side or up and down.

What’s the best way to paint over Chrome?

Can you spray paint over a chrome bumper?

Spray the chrome bumper with self-etching primer.

The self-etching primer is what will allow the regular primer to grab hold of the metal. Cover the entire bumper with the self-etching primer, spraying 2-3 even coats. When spraying in between layers, self-etching primer should only take a couple of minutes to dry.

How do you polish a chrome bumper?

How do I make Chrome look like new?

How do I make Chrome shiny again?

Method for Cleaning Chrome
  1. Add a few squirts of Dawn to a bowl of warm water.
  2. Wash down the chrome, paying special attention to dirt and water spots.
  3. Use the toothbrush to get into all those tight areas. (Remember not to use a hard bristle brush; this can scratch.)
  4. Rinse and use a microfiber cloth to dry and buff.

Does WD 40 Remove rust Chrome?

WD40 Specialist® Rust Remover Soak quickly dissolves rust and restores tools, equipment, and surfaces to bare metal without chipping, scraping or scrubbing. Great for removing rust from tools, metal, cast iron, chrome parts, and more without harming paint, gaskets, trim, or other surrounding parts.

Can Chrome be restored?

If the chrome on bumpers, wheel rims, hubcaps or trim on your car has rusted or oxidized, you can restore its original shine. Higher quality chrome plating is able to resist rusting for long, but eventually, all chrome will corrode. If rusted chrome is left untreated for too long, it can become permanently pitted.

What household items can I use to polish chrome?

A small amount of vinegar can tackle tough stains on showerheads, towel bars, faucets, hinges, chrome trim, bumpers, pans — whatever chrome surface needs a good cleaning. Grab some vinegar, some water, and a scrubbing tool, and you can easily wipe away the gunk from any chrome fixture.

Does vinegar harm Chrome?

Vinegar may be a mild acid, but it’s an acid nonetheless. Prolonged exposure to vinegar will damage chrome finishes by eating the finish right off of your fixtures.

Can you use Windex on Chrome?

You can use Windex® Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner on your car’s tinted windows, mirrors, glass, chrome, stainless steel, plastic, and vinyl surfaces. For a streak-free shine, clean car windows when the surface is cool and out of direct sunlight whenever possible.

What is the best chrome polish?

The Best Chrome Polish on the Market 2021
  1. 3M Metal and Chrome Polish 39527. View on Amazon (Our Top Pick)
  2. Eagle One 1035605 Nevr-Dull Wadding Chrome Polish.
  3. Turtle Wax 52810 All Metal Polish Restorer.
  4. Mother’s MO-05212 California Gold Chrome Polish.
  5. Autosol Metal Polish.
  6. Quickway Brands Quick Glo Chrome Cleaner.

Does aluminum foil clean chrome?

A simple and inexpensive way to remove rust from and polish chrome surfaces by hand is to rub it with aluminum foil dipped in salt water. This process yields two advantages. First, since the aluminum foil is softer than steel, it will not scratch the surface.

Is it OK to wax Chrome?


How do I protect Chrome?

The aluminum foil method is one of the most effective ways to clean, protect and enhance your chrome. This is down to the chemical reaction that is created during the cleaning process. Remove all dirt and debris from the surface of the chrome using a soft sponge and clean water. Dip aluminum foil into clean water.

Does wd40 protect Chrome?

The unique formula of WD-40 Multi-Use helps eradicate corrosion from metals such as iron, stainless steel, and chrome without further damaging the surface of the metal or even removing the paint.

Can you paint over Chrome?

It is difficult to paint over a chrome surface since one of the inherent qualities of chrome is a smooth and slippery finish. However, using specialized paints and the right chrome painting techniques can make painting over chrome a much easier task.

Can you clear coat over chrome paint?

Almost chrome spray paint will not take a clear. Also some silver spray paints will changed with a clear coat.