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How to Remove a Vehicle Bumper

Removing a vehicle bumper – Most modern vehicles are fitted with bumpers that contain a variety of parts. These are generally:

  • A thermoplastic cover (bumper trim panel).
  • A steel or aluminium ‘carrier’ frame.
  • They often contain ‘crash cans’ or a ‘shock absorber material’ to absorb small impacts.
  • Bits of trim and wiring for aesthetics and add-ons (reversing sensors, fog lights, etc).

The Process of Removing the Bumper

The bumper is normally held on by a mixture of screws, bolts and plastic pin type fixings. To get at the fixings, it may involve:

Then:

Removing the Bumper:

The method of removing the front and rear bumpers will be similar.

Raising the Vehicle in the Air:

Jacking Up a Vehicle - Rear Beam Axle
Jacking Up a Vehicle – Rear Beam Axle

Please refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook.

Make sure the vehicle cannot move, by chocking the wheels, putting the handbrake on, etc, before raising the car in the air.

Suitable axle stands will need to be placed under the vehicle to ensure it is safe to work on, when the vehicle is raised in the air and the wheels are removed.

See “How to Jack up a Vehicle Safely” for more detail.

Removing the Road Wheels:

You could try to partially loosen the wheel liner to gain access, to the bumper fixings (with the road wheel in place). But often, it’s easier to remove the wheel liner completely to gain clear easy access to the work area.

Please refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook and the following article on “How to Remove a Wheel“.

Removing the Wheel Liners:

(The protective covers that line the inside of the wheel arches)

The wheel liners are often held in place by a mixture of screws, nuts and push fit plastic fasteners.

Removal is often a straightforward case of finding all the fixings, undoing them, and gently bending the wheel liner out of shape to remove it from the wheel arch.

The images below give an illustration of what you need to do to remove the wheel liner…

Skoda Superb Wheel Liner - Fixing Points (Front)
VW Skoda Superb Wheel Liner – Fixing Points (Front)

Disconnecting the Cables (Undoing Various Quick Release Connectors):

Most bumpers have some form of electrical item installed in them…

  • Reversing sensors.
  • Fog lights, etc.

You will need to disconnect this wiring to remove the bumper. Luckily, most manufacturer’s fit quick release connectors to allow for easy disconnection.

Disconnect these electrical connectors (when convenient). Ensure the opened internal components of the connectors remain dry (if the vehicle is outside).

Mini - Rear Bumper Fog Light Connection
Mini – Rear Bumper Fog Light Connection

Removing the Wheel Arch Trim (Dependant on the Vehicle):

Some vehicles have wheel arch trims that are fixed over the wheel arch and bumper. To gain access to the bumper fixings (sometimes hidden by the wheel arch trim), the wheel arch trims may need to be removed partially, or completely dependant on the vehicle.

Undoing a Variety of Bumper Fixings (screws, bolts and plastic pin type fixings):

Work your way around the bumper, loosening / removing the fixings as you go. It is always worth leaving some loosened fixings in place, until you are ready to remove the bumper, (so the bumper doesn’t fall and become scratched or damaged).

Removing the Bumper (as a whole), or Just the Bumper Cover:

Modern bumpers are either removed as a whole (the carrier frame and the cover), or they come off the vehicle as independent components.

In this case the bumper thermoplastic cover and carrier frame can be removed separately.

Replacing the Bumper:

Reverse of the removal process.

However, it may be useful to check the condition of components usually hidden by the bumper, remove leaves, dirt and debris, treat or prevent rust etc.

Hints & Tips:

  • Have a large cloth sheet handy to lay the bumper on. This is to help protect the bumper from being scratched when removed from the vehicle.
  • Use a container to hold all the fixings (so you don’t lose any).