Many drivers will get into a small fender bender at some point. Often these altercations involve only minor damage to the car, and the biggest headache comes from dealing with the aftermath.
If you take pride in your car and its appearance, a dented bumper is probably something you want to fix right away. Thankfully, it's not hard to correct the depressed bumper using little more than a heat gun and a bit of muscle.
Inspect the bumper
Before you get started, it's important to make sure the damage done is minimal enough that a trip to the shop isn't warranted. You should be able to easily take off your bumper using a screwdriver. Removing the bumper has several advantages, even if you can access the dent without doing this step.
"Make sure you know what material your bumper is constructed from before attempting to fix a dent."
If the bumper is cracked, a replacement might be in order. Also, when you take off the bumper, check the Styrofoam underneath. If this is broken, the bumper may not be as effective in preventing further damage or injury the next time a small accident happens, explained Keith's Cars. In these cases, a trip to the shop would likely be worth your while. First, with the bumper removed, you can evenly heat all around the dent. This will prevent overheating in localized areas. Second, you'll be able to look more carefully at the damage to determine whether a simple solution like using a heat gun is enough to fix the issue or if a professional would be better suited for the job.
Bumper material matters
While this method will work well on most modern cars, older models might prove to be a bit trickier. Today's bumpers are typically crafted from polypropylene, a thin yet durable plastic. Older car bumpers are more commonly made from steel coated in urethane. Others, including 2014 and 2015 models of some Dodge, Mercedes and Chevrolet vehicles, use polyurethane, SearchAutoParts.com pointed out. These materials don't react as well to the heat gun method of dent removal as polypropylene does, so be sure to double-check the material of your bumper before you get started.
Using your heat gun and wearing gloves on your hands for protection, direct the heat in a circular motion. Most of the heat should be aimed at the dent itself, but a radius of about four to six inches around the area should also be heated, explained SearchAutoParts.com.
Be careful not to overheat the bumper. The bumper surface can become warped, and the plastic or paint can melt if it becomes too hot.
Once you can see that the surface is warm, you can set the heat gun aside. This should only take about a minute. Place one hand on the inside of the dent and the other on the outside. Apply pressure to the inside of the dent to reshape the affected area. Start at the outside of the dent and slowly make your way in toward the deepest and most central part of the dent.
Use a cool, damp towel on the outside of the dent to cool the plastic once you've achieved the right shape. This helps the bumper to set in place quickly.