Oxidizing is one of the main enemies of plastics. And over time it can make the paint fade away. As we all know by now, faded paints do not really look that eye-catching. In fact, they can make the car component look hideous. And nobody wants to drive a car that has hideous-looking components installed, right?
But, once the paint gets faded, is buying a new bumper the only option for you? Not really! If you know how to restore faded plastic bumpers, there will be no need to spend money on getting a new one. Now, you might be thinking that the process is going to be exceptionally hard. That is where you are wrong.
We know about some procedures, which are exceptionally simple and straightforward. It does not require any intricate tools, nor will you need to go through any intricate procedures.
Why Does a Plastic Fade Over Time?
Before we get into the process of restoring the looks of your plastic bumper, allow us to make sure that you know exactly why the plastic fades over time. The obvious answer would the oils. Usually, plastics will contain a lot of oil. These oils will oxidize over time.
The oxidization rate will depend on two things. One is the heat, and the other is the UV rays. The UV rays are basically the main culprit here. They dehydrate the plastic and dry out the oils. And after the drying process, the degradation works at a molecular level.
Then there is dust and debris of the road. Those will only add fuel to the fire. And over time, the degradation will make the plastic look like something that has been through years of abuse. An overhaul becomes quite imminent at that point to retain the overall looks of the car.
Method 1: Restore the Plastic by Using a Plastic Restore
The ultimate process to fix the faded plastic would be to use a plastic restore. Believe us; this is going to save you loads of time and save you from a lot of effort. And the steps to implement this method are as followed.
Step 1: Wash Your Car
First and foremost, you need to clean the entire car properly. However, if you do not want to clean the entire car, clean the faded area thoroughly. This will get the contaminants out of the surface and make the restoring process a bit more efficient. Also, it will ensure professional-looking results in the end.
Step 2: Apply the Plastic Restore
Now that the faded region is clean and free from debris, you need to apply a generous amount of plastic restore to the area. Make sure that each of the areas is covered. In fact, you do not even have to worry about over-spraying because most of the plastic restore is going to be safe for the best paint for bumper.
Let the coating sit for at least thirty seconds. However, we would recommend letting it sit for about one and a half minutes. That amount of time will give the restorer to get deep into the plastic and change the structure of the molecules.
Step 3: Clean the Excess Spray
After the spray is in place, you need to get yourself a microfiber towel and wipe the excess liquid off from the surface. The excess amount of liquid can attract dust and debris, further damaging the bumper. For that reason, we would highly recommend cleaning the excess amount of liquid on the surface.
Step 4: Do Some Follow Up Coats
The results after cleaning up the excess liquid should be satisfactory. However, we would recommend adding some follow-up coats. These coats will make the bumper achieve a higher level of protection from UV rays. Also, it will also make sure that the looks are professional.
Method 2: Use a Heat Gun
Do not want to use any sort of sprays on your vehicle? Well, you got more options! This particular option will draw out the oil of the plastic that is embedded deeper into the surface, which will make the plastic get its looks back. That being said, the steps to follow for this method is as stated:
Step 1: Park Your Car in an Open Area
It is true that the UV rays are the real culprit behind the plastic getting faded. However, an extra one hour of exposure is not going to do much when it comes to fading the plastic even further. Instead, it will help the bumper get a bit heated up, which will help the entire process.
Step 2: Use the Heat Gun
Once the bumper is heated up a bit, get into the car, park it in a shaded area, and get your heat gun out. Power it on and set it at the medium-low temperature level. Here, we are aiming to heat up the plastic. So, if you set the heat to a high level, the plastic will melt, which will not get you anywhere in restoring the looks.
Slowly, apply the heat over the area that is faded. The key step here would be to heat up a small amount of area evenly and then moving to the next one. However, if you hurry the process up, you will not see much improvement in the looks, which is not what you want, right?
Things to Consider for Heating Process
The results of heating up the area with a heat gun will only work if you put a good amount of time and effort into it. It will not offer that much of a fruitful result if you hurry up the heating process up. Also, you need to consider the temperature. Too low will take too much time, and too high will make the plastic melt.
Additionally, this is not a permanent fix. The oil will start to dry out again, and the looks will degrade at some point. And when that happens, you would need to repeat the entire process. However, at one point, there will not be any oil left on the plastic, which will make the process ineffective.
Method 3: Repaint It
If none of the processes mentioned above seems feasible for you, you still have one last option. And that would be to repaint the entire bumper. This has two obvious benefits. One is that the looks will get restored properly in all of the areas. And secondly, the sheen on the bumper will make it look brand new. The steps are:
Step 1: Clean the Whole Bumper
Now, when you are trying to repaint the spot, you would have to repaint the whole bumper, or else the uniformity of the paint will be off. And when the uniformity is off, the whole thing will look odd. Well, before painting the whole thing, you need to ensure that there is no dust or debris on the surface.
If you happen to leave any contaminants, the paint will not look good, which would ruin the overall purpose of repainting the unit in the first place. Use mild soap and water for the cleaning process. You can also use a non-abrasive scrub if you want to. Once the bumper is clean, dry it using a microfiber cloth.
Step 2: Use a 220 Grit Sanding Block
After cleaning the surface, you should use a 220 grit sanding block and sand the surface a bit. The texture you will be left with will make the best touch up paint for cars stick to the surface properly. However, do make sure that you do not exert too much pressure while sanding the surface, or else you might end up damaging it.
Step 3: Apply a Coat of Primer
You now have to apply a coat of primer on the surface. After that, you might have to leave it for about 30 minutes or an hour. Do make sure that the coating is uniform on all of the areas, or the paint will not be uniform.
Step 4: Spray the Paint
Once the primer dries up, you need to apply the coats of the paint. Using a proper spray painting can would be our recommendation in this case. On that note, avoid spraying on the area for a long amount of time. Instead, do multiple thin coats.
Step 5: Spray Clear Primer
Finally, when the paint dries up, you need to apply a coating of clear primer. This will protect the paint from UV rays and lower the rate of degradation. Additionally, it will offer the sheen that most looks for in a newly painted object.
As you can see, learning how to restore faded plastic bumpers is not that hard. All you need to do is go through the three methods we have mentioned above and pick the one that seems feasible to you at the moment and follow the steps accordingly.