How to fix my car

#1

I had a minor fender bender on my 98 Honda Civic LX. The hood is bent and dented. The grille and bumper are cracked so now to save some money I would like to fix it myself but I don’t know how to take the bumper off for starters. So, if you can give some advice on how I can fix it myself.

Thanks…Al

#2

The best thing you can do is crawl under the car and start looking at the points where the bumper and body meet. Jack it up and crawl under there. You’ll have to just spend some time working on it, you may have to remove the headlights and other pieces to get to the fasteners that are holding the bumper shell.

If your bumper shell is badly cracked, the actual bumper underneath (usually a hunk of metal or ABS plastic with some foam coating) may be damaged as well, and depending on how it’s attached, you may want to replace it as well.

I would remove all of the damaged pieces, take stock of what you need, then start hitting up the junkyards.

#3

This Sounds Like More Than A Minor Fender Bender!
I don’t know to what degree you want to fix this thing, but you’ve mentioned hudreds of dollars in damage, so far.

Before you start tinkering with the front bumper, you’ll need to disconnect the battery and follow proper precautions to avoid setting off airbags and doing even more damage.

#4

Sounds like a bit more than a fender bender. I agree with mr josh . . . but you had better be careful, sounds like you’re not an experienced bodyman and cars, like all machines have no conscience. You can get hurt pretty bad crawling under a car, pushing and pulling on body parts. Make sure you put it on jackstands, disconnect the battery, use care with all tools, especially power tools.

Now . . . to the problem. If it were ME, I’d go to the junkyard FIRST, look for a model like yours, price the items you think you’ll need, and then remove them from the junkyard car (or watch while the yard guy removes the parts). You’ll be learning more than you expected to and you will practice on a junk car. Rocketman

#5

If you’re talking about the bumper cover - the painted wraparound over the actual bumper assembly, you might get your best clues about how it attaches by either going to a junkyard and looking at a free-standing replacement or buying a new, prepainted bumper cover and looking at how it attaches.

Being that you’re looking at replacing the bumper cover, grille, and possibly trying to do some aligning of the hood once you bang it out, you may or may not be able to entirely get through this without actual repair instructions. But none of it is rocket science. Both the bumper cover and grille are likely held on by very cheap and readily available clips and nuts and bolts.

While not an endorsement, here is a link to an online seller of your bumper cover via amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Front-Bumper-Cover-96-98-Honda/dp/B0012S5H0M

Cheap stuff but you’ll have to ask about color match and there are many other possible sources, including OEM.

While you have the bumper cover off, look at the actual bumper rail for damage. Since things go toward the engine during even minor collisions, check the integrity and position of the radiator while you have the grille out. You can always get professional help with whatever part is beyond what you can do yourself. Before and during reassembly, be sure to check the fit of the hood and how well the hood latch(es) seat into the latch point(s).

Have fun and good luck!

#6

Unless you have hidden damage to the radiator support, radiator, headlight bucket attachment areas or A/C condensor, this repair should be a piece of cake. If you can see one at a salvage yard that has had its bumper cover removed, it will give you lots of clues as to how to proceed. IF they’ll let you watch them remove one for you, so much the better. Some won’t, for insurance reasons. For the most part, it’s clips and some small screws.

Check www.car-part.com for a used bumper cover (hopefully of the right color) in your area. Even if you have to pay some freight, it may be cheaper than having it painted. It will be listed as a “bumper assembly” and will include the styrofoam, bumper shocks, and steel bumper behind the cover. (That’s why they call it a bumper cover…)

Go for it, and good luck.

#7

First things first: Buy a service manual for this car. Haynes will do, but Honda factory is better. The manual will show you where ALL attachment points are for the bumper cover, etc, and list all fasteners.

More importantly, it will tell you how to disarm the airbag, which might be triggered if you start fooling around under the front end. This would ruin your whole day.

#8

as stated by others a service manual would be a great thing to start with, you should also check if there is any damage on components under those plastics.

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