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Is it a bumper or a bumper cover, and is it really going to cost me $900?!

2005 Honda Civic, 150,000 miles on it. Rear bumper had a problem. Problem got bigger. One day on the freeway, that sucker ripped and I could see it flopping around out of the side view mirror. I pulled over, tried to push it back into the snap-in brackets. No dice; flew off again, this time worse. Tape and fishing line wouldn’t hold it on; the third time, I just ripped it straight down, so that there’s only the rear and side part left – the other side is gone. Ripped it off with my bare hands, so this is just a thin piece of plastic. So – the auto body place tells me it’ll be $900 to replace.

Am I getting hosed, or is this legit?
If I want to do this myself, is this a bumper? A bumper cover? Something else?


Is the structure behind the bumper cover intact? Much of the cost of replacing a bumper cover is painting it…Maybe you could find one at a salvage yard and have a discount auto-paint shop paint it for you…

Was the bumper ever hit? The 5MPH piston system could be damaged and need replacement. You need to inspect it on both sides to make sure it’s OK.

that seems why too high of a price

For a genuine Honda bumper you’re in the ballpark. Aftermarket covers are cheaper and usually fit fine. About an hour to attach, but labor is involved in painting the bumper to match the car. If you can find a salvage yard bumper in the same color and you can live with the scratches and dings on it you could be talking $200. An aftermarket bumper painted and installed was $550 recently for a '00 Camry.

You will easily spend $900 for a painted bumper cover. My daughter was rear ended at a stoplight. Slight divot in the plastic bumper cover. To repair the little gouge and paint a white bumper with clearcoat - $900. Then they noticed that the styrofoam beneath the cover had a dent in it so they replaced that, bringing the bill to $1100. For a new cover installed and painted, $900 is very reasonable.

The cheaper alternative would be a junk yard bumper that matches your car, but they will want to sell you the whole assembly, so it won’t be all that much cheaper.

$900 doesn’t seem out of line at all. Labor is going to be the biggest part of the bill. They don’t come painted so they’ll have to be painted to match.

What I want to know is HOW it fell off in the first place? They don’t usually fall off.

Thanks everyone – all your comments really help me to put it into context – I appreciate your time and expertiese… expertese… however you spell that word!
@Caddyman: yes, the structure is intact.
@jtsanders: I don’t think so, but this is my wife’s car, so while she insists that she never backed into anything, I have my doubts. However, for the sake of marital harmony (and in the absence of any proof) I think I"m going to just let it go.
@mikeinNH: Not sure – wish my wife knew! First we tried duct tape, but that didn’t last and the rip just kept getting bigger and bigger. Then, since we were on the road, I tried fishing line (that was a great fishing trip, too…), but that didn’t last. And the rip got bigger. So, we tried one last time with tape and monofilament, and when that didn’t work a third time, I had had enough: there was no way I was going to drive 300 miles back home with this plastic bumper flopping around. I mean, people on the freeway were gesturing at me, like, “Hey idiot, don’t you know your bumper is flopping around back there?!”

Again, thanks everyone!

I agree that that’s not unreasonable for a professional job.

But if you’re hand there is an option. Stop by the Honda dealer parts department and see if they’ll print you an “exploded view” drawing of the bumper cover installation. You could then order a cover from an aftermarket source Google is your friend), try rattle can spraying it, getting the proper clips from Honda, and installing it yourself. This is a good Saturday DIY project. Rattle cans cannot do a pro quality paint job, but used judiciously they can do a decent job and wil save a ton of cash.

I have trouble with the idea that your wife could have backed into something hard enough to damage the bumper cover mounts without damaging the cover itself.

BTW, if you rattle can it, make sure you first prime it with flex primer, or your paint will flake off when the temperature changes or someone leans on the bumper.

$900 is actually pretty reasonable for the bumper cover itself, the painting to of the bumper cover and the labor to install it. I’ve actually seen the same job for other cars go of upwards of $1500.

Go to and find a bumper cover near you in the same color as the car. I don’t know which Civic you have, or where you are, but I see them for a sedan for as little as $60. I’ve even had bumper assys shipped to me when I couldn’t find one for a BMW M3 locally. If you click on “bumper cover” which is probably all you really need, you may not get any hits. Click on “bumper assembly”. You may have to pay a little extra for the whole thing, but not $900. Putting it on is no big deal. Mostly it’s plastic “rivets” that have a center piece that expands the rivet to fill the hole when it’s pushed into place. If you can’t “open” all of them remaining on your car, Autozone and O’reilly’s have them in their help section for too much money, or in larger packages from behind the counter. They may have to order them from their Dorman catalog.

If you can’t install it yourself, find ANOTHER independent body shop and let them know that this is not an insurance claim and you are paying cash for the job. Everything is negotiable.

Sorry it turned out as such. At the same time why people drive with these rolling hazards with out regards to others is beyond me. Instead of fixing it appropriately they use feeble attempts with clear tape or fishing line???

I am venting, an inconsiderate jerk out there passed me with a flapping bumper in heavy traffic which then fell off. I had to run it over and got a cracked fog light lens in the process.

Could be worse. This past weekend I saw some rocket scientist with a stakebed full of cordwood hit a bump and leave a trail of cut & split hardwood. Thank God nobody was immediately behind him. To his credit, he did pull over and go back and pick up the spill, but it never should have happened in the first place. Someone who delivers cordwood should know enough to secure the load. Someone could have gotten killed.