CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Remove/Replace Bumper - How long does it take

Newbie here.

How long does it take to replace the rear bumper on a 2003 Mazda Tribute?

Many thanks! : )

I don’t know. there is always a screw or bolt hiding some where that seems to take forever to find

If you know what you are doing and have done the job before–not very long at all.

You are probably speaking of the bumper COVER. It’s the plastic part that you can see. It covers the actual bumper bar with a piece of styrofoam in between. I’m guessing you have an estimate from a body shop for a bill you’re going to have to pay that shows more time than you think it should take. Right?

The Mazda Tribute is a clone of the Ford Escape. I never did a Tribute, but an Escape’s rear bumper cover would probably take about 60 to 90 minutes to carefully remove and replace (R&R) without scratching the paint on the rear quarters. Mostly it’s held on with “plastic rivets” that have to have their centers pulled out for removal. Tricky, but not difficult after you break the first one learing how. New ones are available at parts stores. Expensive in packages of three in the “help” section. Cheaper in bags of 25, but you’ll only need a few. The Escape’s bumper covers are often unpainted gray plastic. No fuss, no muss.

I suggest you start by stopping at the dealership parts department and requesting an “exploded view” drawing of the rear bumper installation. Ask bicely and they should be happy to print one for you. I don’t have one for your car, but the drawing will look something like the attached.

http://tijil.org/Scion_Docs/05_tC_Shop_Manuals/Repair%20Info/Repair%20Manual/Exterior-Interior%20Trim/Rear%20Bumper/conponen.pdf

Thanks for the replies, that’s very helpful.
Actually, settling privately with someone who will have a dealer fix it at $90/hr labor - want to have an approximation of time, so we don’t get ripped off.

Ask the dealer for an estimate. It’ll be more accurate than anything we can tell you.

I will say that if I’ve dealt with removing a bumper previously, I can have it off in about 20 minutes, and back on in about 20 minutes. But if I have to swap hardware over from the old one to the new one (oftentimes you keep the old bumper, and just replace the bumper cover, which saves a couple hundred bucks) it will add a good deal of time. Usually bumper covers attach to the bumper. The bumper is held on by 4 bolts, but the cover also attaches to the body work of the car via a certain number of screws/tabs. You remove the screws, then unbolt the bumper, and then put the bumper on the new cover. The bumper is usually attached to the cover by a fairly significant number of push clips and screws, and can often take a long time to transfer over.

I see.
Great advice. I appreciate it - thank you. : )

No problem. BTW, my time estimates were based on no damage to the body or anything the bumper attaches to. If things have to be straightened out or fixed in order to get the bumper to line up right, it can easily add several hours to the job.

Even good body shops don’t charge $95/hr to for this type work. Mine charges about $50/hr.

Dependent on damage underneath it may cost more as they will not know till cover is removed.