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Simple Bumper Repair – Lease Return


No matter where you park or how careful you are , its bound to happen…

I use this car to drive to the train station during the week.  I park it in the most isolated space I can find every day, yet someone was courteous enough to commit a “hit-and-run” on me.

The damage below is a simple paint transfer and small breakthrough on a urethane bumper.   Being a three-stage paint or “tri-coat”, any repair will certainly present a challenge to the shop trying to match the color. (Three-stage = basecoat, pearl or effect coat, and clearcoat)  In addition, the approximate $400 cost to repair is not worth it as this car is a lease.

Fortunately this can be fixed by a professional detailer.

To repair the damage, I used a Makita rotary polisher, but a similar result can be obtained with a Porter Cable polisher.

To start, I used an Orange Lake Country 5.5″ flat pad, and Meguiars M105.  I set the Makita speed to 2 and slowly worked the polish over the paint.  The damage slowly came off, and the bumper was ready for some final polishing.  I used a Porter Cable and a Green pad with some Meguairs M205 for this.  Again, slowly, the light haze left behind from the M105 was removed and a near OEM finish was restored.

To address the area where the paint was broken, I used an Infiniti OEM touch up paint I purchased when I bought the car.  I wasn’t going to attempt to add the pearl, the base white was more than enough for my desired end result.  This is the only damage on the car, and it is much smaller than the allowed size as per the lease.  I slowly let the paint flow into the break.  Don’t “brush” or “wipe”, just let the paint flow from the brush into the break.  As the urethane was black, it took 3 coats of basecoat to cover sufficiently.

End result met my needs.  I’m sure the repair is more than adequate to pass a lease return inspection and save me the potentially large and unnecessary bill.

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10 comments on Simple Bumper Repair – Lease Return

  1. Nice work Justin! Had you gone to a body shop, there’s a good chance it would have been left with heavy wool swirls / holograms, color un-matched, and overspray on various parts of the car…then you would have had to spend time fixing that too. 🙂

    In many cases just a small amount of time with the proper tools, products, and techniques can help significantly improve issues like this without a lot of time or expense.

  2. Adam B says:

    I have a Black Infiniti I keep hearing awful things about Infiniti clearcoat that is a pain to work with and that only ultra fine polishes and pads should be used. I have a moderate amount of swirls in my car, I have plenty of different pads and I have a Porter Cable. Did you run into major problems with the clear coat on this Infiniti?

  3. Justin says:

    Thanks Todd. All true, and this also would have been left at a shop for a few days.

    I fixed this in 30 minutes.

  4. Justin says:

    Adam B,

    I have no specific comments about the Infiniti paint. Nothing unusual or difficult at all unlike Honda and BMW black. This car cleans up easily, and I’ve only polished it twice in the 3 years I have had it.

    Just remember to start with the least abrasive combo and work your way up from there. Something mild like Black foam / 106ff may work to your satisfaction, or you may see the need to go right to the SurBuf / M105. Play around with it and you will find the right combination.

    • Adam B says:

      hmm, interesting, I didn’t think it would really be a problem it’s black and softer I’m sure, but I didn’t think it would be much more difficult than other cars. I just figure, like you said, start light and go heavier until I can figure out which works best. thanks for the insight.

  5. Justin says:

    Clear is clear. 3 parts – clear, reducer, hardener.

    If single stage, yes, black pigments can be of a different hardness. Don’t sweat the color!

  6. Marc says:

    It’s ironic that you say “Nothing unusual or difficult at all unlike Honda and BMW black” when I was just about to ak for your advice about BMW’s “Jet Black”. It appears that someone dried part of the hood of my brother-in-laws brand new 650i convertible with a “rag” and created 2 minimally scratched but visible areas on the hood. What’s your recommendation for correction and regular care of this paint?

  7. Justin says:

    Regular care: Two-bucket method wash and dry with compressed air and/or a CR Sproless. the less you touch this paint the better off you are.

    I always own at least one black car. When I wash, its an EXTREMELY delicate touch wash, rinse with a CR Spotless, and a blow dry with compressed air. Even though the CR Spotles doesnt leave spots behind, Im not going to put a car away wet.

    Correction – Soft pads, the right machine speeds, and the right mix of polishes. Its really all case specific. I like to finish with Menzerna 106ff / 85rd and a rotary on soft paints.

  8. Great money saver Justin.
    Far too often things like this happen and it costs owners potentially thousands of dollars. Spending a little money to save a lot of money can often be the way to go: especially in situations like this. Great article!

  9. Justin says:

    Thanks Marc and Jacob. I’m just finishing a write up now on automotive paint to compliment this.

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