Are you trying to save money on auto repairs?
Take on your own car repairs, like bumper replacements!
You don’t need to be a mechanic to fix your own car, but you do need experience. A DIY bumper requires intermediate welding skills. If you’re a beginner, familiarize yourself with basic auto welding first.
DIY bumpers require several flat metal pieces; plus, several hours (or even days) of assembly, grinding, laser cutting, and welding. You have to account for your materials and tools. This project is also a time investment.
Buying materials separately is one solution, but bumper kits are another option. Some kits already come with laser cut metal pieces, reducing your time investment.
Are DIY kits the right investment overall?
Let’s break down the costs of supplies to find the answer.
What You Need to Make a Bumper
Let’s start with your materials.
You need the following items to weld a complete bumper:
- Five main steel bumper pieces
- Trim pieces
- Frame mounts
- Clevis hooks
These materials come with every DIY bumper kit. However, you must buy the tools separately.
You’ll need the following welding and grinding tools:
- Cutting wheels
- Grinding wheels
- Angle grinders
- Buffing wheels
- Welding blanket
- Mig welder
Some kit pieces are already pre-cut, so you don’t have to worry about grinding shapes. If you have CNC experience, you could also laser cut your own pieces.
Let’s break down the costs of these supplies.
How Much Does a Mig Welder Cost?
Mig welder prices run the gamut online. Since you’re only welding a bumper, you don’t need anything fancy. You do need a high-quality tool, though.
You can still use a beginner welder for your project. These tools cost under $100 to upwards of $1,000 or more.
A $79 welder should work fine for this project. You can always upgrade to enjoy more features, like gas lens kits and square wave inverters.
Mig welders definitely increase in price. Some advanced welders cost more than $6,000.
Angle Grinders for DIY Bumpers
Like mig welders, angle grinder prices vary, depending on features and advancements. You’ll need an angle grinder to shape your bumper pieces if they’re not pre-cut.
You can find angle grinders for as low as $20. You’ll find a lot of grinders between $50 and $150. Some grinders cost thousands of dollars, but they’re not necessary for a bumper replacement.
Welding Blanket Cost
Welding blankets protect your truck from scratches and debris. You can find these at several outlets, including hardware stores, outdoor retail stores, and online shops.
Prices vary, but most welding blankets range between $20 and $100. Some blankets cost between $300 and $800. Expensive welding blankets have added benefits like super-strength fireproofing.
Cutting wheels are the least inexpensive item on your bumper checklist. Also known as cutoff wheels, these tools help grinders create smooth bumper pieces.
An individual cutting wheel costs as low as $3. You can also buy advanced wheels for $20 per wheel. Cutting wheels are also available in $10 packs of 25.
If your DIY bumper kit comes with laser cut pieces, you won’t need cutting wheels (nor grinders.)
How Much Do Buffing Wheels Cost?
While cutting wheels smooth bumper surfaces, buffing wheels polish pieces to perfection. Buffer wheels give your truck’s bumpers their signature shine.
Buffing wheels are relatively inexpensive too. Some wheels cost as low as $4 per wheel. You can also buy packs of three for $15 to $20.
The price range for one buffer wheel ranges between $8 and $18, with $15 being the average price.
How Much Do DIY Bumper Kits Cost?
DIY bumper kit prices also vary. They can run as low as $300 to over $500.
If you add up the cost of grinding and polishing, bumper kits save a lot of time. Plus, you don’t have to shop for bumper pieces.
DIY bumper kits are also delivered straight to your home. Some companies include free shipping.
Prices also vary by kit type.
There are seven main bumper kits:
- Front Bumper Kit
- Push Bar Bumper Kit
- Standard Rear Bumper Kit
- Offroad bumper (front)
- Offroad bumper (rear)
You can also buy front, offroad, and rear bumper kits with grille add-ons. Grille add-ons are a good deal since grille replacements can cost up to $1,000. However, you can still replace your grille for just $20.
Breaking Down Your Costs
You’ve estimated your costs, so let’s recap.
If you buy your pieces separately (including tools), you’ll pay the following:
- $79 to $100 for a mig welder
- $20 to $15 for a new angle grinder
- $20 to $100 for a welding blanket
- $3 for one cutting wheel ($10 for a pack)
- $4 per buffing wheel ($15 to $20 for a pack)
- $300 to $600 for bumper kits
If you shop around, you could weld a new bumper for under $1,000.
Paying for Your New Bumper
You’ve calculated your costs. Next, it’s time to pay for your new bumper.
While you don’t have to pay a grand, a few hundred dollars for a bumper is still a lot of money. Look for ways to save before paying full price!
Make a shortlist of your favorite DIY bumper kits. Choose the company with the best deal or promotion. You may want to wait for an upcoming sales event too.
If you’re up for it, you can always buy used bumper pieces separately. They’ll need some smoothing and buffering, but used pieces are far less expensive. You can find really cheap ones at junk yards
If you’re welding an expensive bumper, you can take out a small personal loan or put it on your credit card. Some companies have installment plans for large items too.
Your next step is to weld your new DIY bumper. Remember this cost guide as you plan your project. You could buy your parts separately or purchase a DIY bumper kit.
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