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How to Repair a Chipped Chrome Bumper – 3 Easy Ways

So you’ve dinged, scratched, or have some unsightly pitting or rusting occurring on your chrome bumper. Gravel, small rocks, salt, and other debris make chrome pretty easy to rust and show signs of wear if not protected.

The good news is there are a few ways to conceal these unsightly imperfections without completely re-chroming or replacing your bumper.

In this blog, I’ll share 3 simple ways to cover (or repair) chipped chrome on your bumper. The same process generally applied to other surfaces like rims as well.

Keep in mind that these are simply suggestions, and proceed at your own risk when attempting any DIY repairs.

How to conceal small chips in chrome

If you have a small chip or two, start with a rust remover and/or polish. 

It obviously won’t replace your chrome, but removing rust can bring your bumper back to life, especially if you’re just dealing with surface rust.

The process of painting over chrome isn’t too complicated, but you will need to clean, degrease, apply primer, as well as a chrome spray product as mentioned in option 3.

Option 1: Try chrome polish with rust remover

A simple product like this chrome polish by Turtle Wax is really all you need for this application.

Turtle Wax Chrome Polish and Rust Remover

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chrome polish and rust remover

To apply, follow these steps:

  • Step One: Make sure the surface is clean and free of debris before applying product.
  • Step Two: Shake well and apply a small amount with an applicator or soft cloth to the affected area.
  • Step 3: Wait until the product is dry and forms a haze on the surface
  • Step 4: Wipe away with a soft cloth and buff to a shine

Option 2: Liquid chrome marker

If you still have imperfections that you couldn’t conceal with option 1, you may want to try applying a Liquid Chrome Marker.

Liquid Chrome Marker

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You can find these on Amazon in a couple of different sizes, and from what I’ve read is the best thing you can use for small nicks here and there.

These are used for writing and model cars, but some people note it does the best job at mimicking the natural reflective surface of chrome.

Chrome is pretty difficult to match perfectly, but this product may be the closest to natural chrome you can get.

Option 3: Chrome Spray Paint

If you have a larger surface, you may want to try a product called Spaz Stix. Spaz Stix is water-based, and meant for RC cars but works well for small chips.

Mirror Chrome Spray Paint

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chrome bumper paint

With any paint that you use, be careful before applying a clear coat on top, since this may actually dull the finish.  Applying chrome paint is somewhat of an art form, so you may want to practice on a spoon or other metal surface before attempting to touch up a spot or two.

There are many chrome paints you can try, like Testers (CS) Chrome Silver that some have said work well also. Chrome paints should be used to only hide imperfections, not for completely re-coating. Just be sure to tape off the affected area and avoid overspraying.

If all else fails…re-plate as a last resort

Re-plating chrome

If all else fails, re-plating your chrome bumper is obviously the best option, but can be expensive depending on the size of your vehicle’s bumper.

Environmental regulations have made it pretty difficult to make chroming super-affordable, but there are still shops out there that can do it. Make sure you research an accredited plating shop and get a few quotes.

Another consideration is the quality of the chrome you are looking to get re-plated. Low-grade chroming is pretty common for automakers these days and re-chroming may not be worth it.

For bumpers, expect to pay around $400 or higher, depending on if you decide to double plate or triple-plate. Triple-plating consists of copper, nickel and chrome and is said to look the best.

Since EPA regulations may make it difficult to find shops that can do this, you may need to mail your bumper to a chrome plater depending on where you live.

Replacing chrome parts

On the other hand, it may be easier to simply replace your bumper altogether. eBay Motors is notorious for having a great new and pre-owned parts selection and Amazon’s Automotive Parts and Accessories section makes it easy to look up chrome replacement parts based on your vehicle’s make and model.

Mimicking chrome with tape

Probably the easiest method I’ve heard about (and used personally for an old winter beater) is chrome tape. You can pick up a roll of automotive-grade chrome tape for under 10 bucks that works pretty well for concealing imperfections on trim pieces.

Chrome tape auto repair

I’ve used it on a couple of headlight trim pieces where I didn’t feel like trying to re-paint or touch up the area.

Painting over chrome with another color

Another option that you can attempt (at your own risk) is to paint on top of your chrome bumper in a different color, like a matte black or another color.

I would highly advise having a body shop do this for you, but if you have an older model vehicle there are some DIY tutorials I’ve found. This video details the entire process for a bumper:

You can also refer to this DIY article for everything you need to know about prepping chrome bumper for paint.

Conclusion

Replacing chrome is ideal for smaller pieces like door handles or grills (assuming you can find parts).

Many automakers are doing away with chrome altogether in favor of other materials to avoid rusting or pitting, so just make sure the surface is actually chrome and not polished stainless steel.

How to protect your chrome

Water is the ultimate culprit for why chrome rusts, so applying a protective barrier like a good high-quality wax can help prevent water from eventually pitting and rusting.

You can use carnauba wax if you already have it, but a good sealant is probably the most effective method for protecting against rust.

A cool product made by Chemical Guys called Jetseal that was designed for the aerospace industry to prevent corrosion that I have heard works wonders.

Jetseal Anti-Corrosion Sealant

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jetseal chrome sealer

You can read up on the entire process here if you are looking to keep your chrome looking great for as long as possible.

You may also want to check out an article I wrote on fixing and preventing rock chips if your paint is taking a beating as well, especially for trucks, SUVs, or larger vehicles.

Have any other tips or suggestions that have worked for you for hiding chips or blemishes in chrome? Leave a comment below!

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Baxter Overman is the founder of Carwash Country and has been been cleaning up dirty vehicles for nearly 20 years. Since 2017, he's helped thousands of beginners see better results by learning the fundamentals of washing and detailing. He's on a mission to make the car wash process more fun...and way easier.

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