For the original story, go to PopularMechanics.com
We've all been there --hastily putting the car in reverse, failing to check the blind spot, and cringing at the crunch of bumper meeting barricade. The resulting dents used to mean a quick trip to the auto parts store for some cheap body filler and a can of spray paint, but plastic bumper parts require an entirely different arsenal of products. Instead of the old sheetmetal bumper exteriors, modern cars hide the metal bumper under a plastic fascia in hopes that minor abrasions might pop out more easily. But if your car meets the sharp edge of a 2-foot parking barrier, the semi-flexible plastic can easily rip, bend, or break.
Fortunately for your bruised bumper, plastic repair and refinishing materials are widely available and reasonably simple to use. Fixing damaged plastic bumpers involves grinding, sanding, sculpting, and painting, but it's worth the effort for repairs that would cost less than your deductible.