Help! Dented Rear Bumper — to Repair or Not?

Hi all,

I’ve got a 2016 Toyota Corolla Hybrid that I stupidly backed into a small wooden pillar that I didn’t see while parking. It’s my first car ever, and I know nothing about bumper damages and panel beaters and the like. A few questions:

  1. Should I repair the damage immediately, or leave it as it is? I’m happy to drive with a dent, but am worried about further damage and/or loss of resale value.

  2. If I repair the bumper, what are some reputable panel beaters in Melbourne?

  3. I have comprehensive car insurance, with a $650 excess. At what price point would it make sense to start claiming for insurance? (I imagine at least $1,300?)

Here are photos of the damage.

Thanks for your help in advance!


  • +11

    Hope someone rear ends you.

    Honestly wait a few more years for more scratches then get a big repair

    • Thanks, that does seem like the best thing to do.

      Out of curiosity, what do you think about these reasons to repair bumper damages upon “the smallest sign of damage”?

      Here are our top reasons why it is crucial to get your bumper repaired immediately, after even the smallest sign of damage:

      Even if you’ve just been in an accident and you’re not at fault, with damaged bumpers your insurance company will not cover any physical damage to your vehicle the next time you have an accident, whether you’re at fault or not. Unless you repair your damaged bumpers, your insurance company may drop damage coverage for your vehicle.

      Something else the insurance company may do is only pay out part of the claim, covering only new damage, if the old damage had not been repaired. It makes the most sense to repair any existing damage as soon as it occurs, rather than run the risk of the same area being damaged again in the future, potentially worsening any further damage that may arise.

      Even though the damage to your bumper may seem small, unless it is repaired now it could cause worse damage in a future accident. The next time your car is involved in an accident it may debilitate your vehicle enough to make it not roadworthy because it wasn’t protected properly. It is much wiser to pay less now – fix the bumper at a fair price – rather than risk the possibility of more expensive repairs later.

      Potential for Further Damage
      A bumper is designed for one purpose: to limit the impact damage to the actual car. They do their job well, but once a bumper is damaged it cannot protect the body of your car as well as it did before. Looking from the outside, any impact to a bumper may seem to be surface damage, but what lies beneath may be more serious in the long term.

      It’s hard to see any further damage that a dented bumper may cause to your vehicle, however, there are many complications a broken bumper may cause internally. For example, a cracked bumper may allow water to access the internal structure and cause corrosion. This potentially long-term damage can be defended against only if the bumper is fully restored.

      Bumpers are fitted to cars to make impacts safer. Without them, any collision could be impacting the metal chassis itself. Even if you have the tiniest of collisions that have damaged your bumper, it is vital you get it repaired as soon as possible.

      Sometimes the damage will be hidden from view, and that’s why it’s crucial to take your vehicle in for an inspection and repair at the smallest sign of damage. Perhaps you weren’t involved in the accident yourself, and maybe someone collided with your parked vehicle when you weren’t there? In any case, it is extremely important to have fully intact bumpers – front and rear – otherwise they will not be able to protect you the next time an accident occurs.

      The author of the article is from a panel beater company, so they obviously have a vested interest. Taking that into account, do you reckon there’s still a solid argument somewhere in there?

      • +4

        Only if the bumper is damaged in regards to crumpled, has holes in it or is falling apart.

        You bumper is plastic and the photo's show the paint adherence to the plastic has gone due to the plastic distorting when you hit the pillar. The plastic appears to have gone back to it's original shape, so it's not going to cause the police to pull you over.

        The insurance companies will only repair your car for the area that you claim on, so if you get hit in the side they will not fix the rear bumper.

    • Hahah this.

      Bought my car about 8 years ago, accidentally reversed into a short wooden pole at a park / hiking trail car park a few months after purchasing it.

      Got rear ended a few years later…

      My damage was light, took off the paint but didn't degrade any further up until the rear end.
      Also tried getting a little tube of car paint (from the dealership) to patch in the interim but ended up looking bad…

  • It'll buff out.

    Try a mobile bumper repairer, Google for one in your area, it shouldn't cost that much to fix.

    This one maybe?

  • +2

    No reversing sensors? Bit weird for a 2016 car.

    I wouldn't claim this against your insurance. A new bumper (assuming once again, no reversing sensors) would be about $700

    • No reversing sensors indeed. Only a camera that I failed to check while busy looking through my rear windscreen.

      Edit: I assume you meant a beeping alert system of sorts?

    • -1

      Plus another $600 for painting

      • Not necessarily. I've had mine replaced for $600 however this was quite a few years ago.

    • Must be the base model.

      • Comes with a reversing camera though? I'd have thought reversing sensors would be like air-con these days i.e. standard (they weren't 11 years ago when I bought my car)

  • Check that nothing underneath or nearby is damaged. eg number plate lights. If it were me, I would use $10~ of filler and paint to repair myself. The paint may have even come with the car (for scratches etc).

    • Thanks, will do so once it stops pouring buckets.

      • +4

        Check that the actual metal crash absorbing part of the bumper isnt damaged underneath too. That is an important safety part which needs to be replaced if so. Judging by your pictures I assume it is fine though, but best to check.

  • Repair only if it doesn't feel good anymore.

    • The car has been driving normally since the accident.

      Given the comments I’ve seen so far, I’m leaning towards not repairing. Thanks.

  • +3

    It's plastic, so it's not going to rust. You can DIY repair or just get a 2nd hand bumper and put in on.

    • I was mostly worried about water seeping in the cracks and creating rust, so it’s good to know that the bumper is not metal, thanks.

      • +1

        Being plastic, you can help change it back to its original shape by using hot water.

        • +1

          Or a hair dryer

      • You can always use a magnet to test and see if it's steel or not.

    • +1

      Corolla bumpers have been plastic for a while now and the way the paint has cracked also indicates it's plastic due to where the paint has cracked compared to where the impact was. Similar to when a car hit the back of my Corolla in that the paint cracked at the top, but the impact was near the number plate.

    • -1

      I think the second photo shows the inside looks like sheet metal?

      i dunno, but do test if its plastic man.

  • I would do a DIY repair

  • +3

    Just leave it. It will look worse if you have no idea what you are doing (which appears to be the case)

    Use your camera next time.

    • You forgot that you need to look at the screen when reversing as the Corrolla automatically shows the reverse camera on the screen, but Op did not do this…..

      • No. You engage reverse gear. Check the camera for obstacles. Then reverse back like a real driver should and not a baby tech reliant dumb d!ck driver.

        • +2

          No First engage brain then…..

          • @AndyC1: That's very true.

          • @AndyC1: Heh I deserved that.

            I’m used to looking through the windows instead of relying on the camera, but this pillar was too low for me to see through the rear windscreen.

            Gotta remember to use the tech when it’s there to be used.

            • -1


              looking through the windows instead of relying on the camera

              (facepalm)… their usage is not mutually exclusive… gotta use both…

  • I have the same car, with the same but not as bad damage. Not quite as big of a hit though. Been like that for 4 years

    • -1

      Wanna trade?

      • Didn't neg you :-/ when it first happened i wanted to get it fixed. Then I looked at a couple of other marks on it and figured I'd just roll with it and then if it gets more banged up I dont care!

  • +1

    Look on eBay/wreckers every week and you'll eventually find a replacement in the same colour. That will be by far the cheapest 'good' repair. Even if you don't intend to fit it immediately if one comes up at a good price i'd buy it and store it if you can - gives you peace of mind should you ever want to sell it.

    • Good idea! Will start snooping around, thanks.

  • it will eventually become a bigger problem, once the combination of sun and water get their way

  • Find a wrecker who has your car with the bumper in decent condition.
    Might cost under your excess to completely replace it.

  • +3

    Just leave it till you get more damage to it. It's only plastic and as long as the metal bar behind it isn't damaged you should be ok. It will just mean you will have a reminder about your moving pillar. In terms of a repair it will cost at least $500 to $800 to so a patch and repaint. Do it if it's bothering you, but no doubt the day you get it fixed, someone will run into it for you in the shopping parking lot and not leave a note. Or even try having a go at fixing it yourself if your handy or find a wreckers bumper, but that one is likely not to be same colour or have it's own scratches and dints. The joys of car ownership

  • +1

    Lucky it wasn't a kid

    Take more care from now on

  • +1

    Leave it. It is a signal for other people to stay away. You don't want to be the person that rear ends you, ending up costing a bit more than expected.

  • If you claim on your insurance then you need to factor in your premium increases as well as the excess. And if you shop around for insurance every renewal date, and change Insurance companies, then you will have to declare the claim. I don't want to put ideas into your head, but:-

  • I'm thinking the cost of repair would be about the same as your excess on a claim, so go to a repair shop or three and at least get a quote. They know this and will want your business so you may be able to bargain for a little less.

    If you do indeed get rear-ended but the damage is clearly away from that, having to deal with explaining the other damage or getting a partial payout or even having your policy canceled is not worth the hassle. Another thing is that the existing damage may be there for a while which can build up grime and bits of tree and dirt inside the paint split, which will give away that it's old declared damage.

    Also, when you start a policy (or renew an existing one, I assume) it always asks you if there's any existing damage on the vehicle. If you said no, but now there is, then wouldn't that now need to be disclosed to them so they can alter your policy accordingly?

  • Search. FB for this guy. He does onsite repairs in Melb.
    “Scratchfix. Your mobile dent and scratch repairer.”
    You can message him via FB and send some pics and he will give you a quote. I have no affiliation other than using him a few times. Fair priced and does very good work.

  • Duct tape it

    • Chicken tape!

  • If it was a Camry, it would probably add to the resale value :)

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