Can You Use Hot Water To Fix a Plastic Bumper Dent?

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plastic bumper dent on a car

Nothing frustrates a car owner more than getting caught in a fender bender. Getting dents on your bumper is one of the most off-putting incidences because it quits the look of your car. If this is bothering you right now, have no fear, we’re here to tell you some good news!

You can use hot water to fix a plastic bumper dent. You can quickly fix any minor dent with hot water and some strategic strength in pulling out the dent to its original place. However, if you’re unskilled and can afford to pay for the fix, it’s advisable going to a reputable car tinsmith to fix the dent.

You no longer have to dread the long drive to the mechanic and the long wait at the repair shop and not to mention the long bill you’ll get at the end of the day.

Please continue reading below to know how we’ve answered more questions for you regarding how to use hot water to fix a plastic bumper dent.

Why Do People Use Hot Water To Fix a Plastic Bumper Dent?

To put it simply, people use hot water to fix a plastic bumper dent since it is a quick fix. When we talk about car maintenance, the first and foremost priority is safety. And that is essentially the reason why it is recommended that you fix any bumps and dents on their cars as soon as possible.

Even if the dent is minor, if left for too long, it can rack up huge numbers on your credit, plus it can elevate structural damage to the car in due time. Not only that, any dings and dents on your car can be a cover for more severe damage underneath.

For example, the structure underneath the bumper could be dented, which can lead to instability and compromise the safety of the vehicle. Using DIY options like pouring hot water over the dent to fix it is popular because it is inexpensive and doesn’t require so many complex pieces of equipment.

Not visiting the mechanic or the repair shop is always a good day because you don’t have to shell out massive amounts on the paint job and the labor costs. However, the hot water technique only works on bumpers made of plastic.

Related: Plastic VS Metal Bumpers

When you pour boiling hot water over plastic, the plastic becomes hot and more malleable. Since thermoplastics can be reshaped easily in this state, it becomes pretty easy for one person to fix the car dent quickly.

How Can you Get the Dent Out Using Hot Water?

After locating where the dent is, follow these steps to fix it using hot water:

  • Keep all your tools ready for use. You will need boiling water in a bucket or a pot and a regular toilet plunger.
  • Carefully pour the hot water on the area with the dent. Make sure that the bumper is made of plastic before you do this.
  • When the surface is still hot, attach the plunger to the area with the dent and start pulling on it.
  • Pull straight away from the dent to suction the indented area.
  • Repeat the process as much as needed until the bumper pops out.

Instead of using the plunger, if possible, you can push the bumper from the inside (with your hand). That’s an even safer and easier way than using the plunger, which may not always make the strong enough vacuum to pull the dent out.

Is It Safe For The Vehicle To Use Hot Water To Fix a Plastic Bumper Dent?

Yes. It is safe to use hot water to fix a plastic bumper dent. Since plastic is malleable when heated, it becomes easier for the plunger to pull out the dent when you pour boiling hot water over it.

However, the size of your dent should be relatively more extensive than the plunger for the technique to work 100%. It is doubtful that a small dent can be fixed with hot water and a plunger because there is not enough room for the plunger’s suction to hold on to.

Sometimes, the technique may result in more minor dents appearing around the indented area instead of the big dent, which is an arguable situation. Some find it better than having a big dent, while others find it more nuisance.

Having said that, if you want a quick fix for your car’s dent, then using this technique is safe to try.

When Should You Use Hot Water To Fix a Plastic Bumper Dent?

Using hot water to remove your car dents is a cost-effective solution. However, as always, it is better to get professional help for heavy machinery and automobiles. But if you find yourself in an annoying fix and want a quick fix for your car dent, you can use the hot water technique to remove the dent.

The dent may likely reappear in due time if the same area is hit again or if you do not adequately fix the dent in the first place. That’s why it is better to go to a professional to get the job done once and for all.

Replacing bumpers can cost more than $1000 in some cases. Repairing the dents can also result in more paint jobs and minor repairs to the bumper, which will also cost money. The hot water technique is ideally used only when you have no choice and are not in the state to pay for professional help.

What Are Some Possible Consequences of Using Hot Water To Fix a Plastic Bumper Dent?

There are a few drawbacks to using hot water to fix a plastic bumper dent, as we mentioned earlier. Even if it is effective and cheap, the cheaper and more accessible alternative can result in an even worse situation than before.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible drawbacks of using hot water to fix dents on a plastic car bumper:

Losing your warranty

Depending on what car you use or how long you have been driving your car since purchase, you may lose your warranty or insurance by causing permanent damage to your car. You can check with your manufacturers what your warranty covers before attempting a DIY fix for your car.

It is time-consuming

Although relatively cheap and easy, using the hot water DIY technique to remove car dents on your bumper can be time-consuming. First, you have to heat the water till it’s boiling. Depending on the size and number of dents on your car, you will need more water.

This technique requires you to keep trying the same steps repeatedly till you are successful. Throughout this process, you may run out of water, so you will have to go back to heat the water once again.

Secondly, the plunger is what is going to pull out the dent. Hence you have to apply a fair amount of elbow grease to get the dent out of your car. Especially if you are a beginner, you’ll take even more time to get things done.

It requires some skills

Simply pulling on the plunger after pouring hot water on your dent will not fix your problems. You need to know where to pull and which direction to pull to affect the technique.

Especially when it comes to automobiles, there are so many complexities that happen underneath the surface that we’re not aware of. Hence, if you are blindly trying to fix it on your own, you might end up creating a bigger problem than it was initially.

It can reduce the quality of the work

Since you’re not working with a professional, it will not be as good as new even if you get the job done. Only a skilled and experienced technician will do the work professionally and give you a high-quality result.

You may improve upon the damage previously there but not make it as good as new. On the other hand, instead of making it better, you may unintentionally cause more damage.

Before you start on such a venture, it is best to stop and ask yourself if you need to do it on your own, if you are willing to take the risks of the drawbacks and if you think you’re capable enough to accomplish the work.


Fixing a dent on a plastic bumper by using hot water is doable, and completely possible. In my opinion, with a little knowledge and watching some youtube videos, anyone can do it. Check the video below, and learn how to do it.

However, if you feel you’re unskilled for this job, I wouldn’t risk. I recommend you go to a car tinsmith and let them fix it for you. Plastic bumper dents aren’t so expensive (if they’re not extremely large) to fix, and they shouldn’t charge you a lot.

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