It never fails! You’ve finally purchased your dream – a motorhome! On your first cross-country trip, some “driver” who’s not paying attention backs into it. Of course, this is usually done by the compact automobile and you’ll never really figure out how they didn’t see this monster of a motorhome. All that aside, you now need to find a reputable company that specializes in motorhome bumper repair. Here are some things you should know about what this type of service entails, what to look for in a repair centre, and other important information.
The Basics of Motorhome Bumper Repair
Most of the newer models of motorhomes have plastic bumpers. In fact, almost 95% of all vehicles now have plastic bumpers. Plastic is a little more forgiving if there is a minor collision; however, there are times when you will need to fix a dent, scrape, scratch, smudge, or even a crack. After all, there is a limit as to how much plastic can take!
Many people are not aware that plastic welding exists. It does sound a little strange, doesn’t it? The best part about plastic welding is that it can eliminate the need for replacement parts in many cases. This can result in a significant savings.
Plastic repairs do not have to be limited to just the bumper area. Minor repairs to other areas, such as the trim, can usually be accomplished with plastic welding as well. How is this accomplished? It takes special equipment and a very well trained technician.
The Plastic Welding Process
The plastic repair process first begins with identifying the type of plastic, the extent of the damage, and the best method to bring the damaged part back to its original appearance. With some companies, the latter is one area that often falls short of expectations. However, if done correctly by a trained technician, there should be no evidence of the work completed or of the original damage. Not all damage can be fixed. If there is extensive damage, you may want to consider replacing your bumper.
Once the type of plastic is properly identified, the technician will determine if fixing the damage needs to be accomplished from the front or the rear. Either side of the motorhome plastic bumper is acceptable. The technician will decide which will give him the best access to the damaged area. In some cases, reinforcement welds may be placed on the rear of part, as well as the front, in order to restore the strength of the part.
If there is protective trim or a decorative trim in place, this will need to be removed so there is enough room to work. Damaged motorhome trim areas are usually replaced with an adhesive that will soften with heat treatment. A cold trim that is removed without heating can damage the trim. Once the trim has been heated enough to soften the adhesive, the trim should pull away and it may be re-used after the process is completed.
The next step is to prepare the damaged area to accept a weld. This means removing paint, debris, or plastic material that is inside the crack. Once the area is ready to accept the weld, the technician will use a special welding tool and rod to add material to the damaged area. Even if there is material missing, this type of fix may still be done in most cases.
Once the weld is in place and cool, the area will be prepared for painting. Once this is complete, the technician will perform a final inspection to ensure that there is no further work needed. The plastic component should be a strong as the original and there should be no visible evidence of the work that was done.
Why You Shouldn’t Try Motorhome Bumper and Trim Repair At Home
The welder can be at a temperature as high 700°F. Unless you are very familiar with this type of equipment, you could be setting yourself up for a serious injury. If the repairs aren’t completed correctly, you also can cause additional damage, which could end up costing much more than you originally thought. It’s best to choose the right company and leave this job to the professionals.