The Ford Thunderbird doesn't have much ground clearance, so it’s common for a Thunderbird owner to end up with a broken or cracked bumper cover.
If you find yourself in this situation, you have two options: repair it or replace it. In this article, we’ll help you determine the best course of action.
Why it’s Important to Choose the Right Course of Action
Contrary to popular belief, modern bumper covers are primarily cosmetic. They provide an aesthetic cover for the impact bar. The impact bar provides protection against a minimal to moderate impact.
A bumper cover’s purpose is to:
- Improve the looks of the vehicle
- Improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle
- Minimize the cost of repairs due to a low speed impact (5 mph or less)
An OEM bumper cover is flexible enough that it will spring back into shape after a minor bump. To do this, it is made out of flexible plastic. If your bumper cover gets cracked or a mounting point gets broken, it might look like no big deal. But when you're going down the highway, any crack or loose mounting point lets the cover start fluttering in the wind, because it is flexible. Eventually, the fluttering will loosen or break other mounting points until you have no choice but to remove the cover.
When You Can Get Away With Just Repairing Your Bumper Cover
You can just repair your bumper cover when there’s cosmetic damage that doesn’t affect your bumper cover’s mounting points. Examples of light cosmetic damage include light scratches or small dents that don’t extend to the impact bar.
Keep in mind that if you value your Thunderbird’s appearance, a Ford bumper cover repair job may leave you unsatisfied. It’s hard for a DIYer and most professionals to completely cover up the damage so you can't see the repair. They have to smooth out the bumper, and paint it with the exact same color as the rest of your car. But, the plastic bumper material is soft, so it is difficult to bring to a gloss. If you want a pristine looking bumper, your best bet is to replace it.
When a Replacement is Necessary
A replacement is necessary when your bumper cover is:
- Cracked: Cracks warrant a replacement because they expose the impact bar to dirt, moisture, and road salt. When exposed, the impact bar can rust out over time and that seriously affects its ability to absorb impacts.
- Severely dented: Small dents are usually OK. But severe dents warrant a replacement because mounting points are most likely broken.
- Broken: If any part of the bumper cover is broken, then it needs to be replaced. This even applies to the tabs and clips on the back of the bumper cover. When one of the tabs or clips is broken off or even damaged, then the bumper cover isn’t as securely attached to the impact bar as it should be.
What if You Need to Replace Your Bumper Cover?
Ford bumper cover replacement services can cost a pretty penny at a Ford dealership. If you’re looking to save money and if you have a bit of free time, then you’re better off replacing the bumper cover yourself.
Don’t let the idea of replacing your bumper cover at home intimidate you. It’s a rather simple process as long as you have a few basic tools and a good tutorial. YouTube has some bumper cover replacement tutorials that are pretty easy to follow.
How to Find a Good OEM Replacement Bumper Cover
Ordering a replacement bumper cover is the first step in replacing your bumper cover. If you’re looking for the most value per dollar, find an OEM bumper cover at a discount. At Blue Springs Ford Parts, we sell brand new genuine OEM Ford bumper covers at wholesale prices. It can’t get any better than this. If you have a newer Thunderbird, check out these replacement bumper covers:
- Part No. 1W6Z-17D957-EAA: For 2002-2005 Thunderbirds - Base, Pacific Coast Roadster, and 50th Anniversary Edition
- Part No. 1W6Z-17K835-BAA: For 2002-2005 Thunderbirds - Base, Pacific Coast Roadster, and 50th Anniversary Edition
Do you need further clarification on whether you should repair or replace your bumper cover? Or, do you need assistance selecting the right replacement bumper cover for your Thunderbird? Please feel free to reach out to us.