If you own a car and if you have taken it to the workshop a few times, you must be aware of the chrome plating on your bumper. This is something most people take for granted in their vehicle, but it is also something that takes a lot of damage and needs constant repairing. If your car has ever been in an accident or collision, the chrome plating on your car’s bumper might need checking out.
What is Chrome Plating on Your Bumper?
Chrome is basically a hard and shiny surface, and also a thin coating that can be applied on top of a metal surface. In cars, chrome plating can be found in the bumper of the vehicle, both at the front and the back.
Chrome plating is also a process of adding a thin layer of chrome or chromium that can be applied to your car’s bumper and other metal surfaces of your vehicle. The process is officially known as electroplating and is usually used on top of a layer of nickel on car bodies.
Chrome plating on bumpers and other parts of your car can get damaged after a collision or an accident, or it can start to peel off with heavy wear and tear. Although it is quite durable and resistant to tarnish, chrome plating on bumpers still needs to be replaced and retouched every now and then.
You might also want to replace the chrome with a new or better color when repairing the car or changing the color of your car.
How to Remove Chrome Plating from Bumper – Different Ways
There are several techniques to follow when you want to remove chrome plating from your car’s bumper, whether you are doing it yourself or you want a professional to do it.
If you are doing this at a workshop or having a professional to do it, they’re going to use special machinery to do it. This machinery is known as an abrasive blaster that is used to basically blast off the chrome plating off the bumper.
It works just like a sandblaster or a bead blaster, which are both machines used to abrade fine-grains or tiny pallets from objects.
Most automobile workshops, auto body shops, and construction companies will have access to an abrasive blaster. Prolonged use of the machine will remove all traces of the chrome plating from your car’s bumper, and also make it clean enough to put another fresh coat over it.
If this machine is being used, it is better to take the help of a professional or an expert to do the job. Otherwise, too much pressure from the machine can end up damaging the metal of your bumper or car.
Another machinery to use would be an ultrasonic cleaner, which is also a kind of special device that can clean away your bumper’s chrome plating. This device uses sound waves to clean off the chrome plating from objects and can be used to also clean delicate machinery and jewelry and to remove dirt or plating from them.
Sometimes, a chemical solution is first used to dissolve the chrome plating from the bumper, i.e. bleach or something similar. This makes the ultrasonic machine easier to use to simply remove the dissolved chrome plating from the bumper.
Ultrasonic sound wave machines come in different sizes and properties, from very small ones to large industrial-use ones. The smaller ones can be used at home and in garages to clean jewelry or small tools, lug-nuts, machineries, etc. but the large ones are more suitable for automobile workshops and factories.
It is also possible to simply dissolve the chrome plating instead of removing it by force using any kind of machine. This is possible both at home or at a professional workshop if you have the right chemicals at hand.
Hydrochloric acid or muriatic acid is a very strong and corrosive acid that can be used for this purpose. When a high concentration is used, this chemical is strong enough to dissolve the chrome plating from your bumpers without harming the car or the underlying metal in any way. However, only a 30% or 40% of the acid solution should be sufficient for the purpose.
⅓ part of hydrochloric acid needs to be mixed with 1 part water in a heavy-duty plastic bucket or something similar, and the chemical produced would be a 30% acid concentration.
Alternatively, it is also possible to purchase a premixed chemical with hydrochloric acid, particularly for this purpose that will have the exact concentration of water and acid. The car bumper needs to be removed from the car and submerged in this concentrated water until the chrome plating starts to strip off.
This might take some time depending on how much chrome plating has been used on the bumper and the thickness of the coating, but also on the quality of the chrome plating itself. When the chrome becomes loose and starts to peel off, the bumper needs to be washed thoroughly with soap and water, and then rinsed off with a piece of cloth before attaching to the car again.
Another chemical to use for this purpose is sodium hydroxide or lye. This chemical can also be used to strip off and remove chrome plating from carbon steel and other metals. Sodium hydroxide can also be used in your car’s bumper to remove the chrome plating on it.
The concentration needed to use sodium hydroxide is different. Since this acid actually reacts very dangerously with water, it needs to be mixed with distilled water so that the mixture doesn’t create flammable hydrogen gas.
This acid concentration requires 8 to 12 ounces of sodium hydroxide with 1 gallon of distilled water mixed in a heavy-duty plastic bucket that can withstand the acid.
The car’s bumper needs to be submerged in the liquid until the chrome plating starts to peel off; at this point, the bumper needs to be washed with soap and water thoroughly and rinsed. Direct contact with the acid or the bumper before it has been washed and rinsed should of course be avoided at any cost.
Finally, if you want to duplicate the entire process at home without having to buy and use industrial-grade chemicals, it is still possible. A homemade abrasion acid can be made to remove chrome plating from your car’s bumper by simply using baking soda and household cleanser.
This homemade solution can definitely help to remove the chrome plating from your car’s bumper without going through a dangerous and risky method.
For this, you need to mix baking soda with any household cleaner and water, to make a homemade abrasion paste. The paste should be used to scrub the car’s bumper with a piece of soft fabric. Gradually, the chrome plating will start to give away and peel off from the bumper.
However, this method will only work with thin and already-peeling chrome plating, instead of new and thickly applied chrome.
Even an oven cleaner can be used to remove thin and weak chrome plating from bumpers, especially if you have a strong oven cleaner at home.
Instead of taking your car or your bumper to a workshop, it is also possible for you to remove the chrome plating by yourself.
If you have the right tools or the right chemicals with you at home, you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to remove the chrome plating from your bumper at a workshop, but instead, do it at home instead.