What Does a Ready-to-Paint Steel Bumper Really Mean?

While the term “ready-to-paint steel bumper” seems self-explanatory, each bumper manufacturer has their own idea about what this term means. For some, ready-to-paint means “bare metal.” For others, it means a swirl-free paint surface that’s ready to be primed.

Here’s what ready-to-paint means when you buy a bumper from Throttle Down Kustoms. We believe it’s an important thing to look for when you are shopping steel bumpers. (More on that here.)

Steel ready to paint bumper

Is It Ready-to-Paint, Or Just Bare Steel That Needs Prep?

Many steel bumper manufacturers sell bare steel bumpers. Typically, these bumpers are marketed as ready-to-paint. Unfortunately, a lot of ready-to-paint steel bumpers:

  • Have visible swirl marks
  • Have surface rust or etching from contamination
  • Are dirty enough to need a tedious cleaning

If you order a bumper like this expecting it to be ready to paint, you’ll be disappointed. A steel bumper with these problems often needs several hours of sanding and scrubbing. This can get expensive if you’re paying your local paint and body shop to do the work, as they often charge $50 to $100 per hour for this type of work. A “cheap” bare steel bumper can quickly become very expensive.

At TDK, we sell actual ready-to-paint bumpers. They’re sanded smooth, cleaned thoroughly, and then shrinkwrapped for shipment. We do this work ourselves because we’re the best ones to do it – we know how to do the prep work quickly and efficiently, we have the space and tools, and so on. When you order one of our bumpers in a bare, ready to paint finish, you get a bumper that your paint and body shop can just prime and paint.

Benefits Of Buying A Ready-To-Paint Bumper

Many people say that the best finish for a steel bumper is powder coat. While there’s merit to this idea (we powder coat more than half the bumpers we sell), paint has a couple of key advantages:

  • Paint is easier to customize. Want your steel bumper to match your truck’s trim or body color? If it’s powder coat, that’s a difficult trick to pull off. If it’s just paint? No problem.
  • Paint is easier to fix. Powder coating is applied electrostatically and then cured in an oven. While that makes the coating pretty rugged, it can be chipped by rocks, minor bumper contact, etc. Once it’s chipped, you can’t really repair it. All you can do is paint over the damaged area.

If you’re looking for color and coating ideas for your bumper, you can draw some inspiration from the customer installation pictures in our gallery. Some people match the paint color of their truck. Others prefer to do a contrasting color to give their truck a custom look.

White truck bumper We’re loving the white-on-white look.

Whatever you decide, if you go with a ready-to-paint bumper, make sure it’s actually ready to paint. Too often, they aren’t.

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