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Car DIY 101: A Beaten Up Viva Bumper

Viva culprit

(The innocent looking fellow down there is the culprit for the damaged Viva bumper – sorry, in reality I was the culprit but that fellow did considerable damage)

The second car in the house have been my wife trusted workhorse for her to go to the market, clinic and sometimes to her sisters’ house whilst I am at work. It becomes even more critical whenever I am away overseas. On the weekends, I often use it to go to the nearby shop – namely because I am lazy to take out my car and it is easier to park the smaller car.

It is also more economical for short drives. But we rarely use it for long distance drive – my bigger capacity, roomier and better safety equipped car plays that role very heavily. Further, with a baby at tow, we need all the boot space we need and the smaller capacity car does not make the cut for 2 adults and 2 kids.

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Having said that, I must also remark that my wife’s car over the years have taken considerable beatings. From broken back window twice (both occasion by grass cutters) to rear-ended by a van first time (no where to run, the guy stopped and we settled the damage in cash) and a motorcyclist the second time (this idiot ran away after rear ending the car in a no-motorcycle area).

There was also an occasion in the beginning when my wife misjudged the distance and ram into our front gate (there was some damage to the car and the gate). Other than that, there has not been any other problem with the car especially when we have taking it for its regular service on time.

It does need a good wash though but I leave it to the “owner” to decide when to bring it for a car-wash (unlike me, my wife does not do a DIY car wash at home).

Then last week, I took the car to purchase some sundry items – my wife and my kids were in the car too. When we can back, I noticed my neighbour had parked his car on the other side of the road, so there was more space for us to park the car nearer to the shade of a tree in the front house – since my wife usually don’t take the car out on the weekdays, it could take more shade from the battering sun (an unwashed car under the hot sun looks even worse).

My wife got down and was opening the gate when I decided to reverse the car and parked the car even closer to the tree. Then I figured that I might have parked it too close to the tree and decided to reverse and park it again. That is when I heard something ripping the front bumper.

My wife came out and looked at the car in horror but gave no clue as to what had happened. It was my mistake too of not coming out from the car to check. Somehow I knew that I had damaged the front bumper but I had to act like nothing had happened (ya, macho talk) so I continued to reverse (more ripping sound in the background) and stopped after I had re-parked the car.

damaged bumper after manual set

(What’s wrong with this picture? Despite my best effort, the bumper did not set in well – I still need to get the fasteners, otherwise the bumper would just fall off when there is another knock the next time)

My wife was rather speechless when I came out from the car – the left side of the bumper has been peeled out (a few fasteners missing) but thanks to the fasteners in the middle and right side of the bumper remains intact, the bumper did not fall out. The bottom of the bumper (left side) have been ripped out.

There seems to be some joints at the bumper so when I push the bumper back, it somehow attached itself. But I know it was a temporary measure – the bumper would not hold on for long. It was too late for me to go to the workshop to get the bumper fixed – that had to wait for the next day.

My earlier plan was to go to a workshop and get the bumper fixed as how I have done in the past but the more I think about it and after I had inspected the damage, it seemed I could “repair” the bumper by myself – I just need to get the right fasteners and adjust the front fixtures that holds the bumper in place.

I took the car out early the next morning – first stop is the 4D shop – there is a car spare part shop couple of shop lots away where I can try to source for the fasteners. And if that fails, there are a quite number of workshops in the neighbourhood – one I am sure can fix the bumper for a price.

When I parked the car, I inspected the bumper again – the “quick fix” yesterday did not work – the bumper was out of place again.

Missing fasteners

(There were other places where the fasteners were missing and I had not noticed this before – no wonder the bumper would often vibrates hard when we press the car to go faster)


(RM1.20 per piece – I am not sure if I paid high for something that suppose to be cheap but I figured between me paying for this and a hefty amount to some workshop fellow who will rip me off even more with imaginary damage, I rather stick to this. I bought about 10 pieces which was a good thing because I realized that I could use it on my car. It was missing a couple of fasteners too)

The uncle at the spare part shop took a look at the damaged fasteners and said they don’t have the parts. Disappointed I was about to walk away when a younger assistant came around and checked the fasteners and told the uncle that they had the parts.

He went in and took a set for me to check – it was the same length. It was not exactly cheap – it was RM1.20 per piece but I understood why and since it was far cheaper than sending to a workshop and getting the same work done for at least RM50 – RM60.

Satisfied that I got the right fasteners for the bumper, I head home. I took out my car from the porch and drove my wife’s car in. After a bit of clean-up, I reattached the missing fasteners and set the bumper back on its place. Then I checked for any other missing fasteners and noticed 2 were missing at the bottom where the bumper attaches to the metal structure.

That took some effort to jack up the car and realign the metal sheet to the fasteners’ entry holes. The bumper looked firm after I took it for a “dry run” before handling it over to my wife who was kind of satisfied on the quality of the DIY job on the bumper but she mentioned that I was careless with her car in the first place.

I have no further argument to that! But I need to be more careful in future – I am not sure if the car can take another beating.

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