Been looking for replacement bumper cover for Mercedes. Prices are all over the place. Seems to be different manufacturers but can there be that many companies making these covers? I don't normally buy these parts so how do I know which is high quality and not overpriced?
I would not buy an aftermarket cover for a Mercedes, because, like you, I don't know if any of them are any good. I'd bet that almost all of them have some kind of issue with fit, finish, primer quality, etc.
Problem with non OEM bumpers is that you could have two bumpers from the same company and the fit will be completely different. Many of the bumpers for Mercedes, BMW etc, are actually recycled OEM's, that have been repaired. Usually they will take two bumpers and make one. Often times they don't fit. Too narrow, too wide, etc. etc. German stuf with close tolerences you need to spend the money and get OEM or used if you can find one.
Only other option out there to mention is the bumper recycler places themselves. They basically get all the damaged bumpers from bodyshops, inventory & store what is worth repairing, & chop up the rest. When an order comes in, they pull the part & it goes through the repair process.
I know this from getting different unrepaired cores from a local place over the years & initially getting shown some of the procedures. Many have very minor damages & hot air plastic welding , which is the cheapest procedure material wise, is also the strongest. Personally, at our last local place, they didn't get into chopping 2 bumpers into 1 sort of thing, mostly rip& tab repair on decent cores. Was possible if asked to view part before repairs.
Of course these sort of shops are few & far between.
Other than that, check online for actual true Mercedes dealership parts stores & pay the price.
Just to mention, I dealt with someone directly off an e-bay ad (Todd?) that was a friend of the owner of a place called 5 star airbags.com. He was helping sell some of a bunch of odd shipments of parts they got in from places. In early 2016, I got 4 ea 2016 Camaro auxiliary led running lights, no issues I could find, that were matched up with led drivers with Mercedes part numbers. Said they had a crapload of Mercedes stuff. Hmmm?
I do a lot of bumpers, It's 90% of my work. I can tell you that the aftermarket
ones have come a long way, they are much better now than they were 25 yrs ago.
Most I get fit really well, no matter where I get them.
I suppose part of this is what's expected as far as fit and finish. It's true that aftermarkets are better now than they were, except I have had a couple of them where the primer decided to peel off and had to be redone. That's actually the worst part to me, and the reason I won't use them anymore.
Update: ordered one off eBay. When it arrived I compared it to the original. Looked exactly the same. Said made in Taiwan. Red scuffed the black primer, sealed with epoxy, based, and let sit overnight before clearing the next day. When I put it on everything lined up including the fit next to the fenders. I was able to adjust here and there and all gaps come out right.
I always try to repair oem bumper but if i hsve too or customer whats an aftermarket bumper ok whatever is your car not my lol,,some cheap bumpers crack really easy on winter and the tabs break really easy also...,,
But if it has black primer already i do the rag test first since some of those bumpers/primer has some really cheap primer the will give you problems down the road i always try to look for new bare plastic bumpers when i need one.
Gotta disagree with you Crash My Mom made me eat my Spinach and other veggies that I hated when I was a kid, kinda like the Insurance Co.s make us use the aftermarket covers. Didn't like it (veggies) then and don't like them (bc's) now.
The cover being replaced was beyond repair. Pieces broken were gone, huge cracks everywhere. The original was a hard plastic.The replacement seemed to be equal in quality to what was being replaced. It was done for a friend so ins not involved. It surprised me that everything fit good.
Sorry if we are picking on you, @elwood . Aftermarket covers have their place, they're just a very sore spot for shops that do collision repairs. The insurance companies have been forcing this stuff down our throats for years now, on increasingly newer vehicles. It's extremely aggravating!
On a customer pay job, as long as they are aware of the potential risks, then they can be an acceptable value.
No offense taken. I normally don't paint bumper covers so I didn't know what to look for and to stay away from. Always willing to learn something new. Getting one of these covers not knowing anything anything about them is like drawing a number out of a hat. You've got what you've got. I appreciate all the input here. I learn something new here everyday.