The roads are salted in Winter in Slovakia, which means that rust is a common problem for cars. My Suzuki Swift didn’t have much rust, but even so, I did some thorough rust killing a couple of months ago.
There was one area I couldn’t quite reach however, and I wanted to remove the front bumper/fender to get to it. I was terrified at the thought of removing the bumper but it turns out it was an absolute piece of cake. Even if you’re going slowly, it will take you barely 20 minutes to remove it!
So you can benefit from my endeavour, I’ve created some basic instructions for you to remove your Swift’s front bumper as well.
Start by putting the car on ramps, or jacking it up so you can get underneath it. Please don’t cut corners: make sure it’s stable before you get underneath your car.
Undo the 4 bolts circled above (all bumper bolts can be undone with a 10 millimetre socket), then remove the two plastic plugs next to the headlights, circled above. Use a flat-head screwdriver to pop the plastic grommet up, then the whole plug can be removed without damaging it.
Next, slide underneath the car and remove the bolts holding the bottom of the bumper onto the metal frame. There are also a couple of plastic plugs to be removed. Because of rust, you might want to give each bolt a little spray with lubricant.
Next, remove the plugs in front of the front wheels. There is also a screw just above the tyres which the arrow points to in the photo. The plastic there is weak, so put a little oil/lubricant on that screw before you get to it, or it might snap the plastic around it.
These plugs make it easy to remove the bumper, but they are somewhat breakable. To remove them intact, make sure you pry the grommet up (like above) before you try to remove the plug. Then you can simply put them back in, and push down on the grommet.
Once you’ve undone all the bolts and plugs, the bumper needs to be disconnected from a series of clips on each side. It’s very simple, and means you need to life the sides of the bumper up (towards the sky) and forwards. This will allow it to jump off its hooks without damage.
This photo (above) shows the hooks that hold the bumper on, between the headlights and the tyres. This is why you will need to lift the sides of the bumper up and forwards, to disconnect from these three hooks on each side. It’s as easy as it sounds, don’t worry.
To recap: Once you’ve undone the top bolts & plugs, the bottom bolts & plugs, the side screws & plugs, and the side clips, the whole bumper will pop straight off. It’s really very simple, and the designers at Suzuki did a superb job in this respect. If you go slowly, removing the front bumper is a 20 minute job at most.
With the bumper removed, I could finally get at the rust that eluded me when I was under the car last time. There are four horizontal impact beams running across the front of the Swift, and I could see a little rust on them when I was under the car, but I couldn’t reach them. I removed the plastic impact brackets (they’re simply held on by clips) and had a look at what I was missing! Was the rust really that bad?
Hmmm, it turned out that the rust on these impact beams was worse than I thought. The rest of the car is in quite superb condition after my rust killing efforts, but these beams are in quite a bad way.
The rust was starting to become more than basic surface rust; it was starting to eat into the metal and paint was peeling off in big flakes.
I got out the wire brush and spent 20 minutes brushing like mad! The amount of rust flakes and paint that came off was incredible. I had no idea the car had so much rust behind the front bumper. It has been caused by many years of winter road spray from the cars in front of mine.
With all the loose rust removed, it was time to get out a fresh bottle of Loctite Super Rost Killer 7505 and to slap on a couple of very thick layers.
It takes about half an hour to dry, depending on how thick the layer is. I put on one layer, then went back inside for a break. Then I applied another very thick layer and let it dry. I used half a bottle of rust killer on these bars alone!
Once more I was very impressed with Loctite’s rust killer, it really works well and I recommend it to anyone with a rust problem. Loctite don’t sponsor me (they don’t even know I exist) but I love this product of theirs and would gladly recommend it. I’m not sure if you can get it outside of Europe however.
With the last of the rust taken care of, it was time to apply a rust preventer & lubricant. I used Coyote Konkor 101 “mazací a konzervačný olej” which basically translates into lubricating and protective oil. I used 75% of the can underneath the car, paying particular attention to areas which previously had surface rust.
If you have a Suzuki Swift and live in an area where the roads are salted, I strongly recommend taking off your front bumper and having a look at those beams. Even if your car might look rust-free, you might be surprised at how much rust those beams can collect.
In my case however I can now rest easy. After a very educational afternoon I can relax knowing that I’ve taken care of the last of the rust on my Suzuki Swift.
Well, until next winter anyhow…
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