Home » Something is Eating All The Silver 2004-2009 Toyota Prius Bumpers

Something is Eating All The Silver 2004-2009 Toyota Prius Bumpers

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When I took stock of my smoked-in, catless, misfiring, 2009 Toyota Prius, I figured “Ah, whatever bumps and bruises I can easily find junkyard parts for, it’s a super common car.” Yet after a month of arduous online searching, I can confidently say I was wrong. Toyota sold more than 1,192,000 2004-2009 Priuses, with about 750,000 of them going to the United States.

And yet, I can’t find one goddamn silver front bumper cover. I have been searching for a month. I greatly underestimated how hard this is.

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Listen, I had pretty low expectations out of a $900 Prius, that I saw listed haphazardly with one blurry photo and a two-sentence description in the middle of the night. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how much “car” was there.

Yes, it had holes in the front seats from where the previous owner would chain smoke on breaks and seemingly ash his cigarettes directly into the cushions. And yes, I knew that the previous owner had cut off the catalytic converter to sell after he deemed the gas engine “not worth replacing” after doing zero diagnostic work. It misfired like hell, complete with a flashing check engine light. But, like Chip and Joanna Gaines, I could see the car had good bones.

I noticed the West Virginia inspection sticker, meaning it hadn’t spent its life in Ohio where the roads are coated in salt brine from as early as Halloween and sometimes as late as mid-April. This example had no visible rust, these cars are getting up there in age, and examples that have lived in Ohio typically have their rocker panels and rear wheel arches that start to show some bubbling and corrosion. Mine doesn’t have that.

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It does have, however, some minor dings, dents, and scrapes, common with a not-so-cared-for 207,000-mile car. Most of them are ignorable and not worth my time fixing, except for the front bumper. It has a huge dent, the lower grille insert is missing, and it’s barely hanging on one side.

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On any other car, I’d probably just pop the dent out as best as I could, then rehang the bumper. 

Here though, that’s not an option. The bumper is ripped very close to the passenger side mounting tabs, to the point where it will be a royal pain (and out of my skillset) to repair.

“Eh, I’ll just budget an extra $80 for a good-condition used OEM bumper cover. I mean, it’s a silver Prius, junkyards are probably full of ‘em,” I mused. I was going to eat those words.

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I thought I had everything in my favor, but I can’t find a silver Prius bumper cover (with fog lamp holes) within a 250-mile radius of Columbus, Ohio. 

Let’s also take a moment to realize how hard it is to find silver Prius bumpers, specifically. I can’t say ALL Prii of that generation are silver, but come on. It’s fair to say the vast majority of them probably are. That’s the color that comes to mind when you think of this car, isn’t it? Or maybe that weird seafoam green. But this is like not being able to find a red Ferrari bumper anywhere. It’s baffling.

I started out with my local Pick-N-Pull, which had a 2006 facelift car that I could harvest parts from. The body was all intact, except the front bumper – which was an unpainted, black aftermarket unit. Also, it didn’t have fog lamps. 

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“Okay, whatever, usually the cars that go to Pick-N-Pull weren’t in great shape in the first place,” I rationalized away, that the black front bumper was just a symptom of a poorly treated Prius, and wasn’t in any way, shape, or form, indicative of a trend that was abducting all of the silver Toyota Prius front bumper covers.Next, I tried eBay -surely there’d be plenty of used OEM bumpers. Nope! The site had plenty of unpainted aftermarket options, and a few used ones in red, blue, or that mid-2000s seafoam green, but no silver. Well, technically the site had one used unit with fog lights, but it’s $574, with another $275 with shipping. No thanks, that’s more than I’ve paid in parts to get the car running and safe to drive.

That wasn’t going to work, so I went on CarPart.com and did a database search for all of its linked junk and salvage yards. In a 250-mile radius, there were zero, used silver front bumper covers. I know Columbus might not be the most cosmopolitan town compared to some of y’all big city slickers, but a 250-mile radius would include Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Louisville, and even crossing over into Toronto. 

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No junkyard had one. I even called some of my local yards that aren’t listed on Car-Part, for them to respond with a dejected “Sorry man, we ain’t got no Priuses on the yard right now.”

Down, but not out, I turned my attention to Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. See, there are a hell of a lot of Prius enthusiasts who literally trawl the apps all day in search of broken Priuses to fix up or part out. Sure enough, there were two sellers near me advertising 2004-2009 Prius parts.

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Neither of them had silver front bumpers. 

“Oh, the silver front bumpers always go first,” said one of the sellers. I was both gobsmacked and awestruck. Toyota didn’t really update that Prius generation too much through its five-year lifespan, and I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of Priuses sold here were the same Millenium Silver Metallic shade that my car wore. 

What fucking dark magic entity was out there in the cosmos, coalescing all of the Prius bumpers? 

I’m sure some of y’all are reading, screaming at your computer and phone screens “Just buy an aftermarket bumper!”

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I hate aftermarket bumpers. They never fit right and will need to be painted. Since painting, prepping, and color matching a body panel like this is out of my skillset, I’d have to send it out to be painted. If it isn’t color-matched correctly, or if the sizing is ever-so-slightly off like the case with many aftermarket body parts, the Prius could actually end up looking worse than when I started. 

So, for now, I’m relegated to watching Car-Part, Pick-N-Pull, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace with great intent. It’s got to the point where I’m asking other car friends in Atlanta, D.C., and Chicago that if they see a silver Prius bumper for sale, I’d make the hours-long drive to harvest the piece of plastic and put it on my car. I just want to know, what on earth (or in hell, I guess) is devouring all of the Millenium Silver Toyota Prius front bumper covers?

Maybe I should perform a seance to find out.

In the meantime, if you have one, get at me in the apps.

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John Welsh
John Welsh
1 year ago

I have brought many Gen2 Prius back from Ohio Salvage status back to being Rebuilt and roadworthy.
Over the years I have bought many used front (and rear) bumper covers. Car-part is a great resource. I think you might be looking wrongly over there though. If you search car-part for Bumper Cover (front), you will find very few. But, if you search Bumper Assembly (front) I come up with choices in Kenton, Grove City, Circleville, etc. Expect that what you find will be less than perfect but even with imperfections it will look correct on your less than perfect 200+k Prius.

Color: ’04 & ’05 Prius is one silver and ’06-’09 is a different silver. You have a 2009. The difference is not huge, but its different. If you have to, a black or magnetic grey bumper cover wouldn’t look horrible on your car.

Fogs: all bumper covers leave the factory the same, pre built to accept fogs. . If you have the fog option you gain lenses rather than cover blanks. Since you have fogs, you can swap the lenses over to a non-fog bumper cover if your lenses are still good. In one of my projects, it was a fog light car and the lenses were destroyed. All I could find at the time was a non-fog cover so the net result was the car no longer had fogs. There are cheap aftermarket fog lamp kits, for the factory location, on various websites if you need lenses. Don’t limit your search to just a Bumper Assembly (front) with fogs.

Resources: On car-part you will find Toledo Core Supply. They are a Prius dismantler but the unique thing is all the cars/parts are indoors, in an old 3 story industrial building that can be seen from I-75 but nothing about the building gives a clue that there are Prius inside. As you search Facebook you will find a guy in Ravenna, OH, that is a Prius Dismantler. Randy is a good guy.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
1 year ago

I suggest pointing your Prius to the nearest junkyard and sending it off to the Great Pasture in the Sky…

Eggsalad
Eggsalad
1 year ago

G2 Prius are in a bad spot right now, some are getting close to beater status and maybe people don’t want to spend $2500 on a battery, it’s a tough call. I sold mine when the battery got weak, so I dodge the bullet

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 year ago

Vehicles like this are the perfect opportunity to practice repairs. Plastic welder and a heat gun—you can’t make it worse, anyway. If you can’t get it to work (that plastic does look pretty thin, so that would be a trickier repair depending on how much play there is in where it clips in), do the zip tie method several others have mentioned. Not only would it still look excellent for a $900 car, but it’s a Prius and nobody would notice or care.

John Welsh
John Welsh
1 year ago

Someone tipped me off to your post. In Sandusky, Ohio area, I have owned 7 Prius and most of them were salvage cars that I put back on the road. Much of this is detailed over at GRM: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/today-i-bought-a-used-prius/123642/page1/

Over the years I have bought many used front (and rear) bumper covers. Car-part is a great resource. I think you might be looking wrongly over there though. If you search car-part for Bumper Cover (front), you will find very few. But, if you search Bumper Assembly (front) I come up with choices in Kenton, Grove City, Circleville, etc. Expect that what you find will be less than perfect but even with imperfections it will look correct on your less than perfect 200+k Prius.

Color: ’04 & ’05 Prius is one silver and ’06-’09 is a different silver. I’m not sure which you have. The difference is not huge, but its different. Resource: http://importarchive.com/toyota/prius/2004-2009/paint. If you have to, a black or magnetic grey bumper cover wouldn’t look horrible on your car.

Fogs: all bumper covers leave the factory the same. If you have the fog option you gain lenses rather than cover blanks. Since you have fogs, you can swap the lenses over to a non-fog bumper cover if your lenses are still good. In one of my projects, it was a fog light car and the lenses were destroyed. All I could find at the time was a non-fog cover so the net result was the car no longer had fogs.

Resources: Toledo Core Supply is a cool place. They are a Prius dismantler but the unique thing is all the cars/parts are indoors, in an old 3 story industrial building that can be seen from I-75 but nothing about the building gives a clue that there are Prius inside.
Randy is a great guy: https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/934778320842544?hoisted=false&ref=search&referral_code=null&referral_story_type=post&tracking=browse_serp%3Ad672502f-75e8-4dc7-8e91-92730599ab53

Scott Ashley
Scott Ashley
1 year ago

For a few dollars you can get matching paint in a can. It would be a cinch to spray the bumper before it is mounted. Put some clear on after and buff a bit. It would look better than what you showed with out too much work.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

I am not getting on “the apps” because Elmo can eat my ass. (And probably would if I was a ruzzian oligarch.)

ARichner in Milesburg, PA. LOTS available. Stock B21-E286, E31-RW300, B27-E89, E16-C257, Z5-PK01, Z5-WW304 – just to name the silvers. http://www.arichnersautoparts.com/
I’m pretty fucking sure they’re literally buying every single Prius that hits Copart.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

And Kevin, to answer your “WHAT?! HOW THE FUCK?!”
Milesburg, PA is 214 miles from Cleveland, and about 300 miles from Columbus.

Andy Jensen
Andy Jensen
1 year ago

I had a 2007 in millenium silver as a daily driver for 10 years, that also ended up with a trashed front bumper. I can 100% confirm, both bumper covers are the same. In fact, both grilles are the same too. My base model had dummy grille-look things where the fog lights would have been. I unbolted those, and bolted in a cheapo fog light kit found on eBay.
I eventually gave up looking, bought a can of millennium silver, $30 worth of HF spray tools, and figured it out thanks to YouTube. Surface prep, primer, and light layers are key. Looked good enough that someone paid more than it was worth in 2021.
Good luck with the search.
Also, because I’m an idiot and can’t leave anything alone, I upgraded the suspension. Pro tip: don’t do that.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 year ago

Get whatever color you can find and tell the gullible that it’s the special Harlequin Edition.

Joe Bass
Joe Bass
1 year ago

So, I did the same thing not long ago looking for a 2013 silver RAV4 bumper. Found one at The Bumper Shop right in my backyard of Collinsville, OK. Dude has bumpers shipped in from all over the U.S. and deals in nothing but bumpers. He might have one.

The Bumper Shop
(918) 371-2399

https://g.co/kgs/vJoPUf

Delta 88
Delta 88
1 year ago

As the owner of a 37 year old Oldsmobile, I can really appreciate an article as a thinly veiled “I’ve exhausted all my options to find this one stupid part that I know exists please god someone help me”

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
1 year ago
Reply to  Delta 88

As the owner of a 50 year old Oldsmobile, I second that.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
1 year ago

Bah. It’s patina. Just leave it.

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
1 year ago

Two (almost) words for you: VW Harlekin.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
1 year ago

On a $900 car, I would ‘fix’ that with some silver duct tape.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
1 year ago

Yeah, I was really confused by buying a sub 1G car and then worrying this much about aesthetics.

This is like being super peeved you can’t find the original color laces for your Goodwill New Balance yard work sneakers with the flappy heels.

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
1 year ago

Yeah, I suspect you and everyone else can’t find one because these cars are the automotive equivalent of Keith Richards. They. will. not. die.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
1 year ago

My LKQ pick a part has two 2005 Priuses, one gold and one red. Both have bumpers worse than yours. Sorry.

Oh shit, they have a 2001 BMW e46 sedan with Xenon headlights. BRB.

Tacofan
Tacofan
1 year ago

Just drill some small holes in the bumper and the body and stitch that up with some zip ties. For bonus points, paint the zip ties silver to match. That front bumper doesn’t look THAT bad.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
1 year ago
Reply to  Tacofan

Just find some silver duct tape to color match.

Paul Brogger
Paul Brogger
1 year ago
Reply to  Tacofan

Harbor Freight sells an 80-watt iron in a plastic welding kit
(https://www.harborfreight.com/80-watt-iron-plastic-welding-kit-60662.html)
I’ve never done a bumper cover, but I have fixed my Walker Bay dinghy and a roto-molded kayak.
Practice on a junk bumper.

Paul Brogger
Paul Brogger
1 year ago
Reply to  Tacofan

. . . or use the zip-tie stitches and veer toward a cosplay Frankenstein’s monster look?

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 year ago
Reply to  Tacofan

This is the correct answer. Make the old one work no matter what crazy thing you have to do to it.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
1 year ago

Maybe there are so many aftermarket options *because* there are few OEM options? Which means these things must be in high demand (ie, they’re all broken or already on cars). And who worries about color-matching a $900 car? Embrace your multi-colored future of replacement parts.

Kevin McCraw
Kevin McCraw
1 year ago

for used parts, I’ve always sworn by https://www.car-part.com—this is NOT the new car site with a similar name—I even found a silver one!

Kevin McCraw
Kevin McCraw
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin McCraw

goddammit! https://car-part.com and I apologize for adding the em dash that screwed everything up

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin McCraw

Look closely! I’ve seen a couple silver ones on that site that

– aren’t actually there when you call to confirm
– are horribly dented. Car-Part says a yard in town has one, but its dented even worse in the same place mine is.
– aren’t the right color. Another yard in Toledo, (I think) says it’s silver, but it’s actually gold.

FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Williams

Oh man, that reminds me of the time I drove two states away to go pick up a Miata hood that car-part said was in A0 condition, waited around for an hour because the only guy running the place had fucked off to do some errands even though it was their business hours, took a weird ride with a sketchy stranger in the junkyard’s beat-to-hell Jeep down to where this supposedly pristine hood was, only to discover that it was just completely and utterly trashed beyond all repair. I mean, what the fuck? Waste of both of our time. Guy seemed to give no shits one way or the other.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
1 year ago

The Toyota bumper issue is because they use Prius’ to push the Camrys off the assembly line. Like giving a newborn a little slap on the corner of the butt.

Chi_spotting
Chi_spotting
1 year ago

I’ll take “Where do Camry dents come from?” for $500 Alex!

Unclewolverine
Unclewolverine
1 year ago

Early 2000s toyota you say? Just lean in hard and go full fast and furious! Buy the cheapest, most ill fitting 5 piece body kit you can find, slap that baby on there as is, (unpainted,) put on an APC fart can polished glass pack, and top it off with a bunch of scare stickers for parts you don’t own. Boom! Early 2000s scene car!

Brummbaer
Brummbaer
1 year ago

Pardon the personal attack, but you sir are a whiner. Why are you limiting your search to 250 miles? As a matter of fact, you seem awfully disheartened that the magic of the internet won’t solve all your problems. You yourself present several options and then proceed to shoot them down one by one. For god’s sake pick one and follow up.

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
1 year ago

hard to find cause the majority of them are still puttering around all trying to get at the same handful of bumpers to replace their own from the few that weren’t totaled/wrecked in a car accident on their daily commute into the office.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 year ago

If you’re finding them without fog lights, remember that cutting fog light holes is almost always dead simple. Well worth trying if you’re finding bumper skins in the $80 range.

Or peel off the old one and learn how to fix it. Crudely stitched plastic is more than fine for a $900 car. It’s good experience, and it’s not like you’re going to break it more.

Stryker_T
Stryker_T
1 year ago

or since this is 2000s Toyota, I’d be shocked if the fog like covers don’t just pop off or the whole grill assembly just pops off and the one with them just replaces the non-fog ones.

Subarado
Subarado
1 year ago
Reply to  Stryker_T

As the former owner of a 2006 Prius, I can confirm this is true. My car didn’t have fog lights, but a well-placed collision with a piece of debris revealed that there were empty fog light housings sitting behind the lower grill ends. If a fog-light replacement can’t be sourced, I’m sure you can pull the relevant parts from your current bumper and mix&match.

Flatisflat
Flatisflat
1 year ago

Are the front bumpers (w/ and w/o foglights) otherwise different in design? My guess is that black lower insert is its own separate piece that can be popped out and popped back in on a non-foglight front bumper, right? Maybe? Probably. I’m going with probably.

Kevin Williams
Kevin Williams
1 year ago
Reply to  Flatisflat

1. That’s a good question, the aftermarket replacements all look to have provisions for fog lights, but it looks like the lower grille insert can be optioned with fog lights, or without to cover the holes.

2. It’s a moot point anyway because the bumper cover without the fog lights is equally as rare and expensive.

FUCK YOU
FUCK YOU
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Williams

I say stitch that hanging part back on with some light gray zipties (available $15 for 100 on Amazon) pull the dent out as best you can, and grab a lower grill off a different-colored car. That’ll look 80% as good as a new bumper, and it won’t stand out among all the other minor bumps and scrapes the car has. If you then take an hour or two to polish those headlights back to clear, it’ll look approximately 150% as good as if you just replaced the bumper and left the headlights alone—plus you’ll be able to see better.

If you pull off the wheel well liner, you can probably bury the heads of the zipties back there where they won’t be seen.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 year ago
Reply to  FUCK YOU

Ditto!

That bumper cover is salvageable with zip ties and maybe some hot glue.

Removing the bumper cover and hitting it with some heat will probably be enough to get that dent out.

If there’s a dent in the foam just backfill it with more foam.

Center grill insert is $55 on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Front-Center-Finish-Grille-Toyota/dp/B078Z2BZQV/ref=sr_1_1?content-id=amzn1.sym.5dfba980-229f-416b-a787-ff627e8ff43e%3Aamzn1.sym.5dfba980-229f-416b-a787-ff627e8ff43e&crid=2DBWKDM5YC6RW&keywords=lower+grill&pd_rd_r=0d4cf533-0f6a-4826-a7a5-511ecba914b2&pd_rd_w=DlXHk&pd_rd_wg=wjyuc&pf_rd_p=5dfba980-229f-416b-a787-ff627e8ff43e&pf_rd_r=93P8Q44WPD4DSHEY7XT9&qid=1672174726&s=automotive&sprefix=lower+grill%2Cautomotive%2C187&sr=1-1&ufe=app_do%3Aamzn1.fos.18ed3cb5-28d5-4975-8bc7-93deae8f9840&vehicle=2009-76-1026————&vehicleName=2009+Toyota+Prius

Sure it’s an aftermarket lower grill insert but seriously who cares?! It’s a lower grill insert – not a ^#$&*%^ door.

Boom! Done!

Cal67
Cal67
1 year ago
Reply to  Kevin Williams

https://www.carid.com/2009-toyota-prius-bumpers/replace-front-bumper-cover-1514666644.html

Buy a spray can and hit it with a silver that will be close but likely loose it’s gloss in 1 year. Who cares? It’s a beater.

New part so no worrying about damage you missed seeing in the pictures.

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