A few months ago, someone with a distinct lack of ability in navigating car parks gave the Outback a blow to the face. My wife was out at the shops and returned to the car to find this big mark on the front bumper cover. When she got home, I took a good look at it and, in addition to seeing a big crack, discovered the cover was hanging a bit loose, owing to what I surmised was probably a couple of broken clips.
After doing what I could to polish out the scuffs (which worked pretty well, actually), I finally decided last week to try and take the cover off and make an attempt at rehanging it correctly. Clips were available on eBay for about £8, so if I had to buy a couple, it wasn’t going to be a big deal.
Taking the bumper cover off on these Outbacks is easy, actually. There are a few of those push-style trim clips along the bottom and holding the grille in place, and once you’ve removed those, there are two fasteners behind the front wheel arches. Undo those, and the cover will pull right off.
It turns out that the clips were fine, and the problem was actually the bracket underneath the nearside headlamp. The angle of the hit had forced the bracket up and out of alignment, as you can see below. I decided to remove it and take a hammer to it to try to beat it back into shape, using the offside bracket as a guide. The two places the bracket is fastened to, on the radiator support and another bracket coming off the upper engine frame, were slightly bent as well, but with a big set of pliers, I managed to straighten them out a little too.
The result, as you can see below, is not perfect, but is vastly better than it was before. I could do with taking it off again and trying to align it a little better, particularly as the cover is meant to clip on to a tab on top of the bracket, but tends to pop off again whenever I drive the car. But for now, I’m pretty satisfied with what I managed to achieve with just a couple hours’ work.