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Inner fender liners protect the wheel well and vehicle body from rust and other forms of damage. On front wheel drive vehicles, the fender liner also acts as a splash shield and prevents water from causing belt slippage when driving in heavy rain or through deep puddles.

They are usually made of thermoplastic or other non-corrosive, flexible, and durable materials. Most vehicles have inner fender liners between each front wheel and the fender. However, in some vehicles, the rear wheels may also have them.

fender liner of a pickup truck
Inner fender liners protect the wheel well and vehicle body from rust and other forms of damage.

In addition to deflecting water and debris, the fender liners also have an aerodynamic function: they prevent wind turbulence beneath the fenders and make it quieter inside the vehicle.

If you’ve done some work that required the removal of the fender liner, it’s best to put that fender liner back in place rather than leaving it out. It’s not that difficult to reinstall it if you haven’t broken the retainers. In many cases, you will need to remove the fender liners to replace parts like shock absorbers or windshield washer reservoirs and/or washer pumps.

But even if you have broken the retainers, you can simply order replacement retainers online on CarParts.com. But remember, one size doesn’t fit all. You need the right ones for your vehicle’s fender liners.

The fender liner is an important piece of protective equipment. Learn when and how to replace it with this helpful guide.

Inner Fender Liner Replacement

Replacing your own fender liners is a relatively easy task that, on average, will only take you around an hour or so. If you’re used to DIY car repair and you’re quick, you can actually do it in 15 minutes.

Make sure to practice safety measures, such as wearing work gloves and closed shoes, when doing any kind of repair on your vehicle. Safety glasses are a good idea, too.

Below are the tools and materials you’ll need, as well as the steps you must follow so you can do your own fender liner replacement:

Materials:

  • Screwdriver and/or nut driver
  • Special tool for removing trim retainers
  • New fender liner
  • New trim retainers (the right ones – there are dozens of types of these). You must also have a knowledge of how the trim retainers on your vehicle work.

Steps:

  1. Turn the steering wheel all the way in one direction to allow better access to the fender liner.
  2. If you have a level driveway (concrete, not asphalt) and a good jack and some jackstands, jack the vehicle up and remove the wheel. That makes the job a lot easier. If you take this route, you can bypass steps 1 and 4.
  3. Remove all the clips and screws from that side of the fender liner.
  4. Turn the steering wheel in the other direction and remove the clips and screws on that side.
  5. Remove the old fender liner carefully.
  6. Test to see if all the mounting holes of the new fender liner line up.
  7. Hold up the new fender liner while reinstalling all the screws and clips to secure it in place.
  8. Replace damaged screws and clips if necessary.
  9. Test the fender liner to make sure it’s properly fastened.
illustration of an inner fender liner
When replacing the inner fender liner, turn the steering wheel all the way in one direction to allow better access to the fender liner.

When to Replace a Fender Liner

It’s time start looking for a fender liner replacement when you observe these signs:

Damaged wheel well, fender, or internal components

Wheel wells and fenders are prone to damage in collisions. In the event of accidents that deform the wheel well and its internal components and panels, it’s important to replace the inner fender liner.

Worn, cracked, or chipped inner fender liner

Note: fender liners don’t generally get chipped. They’re designed to give when they’re hit by something that would otherwise chip them.

The fender liner’s location is not the only factor that contributes to its susceptibility to damage. Its material affects its durability as well.

Older vehicles and antique models have inner fender liners made of metal like aluminum or steel. Such inner fender liners are susceptible to rust and ideally must be replaced with ones that are made of non-corrosive materials.

Meanwhile, modern vehicles are typically equipped with ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) plastic or thermoplastic inner fender liners. This reduces their risk of getting damaged due to corrosion.

ABS plastic boasts strong resistance to heat, scratches, and impact, and is quite inexpensive. However, it is susceptible to wear with continuous use and is not entirely chemical-resistant.

Meanwhile, thermoplastic is a variety of polymer that can be melted and recast. This material is known for its corrosion- and chemical-resistant properties. It’s also a good insulator and doesn’t chip away easily as it’s quite flexible. The only downside to thermoplastic is that it is reactive to temperature changes. It softens in heat and gets brittle in cold.

Inner fender liners, especially those made of thermoplastics, have a tendency to fail during winter. They might chip, crack, or even form holes as a result of road debris and other substances being flung about inside the wheel well. If your inner fender liner forms visible cracks or comes off suddenly, it might be time to get a replacement.

Before trying to repair or replace your fender liner, you need to check both your fender liner and wheel well for damage and corrosion. This preliminary assessment will help you estimate the fender liner repair cost. Also, make sure you have new retainers (the right type and size) on hand for your new fender liner.

If the damage to your fender liner has gone unaddressed for a long time, rust and other damage may have already begun to form. Avoid unexpected expenses by determining the extent of the damage beforehand.

If in doubt, always consult your mechanic because they will be able to guide you on how to remove a fender liner. They will also be able to help you assess the situation if you’re not so sure about the extent of the damage.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Fender Liner?

Prices for replacement inner fender liners range from less than a dollar for a single unit and up to $730 for a set of four. Replacement fender liner costs largely depend on the part’s compatibility with your vehicle’s year, make, and model.

Other factors include brand, material, quantity, and location.

Do You Need a Fender Liner?

The simple answer is yes, you need a fender liner. A vehicle’s undercarriage has a lot of moving parts, as well as electrical and metal components. These parts include the wheel well, headlight circuitry, and transmission components, among others. However, if you chose to remove all your fender liners and drive the car that way, you’re not likely to crash as a result, but it’s better to have them installed than to not have them.

The wheel well, in particular, is quite prone to corrosion due to its location. If these components come into contact with corrosive, foreign substances and debris, their individual function may be affected, which can diminish the vehicle’s overall performance.

The inner fender liner’s purpose is to keep moisture and debris from entering the engine bay. It protects the wiring and other electronic components from water damage. It also keeps rocks, pebbles, and other debris from getting inside and interfering with your vehicle’s inner workings.

If the issue of a damaged inner fender liner remains unaddressed, it can lead to more serious and expensive repairs in the long run.

Products Mentioned in this Guide

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic.

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Katie Franko

O4 ford For expodition:a/c condenser repair

daniel johnson

how to replace driver side finder on 2003 dodge ram 1500 regular cab

Adrian Mcdonald

Goodmorning, can someone tell me how much clips and screws do i need to put on a fender liner for a honda accord 2012 cu2, and the type of clips i would need?

Shana Hanson

I have a 2016 Chevy Cruze and it only has 38,000 miles on it. I bought it brand new in 2016, it has been to the dealership mechanic 12 different times now and every time it has gone into the shop it was throwing the code P015B. The mechanics have replaced the O2 sensor 3 times, they have also replaced the valve cover, they also have updated the computer several times now, they also have replaced the computer system, and they also have replaced a few other sensors but nothing has solved the problem. Every time that they supposedly fixed it, after a few months of driving my car it will throw the same code again. The last time that the dealership shop had it they had called the engineer and they told them to tell me that it is not getting hot enough and that I needed to take it out and get it up to speed for 20 minutes twice a week and supposedly that will solve the issues, but it didn’t because once again it threw the code again. So what else could be the problem or what else can I do to solve the problem.

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