Fender Liner Buyer's Guide
- A fender liner refers to the panel that covers the inner wheel well. It protects the internal metal components from water and debris splashes. Fender liners are located between the wheel and the actual fender panel
- Fender liners are made of plastic, steel, or aluminum.
- An individual fender liner typically costs $20 to $440.
Among the most overlooked inside panels of your car are its fender liner, or what other people call inner fender liner. If you think they are useless, you are mistaken because they serve one of the biggest roles in preventing the inner metal parts of your car from rusting. Fender liners block water, mud, and other harmful debris from entering the engine bay. Most fender liners are made up of polyethylene or polypropylene, which are two of the most commonly known thermoplastic variations globally.
Without the fender liners in place, the metal parts of your car will be more vulnerable to corrosion. Fender liners are fastened by plastic clips, tabs, and screws. You can easily detach them from the frame if you ever need to repair or replace them. Make sure to check on them regularly to ensure there are no holes and cracks.
Where is the fender liner located?
You can find the fender liner between the wheel and the actual fender of your car. It is the black piece of panel that you can find covering the inner wheel well. This piece of metal or plastic is designed to be either flexible or durable to handle minor pressures and moderate contacts with the wheel. There are different locations to fit a fender liner, namely front driver and passenger, as well as rear driver and passenger. Also, be keen about the positioning of the OE replacement parts, there are specific fender liners that mount frontward, rearward, upper, lower, or inner.
What are fender liners made of?
The most common material used in producing fender liners is plastic, such as thermoset and thermoplastic, due to its inexpensiveness and ease of production. However, off-road trucks and SUVs are fitted with metal fender liners like steel and aluminum to deflect any rocks thrown by the spinning wheel. Rocks traveling with speeds of at least 40 mph can easily tear through the surface of plastic fender liners. Steel offers superior durability but are known for being heavier compared to aluminum. And although aluminum is less durable than steel, it is resistant to rust, which makes it perfect for river and mud crossings.
Repairing a plastic fender liner
There are different ways on how you can repair your fender liner. Small and minor tear on the panel could be repaired by patching it with another plastic sheet or using a plastic welder. If you happen to have a plastic welder kit, use the right welding rod by referring to the ID symbol marked on your fender liner. If the symbol states PE, it means the material is polyethylene and would require R04 welding rods. If it reads PP, your liner is made of Polypropylene and you need R02 welding rods to fix it. Keep in mind that fender liners are not made to last for a lifetime. Repairing them won’t guarantee that you won’t need to buy a replacement any moment soon.
Knowing when not to repair
Repairing damaged fender liners works fine but you need to know that fixing it excessively results in degradation in overall durability. For example, when steel fender liners start to develop rust and you missed addressing it immediately, buying a replacement part would be your best bet because fixing it is not a viable option anymore. The best thing to do is have an auto body shop install an OE replacement part because it requires cutting and welding jobs.
When it comes to plastic fender liners, welding rods and patches only work for specific damage sizes. Patching major surface tear just to save money will, in fact, cost you more in terms of overall gross profit. Since plastic fender liners are easier to remove, you may replace them yourself if you wish to.
How much is a fender liner?
In case you find yourself in a situation where a repair job isn’t a viable option, buying a worthy OE replacement part is the only and best resort. OE fender liner replacement cost varies widely depending on the make, package, and part inclusions, as well as the material used. OE replacement fender liners come in different packages, such as individual pieces, sets, and kits. Prices for individually sold fender liners are somewhere along the $20 to $440 mark. Sets of two, four, and six are priced at roughly around $40 to $950, while kits that come with the complete front component package are tagged around $80 to $4,600.
Replacing a damaged fender liner
From mud to road debris, there are a lot of elements that may damage the body panels of your car. It's a good thing that fender liners were made to protect it from these harmful things. Located just above the wheels, the fender liner ensures that your car's body panels are free from dirt and moisture, efficiently saving them from corrosion and deformation. Unfortunately, even this simple component is meant to deteriorate. If you've been hearing noises coming from around the fender liner, then it may be time for you to replace it right away. Check out these easy steps:
Difficulty level: Easy
What you'll need:
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Replacement fender liner
Step 1: Find the damaged fender liner that you need to uninstall. Remember the side of your car where it's located because you'll need to raise that side later.
Step 2: Using the floor jack, slowly lift the side of the car where the damaged fender liner is located. Use the jack stands to for further support. Keep in mind that this side should be safely and properly propped up in order for you to work comfortably without any risks of encountering an accident.
Step 3: Remove the wheel using a wrench. Set is aside and place the lug nuts on an organized area to keep them from going missing.
Step 4: Once you've got the wheel removed, you should now be able to effortlessly peek under the damaged fender liner. Inspect its mounting hardware properly to find out the right type of hand tool that you should use to remove it.
Step 5: Take off the bolts one by one to free the damaged fender liner from under the wheel.
Step 6: After you've removed all the bolts, carefully pull the fender liner out from the car and set it aside.
Step 7: Without the old fender liner to block the mounting area, you can now check if this part of your car's body is in good condition. Make sure that it's free from corrosion and dirt before you mount the new fender liner over it. Keep in mind that installing a new liner over a corroded mounting area is useless. It may even cause bigger damage to your car's body panels or frame.
Step 8: Put the replacement fender liner over the area where you removed the old one.
Step 9: Fasten its bolts back into place to secure the new fender liner. Make sure that you tighten up each of the bolts properly. The last thing you want is for the liner to fall off the car while you're driving.
Step 10: Put the wheels back and reattach its lug nuts. Torque them up according to the manufacturer-recommended specification.
Step 11: Lower your car and double-check if the liner is installed properly. It should fit snuggly around the wheel well.
This easy task may be finished in just 30 minutes. Remember to wear protective equipment to avoid any mishaps.