Essential Things You Should Know in Maintaining the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Fender
From botched parking jobs to corrosion, the fenders of your Chevrolet Silverado 1500 have a lot of enemies. But care and regular maintenance can go a long way in keeping these problems at bay. In this guide, you'll find some essential tips and little-known tricks to keep the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 fender at its best.
- Use the right products in washing the fenders.
For starters, stick to car shampoo. While it is cheaper to use dish soap or other cleaning products you have lying around, these are not meant for cleaning the fenders. In fact, some of these products may even strip the fender's protective finish, exposing it further to fading and damage. You can use a sponge or a soft-bristled brush to apply the shampoo, as these will not leave scratch marks on the fender.
Applying car wax is just as important as washing the fenders. Aside from making the fender surfaces shinier, car wax also helps repel stains, dirt, and moisture. Some wax products may even have UV-blocking compounds that protect the fender against fading due to constant exposure to the sun.
- Don't park the truck in the open overnight.
Leaving your truck outside will expose it to rain, snow, bug and bird stains, vandals, and, in the case of parking at the side of the street, body damage caused by swiping against other vehicles. So keep the truck inside a covered garage or if that is not possible, at least enclose it in a high quality car cover every night.
- Use a plunger to pop out minor dents.
Dents on the fender can be quite obvious and expensive to repair, but if the extent of the dent is minimal and did not penetrate beyond the finish, you can try popping it back into place using an ordinary bathroom plunger. Simply press the plunger against the dent and once the suction is engaged, pull until the fender pops back into its original form. You can also heat up the dented surface first with hot water or a hair dryer to make the fender more malleable.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Fender Buyer's Guide
- The fender is a panel that covers and houses the wheel.
- It protects the wheel and metal components from debris and direct exposure to elements.
- Fenders are usually made of steel or plastic.
- These can be classified into two according to its location: front quarter panels and rear fender panels.
- Chevy Silverado 1500 fenders cost anywhere between $470 - $1,700
- Replacing damaged fenders help you avoid corrosion and tire damage, prevent further expenses from rusted metal parts, and preserves the resale value of your vehicle.
Bearing pure American engineering and design, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has had numerous accolades throughout the years. In fact, J.D. Powers named it as the most dependable heavy-duty pickup truck three years ago, while Kelly Blue Book recognized it as the full-size truck with the best resale value in 2018. All these credits point directly to Chevrolet’s continuous development and enhancements.
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 sports muscular contours that are part of its aggressive fascia. The headlights, grille, and bumper worked great in making the truck look menacing but let’s not forget about the panel that houses and protects its set of huge wheels—the fender.
What is a fender?
The fender, also known as quarter panel, is the panel found on the four corners of a vehicle. In a truck, the rear fenders span the length of the bed, protecting the wheel from harmful debris. In addition, it also keeps metal components from water and direct exposure to sunlight. Earlier cars are equipped with steel fenders, while modern cars feature non-ferrous materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, or aluminum.
Your Chevrolet Silverado 1500, as well as any vehicle, has four fenders surrounding the frame. These areas are categorized as the front and rear quarter—each has a driver and passenger side.
Front quarter panels are made up of the front driver and front passenger fenders. Aside from protecting the wheels, these panels also house the outer end of the headlights. It spans from the headlight to the tip of the A-pillar and front door.
Rear fender panels, or bedside panels for pickup trucks, are the largest side panels on the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. It spans from the cab all the way to the corner of the tailgate, basically a third of the truck’s entire side profile.
What are the different fender materials?
If you’re in the market for OE replacement fenders, you’re most likely to end up choosing between steel and plastic. Although there are other materials used for fenders, these two are the most common.
Steel fenders are the most durable and damage-proof of the two. Its rigidity made it the choice for off-road drivers, as it can protect the wheels from large rocks and tree trunks better than plastic fenders. However, steel in itself is heavy and it could slightly affect the power-to-weight ratio.
Plastic fenders can withstand chemical attacks, meaning oxidation wouldn’t be a problem. Steel rusts while plastic remains smooth unless scratched or hit by sharp and heavy objects. Although plastic isn’t as strong as steel, it is substantially lighter. In addition, dents on plastic surfaces can easily be fixed.
What to consider when buying an OE replacement fender
Before you make any purchase, you need to be certain about which location the damaged fender belongs to—this applies to any part you wish to replace. The four corners of your truck are the front driver, front passenger, rear driver, and rear passenger. If you’re facing the front end of your truck, the driver side will be to your right, and the passenger side is the one to your left (reverse this if you’re sitting inside the cabin).
Apart from location, you may also specify the quantity, as OE replacement fenders are sold individually, as kits, or in sets. Kits include complementing parts like headlights, while sets comprise of pairs.
Choosing the right fit and OE replacement cost
Since there are three generations of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, there are at least three designs of fender panels; one for each. You also need to note that there are facelifts in between generations which might contribute to more designs.
To find the right OE replacement fender, use the filter tab in the website’s search field and indicate the year, make, and model of your truck. But typically, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 fenders cost anywhere between $470 and $1,700.
The importance of replacing a damaged fender
Being involved in a fender-bender is the perfect reason to replace a fender. Damaged fenders pose huge risks to both the wheel and metal components connecting it to the axle shaft. If the damage involves an opening such as a crack, water or other elements can enter and introduce corrosion to metal parts. If the rust worsens over time, the parts that are affected may eventually fail, causing you more money and problems.
Another reason to replace a damaged fender is to preserve your truck’s perceived resale value. Cracked, rusted, or beaten fenders spoil your car’s appeal—not to mention that it also indicates possible damages behind the panel. This is not good if you’re planning to sell your truck to upgrade to a newer-generation model so make sure to address a beaten fender as soon as possible.
Three Key Tips You Can Use When Replacing the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Fender
Whether it's caused by a traffic mishap or a bad case of corrosion, replacing a damaged fender on your Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is something you shouldn't put off. Aside from being an integral part of your truck's exterior, the fenders also keep the vehicle aerodynamic and shield the engine bay, wheel, and wheel well from road debris that are kicked up while driving at high speeds. So once one or both of the fenders are gone, it must be replaced as soon as possible.
Installing a new Chevrolet Silverado 1500 fender can be daunting for first timers, but the process is pretty straightforward. Here are some tips to make the process easier:
Tip #1: Unhook the battery cables.
Detaching the old fender will also require removal of headlights and other electrical components, so it is best to disconnect the negative battery cable beforehand to prevent electric shock. For the same reason, the ignition and start switch should also be on the off position, and all electrical loads must be turned off before handling any electrical component in your vehicle.
Tip #2: Loosen the trim pieces with adhesive remover.
The trim pieces surrounding the fender can be difficult to remove on its own as they are secured in place by industrial-grade adhesive backing. Instead, apply commercial adhesive remover first onto the trim before attempting to pry it off. The adhesive remover should be able to soften the adhesive enough for you to pull out the trim without bending it. You can also use the same technique with lacquer thinner, although you will need to be extra careful as it may strip the paint off the fender and adjacent body panels.
Tip#3: Check the fit along the hood rails.
A new fender is rarely a perfect fit without resorting to some degree of alterations along the way. And one way you can gauge the fit of the fender on your truck is through the hood rails. The hood rails are where the hood rests when closed and on which top of the fender will be bolted onto, so getting a correct fit in this area is essential to prevent the fender edge from blocking the hood from closing and ensuring a weather-proof seal of the engine bay and the wheel well area.