You are not alone. Deciding on whether to repair or replace a faulty car fender is usually a real hassle for most of us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s talk about it.
The car fender (also known by the British as the wing) is the part that frames the wheel well. They are located on both sides of the front and rear wheels and tyre assemblies of the car. When a vehicle is in motion, its rotating tyre picks up elements (like sand, mud, pebbles, liquids, and so on) from the road and throws them backward. The primary function of the fender is to keep these particles from being thrown at other road users—it fends off the dirt.
Apart from its primary purpose, it serves other vital functions. It shields the car engine from contact with corrosive elements like water encountered during its daily ride. Fenders are so designed that wind slides sideways, improving the car’s aerodynamics.
Thanks to the massive developments in the aftermarket industry, custom fenders are now widely available and have become an aesthetic feature for vehicles. The fender shouldn't be confused with the bumper. Although they sound somewhat alike, they are distinct car parts.
Types and Importance of Car Fenders
There are three types of car fenders, and these are:
● The front fender or front quarter panels: This is the panel located on the sides of each of the front wheels. They typically cover the sides of the headlight to the hinge of the front doors.
● The rear fender or rear quarter panel: This is the panel located on the sides of each rear wheel. They extend from the close of the rear doors towards the edge of the taillights.
● The inner panel: This is the type of fender just above the wheel; it is not usually visible.
What Are Car Fenders Made Of?
The early car fenders were mostly made of steel, but technology has changed a lot since. Other materials like aluminium, thermoplastic, and fibreglass have now been adopted.
Of all the materials used in making fenders, steel offers the highest rigidity and resistance to abrasion. Steel has less tendency to dent but more prone to corrosion than the other materials. Compared with steel, aluminium is lighter and resistant to corrosion. Thermoplastics are corrosion and chemical-damage free but are less rigid in terms of collisions. The fibreglass is a lightweight material with outstanding muscle—the perfect material, you may say.
Can You Repair a Car Fender at Home?
It depends on the severity of the dent on the fender, but I'll put you through some easy ways to do minor car fender repairs at home.
• Using a hairdryer and compressed air
Use a hairdryer or a heat gun (whichever is available) to heat the dented area. As the heat expands the body panel, try to push out the dent. Once you’ve pulled the dent out, freeze the panel with compressed air. This option works best on plastic fenders with shallow cuts and scratches but may also work on metal panels.
• Using hot water
This is mainly for plastic panels as plastic tends to react more readily to heat. Pour freshly boiled water over the damaged area to soften the plastic. Then from behind the panel, push out the dent. You'll find this to be very effective on deep cuts. However, the final appearance may differ slightly from its original form.
Is It Better to Repair a Car Fender or Replace It with a New One?
Some car fender dents are better replaced than fixed, especially when the damage is massive, and the structure of your car has been compromised somehow. Usually, major car fender repair would take too long that in the long run, it is less expensive just to order a new part.
Ultimately, I’ll suggest you seek the advice of an experienced technician on repair versus replacement based on the severity of the damage.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Car Fender?
A car fender replacement could cost from $20 to $900 depending on the type, year, and model of your vehicle. Auto body shops could charge around $70 to $150 per hour apart from painting charges if there is a need for it.
Count yourself lucky since I am in the business of saving you money. So, I’m going to teach you how to install your fender. It honestly isn’t a herculean task, if you’re eager enough to learn and ready for some elbow grease.
Basic tools you’ll need:
● Replacement fender
● Ratchet set
● 1/4-inch drill bit
● Goggles and nose mask
Step 1: Unbolt the bumper cover from your car, then uninstall damaged fender.
Step 2: Disconnect the headlights using pliers.
Step 3: Place the replacement fender on the side of your car to mark out the positions of the support bolts on your fender.
Step 4: Wearing goggles and nose mask, neatly drill ¼-inch-wide holes on the marked spots on your fenders.
Step 5: Bolt the fender unto the side of your car. Make sure it doesn’t obstruct the proper functioning of the door or hood. If it does, adjust the fender.
Step 6: Re-install headlights and use a ratchet to tighten all bolts.
So there you have it – ways to save on both car fender repair and replacement with DIY-install how-to.
Don't mention it, you're welcome! If you’ve decided to replace the car fender, then you definitely need one that’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg. Let me tell you a quick way to locate the best value-for-money car fender replacement. You can visit Carpart.com.au or check out websites with a car part locator. Fill out some form to request for a car fender – there are unlimited options for both new and used replacement parts. At Carpart, you’ll find a vast resource and no doubt wonder why you haven’t visited it before and take advantage of its handy tools. Get started now!
By Damilare Olasinde