wheel well rusted

While the warmer temperatures of spring are (hopefully) here to stay in southeastern Pennsylvania, there’s no denying that we had a pretty harsh winter! And more than likely, the harsh weather and road conditions had at least somewhat of a toll on your vehicle. During the winter months, it’s especially common for vehicles to experience rust and corrosion caused by a combination of moisture/precipitation and road salt. Even if you did your best to protect your vehicle from this kind of damage with frequent car washes and parking inside a garage away from the elements, there’s a good chance your vehicle suffered from at least a little body damage due to corrosion and rust this past winter.

And if you take a minute to think about where all that road salt and slush tend to build up, it will make sense why fender liner replacement is such a common auto body repair performed in our shop this time of year! That’s right: most damaging road salt and other causes corrosion build up right along the wheel wells of your vehicle. If you’ve ever driven anywhere in a particularly bad snow storm, there’s even a good chance that you’ve had the “pleasure” of attempting to kick this caked-on slush and salt off the wheel wells of your car!

Fortunately, all modern vehicles are made with fender liners, which are essentially covers that are specifically designed to protect your vehicle’s wheel wells from rust and corrosion. On the other hand, fender liners generally aren’t made to last for the entire life of your car, so if yours are beginning to rust out or become otherwise damaged, it may be time to replace them.

What Are Fender Liners?

Fender liners generally aren’t visible to the naked eye unless you have removed a tire; then, you can take a look up into the wheel well and see a curved, protective disc. This is a fender liner, also commonly referred to as an inner fender panel. The primary purpose of these liners is to prevent slush, road salt, and other debris from being kicked up into your wheel wells and potentially even making their way into your engine bay, trunk, or other parts of your car that could cause serious damage.

Fender liners come in a wide range of types and materials. If you have a newer vehicle (manufactured within the past few decades), your fender liners are most likely made of a non-corrosive and flexible material, such as thermoplastic. However, on older vehicles, it was not uncommon for fender liners to be made of metal. Unfortunately, metal can be very prone to corrosion and rust, so if you have an older vehicle with metal fender liners, there’s a good chance that they’re in need of replacement.

In fact, even if you have a newer vehicle with fender liners made out of a more durable, non-corrosive material, it’s possible that this past winter still caused enough damage to your fender liners to warrant repair or replacement. How? Debris from the road (rocks, pebbles, and even road salt) can be kicked up at a high rate of speed into the liners themselves. Over time, this can cause the material to give way and become punctured. And unfortunately, all it takes is a small hole in your fender liner to begin allowing moisture and other unwanted debris into your engine bay, potentially causing much more serious (and expensive) damage.

Important Considerations When Replacing Fender Liners

The good news is that fender liner replacement is a relatively simple job that can be handled by any experienced and reputable auto body shop. Here at Badell’s Collision, we’ve replaced fender liners on a wide range of vehicles, and we anticipate that we’ll have a lot of clients needing this work done following the rough winter we just had in southeastern Pennsylvania!

If you think your fender liners may need replacing or if you’re not sure, we recommend that you have them looked at by an honest professional. This will likely require the removal of your vehicle’s tires so that a full view of the fender liners and wheel wells themselves can be gained. If it turns out that you do need your fender liners replaced, it is important that you leave this type of work up to an experienced auto body repair professional; while it may seem like a straight-forward DIY job, it’s really anything but! Because fender liners often need to be welded to other parts, this is not a project you should attempt on your own; this is especially true if you have an older or classic vehicle with metal fender liners.

It’s also important to note that if you have damage to your fender liners, you may also have some rust and corrosion going on around your car’s wheel wells. This is something you’ll also want to have addressed by an auto body professional; otherwise, the damage will only gradually get worse over time. Rust and corrosion repair on your vehicle should always be repaired by an auto body professional, as it is likely that different pieces will need to be cut and welded in order to properly replace and repair them.

Not sure where to begin when it comes to fender liner replacement? Perhaps you’re not sure which type or material of fender liner is best suited for your vehicle. Not to worry; our experienced and knowledgeable staff at Badell’s Collision would be happy to assist you in determining the extent of the body work your vehicle needs. We can also take the time to explain the different fender liner types and materials to help you make a well informed and confident decision regarding which is best for you.

Overall, fender liner replacement is one of the most affordable auto body repairs you can have completed on your vehicle. At the same time, these repairs don’t just help to improve the cosmetic appearance of your car by protecting against rust and corrosion; they can also help to save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in more serious mechanical repairs down the road because these fender liners serve to protect your car’s vital engine parts. In this sense, it’s a good idea to look at fender liner repair or replacement (along with similar auto body work) as an investment in your vehicle and your long-term peace of mind. And of course, should you choose to sell your vehicle down the road, you may even be able to get a better asking price for your car and have an easier time selling it without any rust or corrosion to concern buyers.

Schedule an Estimate Today

If you’re ready to schedule your fender liner replacement estimate, or if you have rust/corrosion along your vehicle’s wheel wells that you’d like to obtain a repair quote for, we’re happy to help! You can schedule your estimate online by entering your vehicle make, model, and year or by giving Badell’s Collision a call at (610) 485-4411. We’re open six days a week (including Saturdays) to suit your busy schedule, and our experienced auto body repair technicians look forward to answering any questions you may have!

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