For those who don’t know what a fender liner is, it’s the plastic cover that’s placed between the fender and the wheel. It surrounds the inner side of the wheel and its role is to protect the engine, wires, and other components located behind the wheel well.
The fender liner, like all other parts of your car, is vulnerable to damage or regular wear and tear. When that happens, it may fall off.
If you’re currently experiencing this problem, I’ll be educating you on why your fender liner fell off, how to fix it, and a few more tips.
Table of Contents
- What Causes a Fender Liner to Fall Off?
- How to Fix a Fender Liner That Has Fallen Off?
- Does a Fender Liner Make Noise When It Falls Off?
- Which Fender Liners Fall Off More Frequently?
- Is It Safe to Drive a Car Without a Fender Liner?
- Do You Need Professional Mechanical Help in Fixing a Falling Fender Liner?
- How to Prevent a Fender Liner from Falling Off?
What Causes a Fender Liner to Fall Off?
• Impact from Debris
Due to its unique location, fender liners always have to deal with the wrath of loose stones and debris. If you’re a big fan of off-roading, the impact from debris can weaken and eventually cause the fender liners to fall off.
There isn’t much you can do to prevent this because we have no control over the nature of the roads, we drive our cars on.
• Weather Elements
Weather elements such as heavy snow or rain can nudge the fender liner away from its original position. most fender liners are secured using plastic clips.
So, if you’re driving over a road packed with snow, it can easily be snapped out of place. The same applies to muddy and flooded roads.
• Frequent Removal and Installation
In some cars, if you want to do an oil change, you have to unclip the fender liner to get access to the opening valve.
The more you remove and re-install a fender liner, the weaker the clips become. After some time, the fender liner gets loose and falls off.
• Hitting a Curb
The impact that comes from hitting a curb can loosen the fasteners of the fender liner and cause it to fall off.
Or, if the impact was massive, that can result to complete damage to the fender liner. This is why it’s always important to be aware of curbs, bumps, and potholes on the road.
• Rusty Fasteners
In most older cars, the fasteners are made out of metal. After long-term exposure to rain, snow, and salt, these fasteners start to corrode and become weak. Eventually, they break and the fender liner becomes loose or falls off.
• Vibrations from the Engine
Did you know that engine vibrations are strong enough to weaken the fender liner? This won’t happen overnight. But it’s expected after a few years.
• Poor Installation
If your fender liners were recently replaced and one of them has fallen off, they may have been poorly installed. For them to stick, fender liners must be securely fastened to the well.
How to Fix a Fender Liner That Has Fallen Off?
Whether a fallen fender liner is fixable heavily depends on the extent of the damage. When a fender liner falls while you’re driving, there is a high chance that it may get run over by the wheel.
If that happens, the plastic will be shredded into pieces and there is nothing you can salvage.
But if it’s still intact, you can buy a new set of clips or zip ties at a nearby hardware store. And re-install the fender liner, this time ensuring it’s perfectly secured. Should it be damaged beyond recognition, you’ll need a replacement.
You can get a new fender liner at the dealership. This may take some time if the part will be ordered from the manufacturer.
But the good news is that it’ll be a perfect fit. Or you can visit a nearby auto parts store and check if they have something close to the one you had.
Overall, the process of fixing a fender liner is usually pretty straightforward. And as long as you have a replacement, fasteners, and zip ties, this is a job that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
Does a Fender Liner Make Noise When It Falls Off?
It’s impossible not to notice a fender liner falling off when you’re driving. The only exception is if you are blasting loud music.
When a fender liner becomes loose, you’ll hear a flapping sound as it touches the wheel or other parts of the well.
When it falls off, you’ll hear a rattling sound which will be produced by the plastic being driven over by the wheels. If you’re driving at high speeds, you may notice some vibrations or a sudden impact sound.
You should exercise caution whenever you notice any of the above weird sounds. If it’s possible, find a safe place on the side of the road. Stop your car and inspect the extent of the damage.
Which Fender Liners Fall Off More Frequently?
In some cars, you’ll find fender liners at both the front and back wheel wells. From most reviews online, the fender liners that are more vulnerable to falling off are those located at the front.
The front fender liners are the ones that are opened frequently. They are also the ones that are more likely to hit curbs or bumps.
Is It Safe to Drive a Car Without a Fender Liner?
Car manufacturers don’t just install fender liners to improve aesthetics. These plastic covers play a crucial role in protecting vital parts located behind the wheel well.
That’s why if a fender liner has fallen off, you need to plan on how you’re going to replace it as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk running into the following issues;
• Damaging the headlights – Just behind the fender liners, you’ll find wires leading to your headlights. If the plastic cover isn’t there, then that means water and debris can easily penetrate this section and damage your headlights.
• Corrosion within the suspension – Considering that most parts of your car’s suspension are made out of metal, without a cover, there is nothing that’s preventing them from corroding due to exposure to road salt, snow, and water.
• Poor aerodynamics – Even though they are located inside the wheels, they also contribute to aerodynamics. Without them, your car will experience more drag and poor fuel economy.
• A noisy cabin – One of the roles of fender liners is to insulate the cabin against road noise. Without them, the noise will easily enter the cabin and affect comfort.
• Debris buildup around the wheel – Should a fender liner fall, your wheel well will lack protection from debris. Eventually, debris and mud will build up around it.
Most car owners don’t care about their fender liners. However, from the above, it’s pretty clear that this is a very important part of your vehicle.
Do You Need Professional Mechanical Help in Fixing a Falling Fender Liner?
Not really. Replacing or repairing a fender liner is an easy job that doesn’t need any mechanical skills. As long as you’ve got the tools, you don’t need the help of a mechanic unless you hate engaging in DIY projects.
Hiring a mechanic comes with additional costs. Because they may charge you up to $100 for a fender liner replacement. That’s funny, considering fender liners cost as low as $10.
How to Prevent a Fender Liner from Falling Off?
If you are a victim of a fallen fender liner, you don’t want to run into this issue in the future. The good news is that there are some ways you can prevent this problem;
• When replacing a fender liner, ensure it’s properly secured to the wheel well.
• Replace damaged fasteners as soon as possible.
• Invest in additional fasteners such as zip ties if you’re always driving in extreme conditions.
• Switch from metal to plastic fasteners to avoid rust.
• Be mindful of curbs, bumps, and potholes.
• Inspect your fender liners regularly. Don’t just rely on visual inspection. Physically touch the fender liner to test its structural integrity.