When you're replacing expensive fenders, quarter panels, wheel well liners, and related trim bits attached to them, you'll also be dealing with a fair number of hardware brackets, braces, support bars, and miscellaneous bits during disassembly. If you're repairing accident damage or addressing a rust issue, starting from scratch with new hardware pieces is a no-brainer. In such cases, the old clips and other bolt-on support pieces are likely just as mangled, corroded, and generally compromised as the body panels themselves.
If you are experienced at putting on new body panels, you already know that process is a bit more complex than putting together an Ikea wall shelf unit. Fitting each piece together is a step-by-step process, and each panel must be individually aligned to others as you go.
When it comes to fenders, that alignment is crucial because one misstep leads to seams that aren't straight and gaps that aren't even. Get fender placement wrong, and the vehicle's hood and doors won't open or close smoothly. Or, you've got water leaks in the trunk which had not existed before. All hardware brackets must be in perfect specification, because anything less can easily cause misalignment. Saving pennies on a small bracket can cost you hours of extra labor, and even compromise an expensive panel.
For these reasons, bodywork experts know that there is only one thing to do with old hardware pieces - and that's throw them in the garbage. Even if they don't appear rusted or bent, these pieces have constant loads put on them that causes metal stress over time. Chassis flex is always occurring over road undulations and potholes, and twisting forces that occur during performance driving put constant stress on the brackets we don't see. If you go off-roading, those twisting forces are multiplied even more. Although they may not look it, old hardware pieces are usually compromised in some way. Appearances can be deceiving.
Because it's so crucial to replace any and all fender support braces and hardware pieces, we've created this glossary which lists components in alphabetical order. Links to product pages will appear with highlighted lettering - simply click on the bolded word, and you'll be taken directly to the item referenced. Note that, in some cases, multiple components may be available on a particular product page. Once you've entered year, make, and mode in our Product Options box, you'll see a list of braces, brackets, and other items that are available for your specific car or truck.
Fender Liner Rivets
These are essentially plastic clips that are inserted in place by using a rivet gun. Positioned at strategic points, these clamp wheel well liners to the fender and hold them in place. We've got these from Dorman in both traditional (narrow) and wide configuration.
Fender Molding Clips
These are vehicle-specific clips designed to support trim pieces mounted on fenders and rocker panel areas. We've got them for select vehicles on our Goodmark Replacement Fender Hardware page.
Fender to Body Brace
These braces are also commonly labeled as "fender bracket" or "fender support" pieces. They attach the body to the inner fender, and play a big part in getting things to fit right. By achieving proper alignment for the inner fender vs. body, these also have a beneficial effect on how the outer fender fits onto the body, how the fender lines up with the door, and how the fender lines up with the hood. We've got a good selection in our pages for Replace Fender Braces & Brackets, Sherman Fender Brace & Brackets, and K-Metal Fender Braces & Brackets.
Fender to Body Seals
Also described as fender-to-cowl seals, these are filler pieces used on some vehicles to close up a narrow gap between the body and fender. We've got a selection from Auto Metal Direct and Replace for both driver and passenger sides.
Fender to Radiator Braces:
These bracket pieces bolt to the top of the radiator support beam on one end, and to the vehicle fenders on the other. Once in place, they reduce flex of both the body and chassis - since fenders and frame are connected. Not all vehicles were fitted with these bars as original equipment, and they make a great add-on upgrade regardless of whether you've replaced fenders or not. You'll find a selection in our Hotchkis Fender Braces, Billet Specialties Fender Braces, Joe's Racing Aluminum Fender Brace Kits, and OER Fender Braces & Brackets pages.
Fender Turn Signal & Light Marker Brackets:
These are situated behind the fender in spots where turn signal indicators or other lights are fitted. These brackets serve as anchoring posts for mounting bolts or screws. You'll find these in our Auto Metal Direct Fender Brackets & Braces page. We've also got related screws and anchoring pockets on our page for OPGI Fender Hardware.
Push-In Type Clips:
These clips are typically made of plastic and used to attach fender trim pieces, moldings, and other lightweight pieces. Thanks to multiple angled louvers, these clips stay in place once they're inserted. We've got a selection of these on our sections for Dorman and C.R. Laurence.
Rear Wheel Box Brace Covers
These box-shaped braces are sandwiched between the trunk and the rear metal wheelhouse, and are often welded in place. These are hidden by the rear quarter panel, but play an important role in supporting the body securely where vehicle framework and body panels join together. You'll find these for classic vehicles on our Goodmark Fender Braces & Brackets page.
Also known as Inner Wheelhouses or Quarter Panel Wheelhouses, a wheelhouse is a metal panel that serves both as an inner fender piece and a structural support member bolted to the vehicle body. In some cases, a quarter panel wheelhouse doubles as a mounting point for a rear quarter panel. Brackets for any of these types of wheelhouses keep things anchored in place at strategic points. We've got brackets from Sherman for both driver and passenger sides.
Wheel Housing to Cowl Bracket
By bolting on to both the wheel housing (or inner fender liner) and the cowl part of the vehicle's frame by the windshield, this bracket piece increases rigidity and prevents chassis flex. You'll find these for select vehicles, in our GT Spec Fender Reinforcement Braces and OPGI Fender Brackets & Braces pages.
Wheel Opening Molding Screws:
When you need a selection of screws and/or bolts and nuts designed to attach wheel well liners and trim around wheel well openings, we've got a variety of all different types. You'll find them for select models on our Auto Metal Direct Fender Hardware, Omix-Ada Replacement Fender Hardware, and OER Fender Hardware pages.
We invite you to read our related articles that discuss replacement fender moldings and trim, inner fender panels, and outer fenders. We're also available by phone seven days a week should you have any questions or need advice about product selection. We'll help you keep those gaps straight and narrow!