Driving through winter snow, ice, and rain means your car or truck is exposed to highly corrosive winter road salt, like it or not. And if you have any trouble guessing which particular area of your vehicle is most subject to rust because of this, just think of the one place where slush builds up the most. The area where you literally have to kick big mounds of it loose. You guessed it - the wheel wells.
To contain this slush and prevent water, dirt, and other contaminants from being kicked up into your engine bay and trunk where they would have extremely negative effects, your vehicle manufacturer installed specially shaped liners on the inside of the fender wells. They're most commonly known as wheel well liners or inner fender panels, and they come in multiple shapes and forms which serve the same crucial purpose. On older vehicles that have now become classics, inner fenders are panels made of metal. On most vehicles built in the last few decades, liner sections are made of flexible, non-corrosive materials such as thermoplastic.
If you've got a vehicle with metal inner fenders, there's a good chance winter salt and moisture has caused them to develop some rust in hard-to-spot areas. Improper repairs after an accident can also accelerate corrosion here as well. And for those that travel off-road, there's a wealth of sharp debris that can fly up and puncture wheel well liners - no matter what they're made of. Accidents happen as well, and many of them result in crumpled inner fenders that must be replaced. Because there are many reasons you may need a new inner fender panel, we offer a large selection.
It's important to note that metal inner fender parts are typically welded to each other, and to the body of the vehicle. Replacing a rusted piece will involve cutting and welding - jobs best performed by bodywork professionals if you're not comfortable doing so yourself. Thermoplastic wheel liners and splash shields are easy to replace, because they are secured with simple bolts, screws, or clips.
To help you understand a lot of the terminology you'll come across, we've created the following mini-glossary below.
A-Arm seals (a.k.a. A-Arm dust boots) are made from flexible material, and are designed to cover gaps where spray from the road could get into the engine compartment. A-Arm seals got their name because they are often custom-shaped to wrap over "A" shaped control arms without posing an impediment to their motion. On our pages for Auto Metal Direct Fender Liners & Shields and Restoparts Liners & Shields, you'll find a great selection.
A fender apron is a panel on the inside of the fender that prevents splashing water from reaching certain areas of the fender, wheel housing, and/or A-pillar. These are usually mounted in an upright position ahead of or behind the front wheels. See our page for Sherman Fender Aprons.
Loosely put, a fender patch is a partial piece used to fill a gap left by a larger panel. They come in miscellaneous sizes and shapes and can be mounted in locations that will vary depending on vehicle application. For older classics dating back to the 1950s, we've got the Goodmark Fender Inner Patches as well as Auto Metal Direct Fender Inner Patches for older GM full-size trucks and vintage muscle cars.
This is a term sometimes used to describe a part that's similar to a fender apron. But while a fender apron piece has mostly upright, vertical surfaces, a front fender skirt piece is usually larger and features horizontal planes as well.
Fender Splash Shield
Fender splash shields are attached inside a fender well, and serve the purpose of preventing debris from entering the engine compartments. Unlike an inner fender liner, splash shields are usually partial cover pieces. As such, a vehicle may be fitted with only one splash shield, or multiple ones that cover different sections of the wheel well. These are attached to the vehicle using screws or bolts, and are relatively easy to remove. Also described as wheel splash shields, fender liner front/rear sections, and splash sills.
Also described as fender-to-cowl seals, these are narrow filler pieces used on some vehicles to close up a narrow gap between the body and fender. We have these for select models on our OPGI Fender Liners & Shields page.
Inner fenders are pieces bolted or welded to the vehicle fenders and frame to keep road debris from entering the engine compartment. Because they're typically made of metal, they also serve to provide some structural support for the vehicle. They are situated behind the wheel opening, and largely envelop the whole top area of the wheel. Front inner fenders are visible from the top when the hood is open. These are sometimes referred to as wheelhouses or wheel housings.
Inner Fender Lining
These serve a similar function to metal inner fenders (above), but are usually made of plastic or other flexible materials. These are attached to the vehicle using screws or bolts, and are easier to remove.
Quarter Panel Wheelhouse
A metal panel that serves both as a rear inner fender piece and a structural support member bolted to the vehicle body. A quarter panel wheelhouse can also serve as a mounting point for a rear quarter panel. See our page for OER Wheel Houses.
Upper Inner Quarter Panel
Upper inner quarter panel pieces are rare, because they're typically found on car-based pickups and coupes with a rear window that's inset behind the trailing edge of the rear pillar. They do serve as an extension of the main ("lower") rear quarter panel, and serve to seal up gaps that would allow road spray to travel upward onto the rear window. These are sometimes described as upper bed panels, bed trim panels, and rear window pillar panels. If you find yourself in need of these, take a look at the Sherman Fender Inner Patch selection.
Wheelhouse (or Wheel Housing)
See inner fender.
Wheelhouse - Truck Bed
For pickup trucks, these are structural metal pieces that cover the top of the rear wheels. To keep debris out of the pickup bed, these are sealed to the bed floor itself. The tops of truck bed wheelhouses are visible inside the truck bed. Some pickup-based sport utilities may feature this same type of wheelhouse, although they will be inside the vehicle and may be covered.
If you're looking for metal inner fenders, we've got the Replace Wheel Housings, Auto Metal Direct Wheel Housings, and Sherman Wheel Housings. Goodmark Wheel Housings are available in plastic or metal depending on vehicle application, and even offer a choice of chrome finish for 1973-87 General Motors full-size trucks.
If you need thermoplastic fender liners, we offer the Replace Fender Liners, Sherman Fender Liners, K-Metal Fender Liners, Crown Fender Liners (primarily Jeeps and select Chrysler vehicles), and URO Parts Fender Liners (Volvos from 1991-2011).
When looking at our inner fender products, we caution you that the lead picture is not indicative of all styles and materials that may exist for different makes and models. For example, a product with the title of "Fender Liner" may have steel wheel housings for older vehicles as well as partial and complete thermoplastic liner sections. We've also made every attempt to include pictures of the products as they'll appear on your specific vehicle once year, make, and model have been entered in the Product Options Field.
Don't neglect worn, damaged, or rusty inner fenders! Replace them as necessary to help ensure the longevity of your car and truck. A few dollars spent now will go a long way to saving you money when you eventually sell your ride.