CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Car lining damage

I had some damage to the plastic lining beneath the front of my car and in the wheel well. I would leave it alone, and the mechanic doesn’t see it as a big deal, but I’m concerned about road salt (I’m in PA and take the highway to work everyday) and car washes, and the car is only an '08. Parts I heard cost 100 bucks and then I would have to pay for labor. Anyone know if this is worth it?

I’d fix it. This part is important. It prevents rocks and pebbles from bouncing up from the road and getting into the moving parts of the engine, where even a small pebble can cause expensive damage. $100 is worth it. You could probably save some dough by phoning your local car junkyard and asking if they have one from a wreck. I think it might take 30-45 minutes for a mechanic to swap out the old for the new, so the labor should be not too much $.

Unless the plastic is badly damage, cracked, or has fallen off the car. There should be a way to get the plastic back in place and functioning. These things fall off frequently. If the piece is fairly intact and you don’t think you can put it back on yourself, take what you have to a local body shop.

I think the plastic liners are important in diverting water away from areas that can rust or are not happy getting wet. I live in NE PA and I’d get it reattached if it were my car.

It sounds like you have lost the inner fender liner for one thing. I’m not sure about what the other part might be but I’m guessing it’s some sort of plastic valance. It would be helpful to know what make and model of car you have.

Most of those parts are held on with plastic rivets or barbed push fasteners. If you have any mechanical aptitude at all, you will probably find it very easy to reattach. Just line up the holes, stick the fastener through them, and voila, it’s fixed. Autozone has the fastners, but don’t buy them in their “help” section. Ask the counter guys for larger quantities. I usually buy them 25 in a pack for about double what the three or five “help” packs cost.

See this ongoing discussion, which covers a slightly different part, but the same concepts apply to you also:

http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2285965/torn-shield-on-undercarraige