Thursday, May 24, 2007

Speaking of Jeeps-How to Fix Faded Fender Flares - Cheap

Most Wranglers have plastic fender flares that are a dark shade of gray or black. These things are great when new...they look good and they're durable. But, as they age, they start to fade to a light gray, and even Armor All doesn't bring them back; it seems to evaporate the instant you put it on.

Some people suggest that you paint the fender flares. That will work, but it opens up a whole new can of worms. You have to prep the things so the paint will stick, and they're likely to be oily from protectant applied in the past. Also, there's the issue of either removing the flares for painting, or masking, which is a scary proposition...how do you know you've got all the little gaps sealed so there's no overspray? You don't, until you remove the tape.

There's a cheap, effective, and safe method for temporarily restoring your fender flares to their original appearance, if you're willing to do a little work and spend a few bucks.

First, you need to get some Black Magic Tire Wet. I've been able to find this fairly cheap at most dollar stores, but if you can't, you can get it here.

The stuff is thick and oily and smells like cherries. If what you get isn't like this, then you don't have the right stuff.

The trick to getting this to work is the application. If you just rub it on with a cloth, it will fade rather quickly and leave the fenders light gray again. Instead, get a 3" paintbrush and a small container, like a styrofoam cup.

Pour some of the Tire Wet into the cup and start brushing it liberally on your fender flares. Seriously, put it on as thick as you can, until it almost drips off the fender flares. Don't be stingy with your love. When you've got them completely covered, leave them alone and go inside and have a drink or something. When you come back, they will look splotchy and drippy, with wet and dry spots. This is normal.

Next, brush over the flares with your brush, but do NOT apply more Tire Wet. Spread out what's on there. Now, give it another 10 minutes or so, and spread it again, without applying more. Keep doing this cycle of spreading then letting it stand, spreading and letting it stand, until it remains even and uniform after you've spread it out.

By that time, your fender flares should be very dark, possibly darker than they were new, and look like this:
They will also be extremely glossy. If you don't like the glossy look, wait about 24 hours to allow the Tire Wet to soak in completely and rub them out with a cloth. This will give them a more satiny sheen, more closely approximating how they looked when they were new.

Reapplying the Tire Wet every two weeks or when you notice fading will keep them looking like new. And, if they've already been treated using this method, it will be easier to reapply the next time.

1 comment:

Nona said...

Thanks for writing this.