When putting on aftermarket fender flares yourself, you'll need some equipment and tools to do the job. While most fender flare kits come with tape and self-taping screws, you'll need supplies to clean the fender before applying the tape and screws. After you order your fender flare kits online, go to your local hardware store and get these supplies if you don't have them.
Roughing up the back edge of a fender flare will help the tape adhere to it better. You don't want to score the fender flare too bad, but making it so it's not perfectly smooth will give the tape more surface area to hold on to.
With a piece of sandpaper, you'll be able to quickly score the back your fender flares. Run the sandpaper over the surface a few times, and it'll be roughened up enough. Just make sure to only use the sandpaper on the back of the fender flares -- the side that will be against your vehicle and, therefore, not visible. If you use the sandpaper on the sides of the fender flares that will be visible after they're installed, you could ruin their shiny finish.
Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) is a solvent similar to acetone. It's great for cleaning off automotive parts, because it will remove dirt, grease and adhesives, and it dries quickly. It's also easy to use. Just put it on the part being cleaned with a clean cloth, and then wipe it off with another clean cloth. You can find MEK at most hardware stores.
You'll want to use MEK to clean off the areas that you'll be placing the fender flare's tape on, before you apply the tape. This will ensure there aren't any contaminants on the surfaces being taped that would interfere with adhesion. Specifically, you should clean off the following:
- The part of your vehicle above the wheel, where the fender flares will be placed
- The back of the fender flares before sanding
- The back of the fender flares after sanding
Once you're finished cleaning and sanding, you're all set to put your fender flares on your vehicle. Apply the tape to the back of the fender flares as directed in the flare's instruction manual, and then place the flares on your vehicle. Put the screws in, and you'll be done. The fender flares will be properly secured in place, and the tape will hold them there for a long time.