How to Stop Tires from Rubbing Fender?

When fenders rub the tires, not only is it unpleasant to hear the squeaking sound of fender and watch the edges of the tires scrubbed off, but it can also be highly risky if it is not taken care of as soon as possible. It can cause the tire to burst after a certain thickness of tread has been exposed.

The most severe issue that the tire rubs can offer is the damage to the wheel well liner which can cause the engine to be exposed to dirt and moisture which in turn damages the engine through rusting.

When you make changes to the wheel by either replacing the tire or changing the components of the wheel or else the wheels age out to the extent that it causes malfunctions in the alignment or suspension.

All of these can contribute to tire rubs and diagnosing the root cause of the tire rubs is not that hard of a deal. Keep reading to explore the likely causes of tire rubs and their solutions.

Causes of Tire Rubbing When Changes to the Wheels are made

When there are changes in the wheel whether in the form of replacing the tires with a different set of tires or standard tires (OEM).

Or else, there are changes in the wheel offset or wheel spacers, these are likely to cause tires to rub against the fender.

Mounting Bigger Size Tires

When you mount bigger set of wheels, they are likely to cause the tire to lose its clearance and make it scrape against the wheel well whenever you take sharp corners, move over speed breakers or go over ditch holes.

Changes in the Wheel Offset

When you change wheels, it’s hard to get correct alignment of the wheel offset.

Wheel offset is the distance between centerline of the tire and surface of the wheel.

When this distance is mismatched, it cases the tires to rub against the fenders.

Introducing Wheel Spacers

Wheel spacers are the parts used to change the lug pattern of the wheel to provide a wide offset to them.

It makes the wheels move outward from the hub and become more exposed from the wheel well.

When wheel spacers are introduced for performance or aesthetic purposes, it can cause the tires to rub against either the wheel well liners or car fenders.

Installing New OEM Tires

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) tires are the tires that are recommended by manufacturers and fitted to the brand-new vehicles.

But even after getting such tires, there is a chance they might rub against the fender.

The reason for that is because the tire gap between original wheels and the car wells is very limited to begin with, and even a slight change in design of the tire can tighten this gap significantly.

Therefore, with the aging of vehicle there are some changes in the dimensions of the wheel well.

This can be coupled with slight differences in the tire’s size which can cause the tires to brush against the fenders.

Causes of Tire Rubbing Without any Wheel Changes

When a vehicle is getting old, there is a good chance that it’s going to have alignment problems and damaged or malfunctioned suspension parts.

This can also cause tire rubbing, inflicting damage to the tire itself and the wheel well.

Issues in the Parts of Suspension

If you experience tire rubbing when you’re talking corners or going over bumps due to weight shift of the vehicle to one side of the suspension system, then you definitely have defective suspension parts.

Common problems with suspension setup are that its springs loose elasticity, shock mounts, bushings, beatings and joints wear down and, linkages failure.

All of this results in decreasing the damping capability of the suspension system making it unable to maintain gap between the tires and wheel well.

Radical Misalignment of the Wheels

When the vehicle gets out of alignment with its caster angle, it probably has an alignment issue.

This can also cause the tire to scrape against the fenders well.

Alignment problems usually come from uneven wear of the tire, but they can also come from severe wheel damage.

How to Get rid of Tire Rubbing?

When you’re altering the wheels or suspension of the wheels, there is a great chance that the tire starts to rub against the fenders.

In such case you can get rid of this rubbing by folding inner lip of the fender inside. The steps required to perform this job are given ahead.

The Things You Require

  • Wheel- arch reforming Tool
  • Heat gun
  • Jack and jack stands
  • Wheel chocks
  • Lug Nuts
  • A Flashlight
  • Last but not the least: Time to spare

Checklist Before You Start This Procedure

  • Making sure you know that you absolutely want to do this because this process cannot be reversed.
  • Cleaning the fender wells.
  • Making sure that shocks of the vehicle aren’t dysfunctional because this process can be neglected in such case.

Procedure to Fold Inner Lip of the Fender Inside

  • After parking the car on a flat and smooth surface, make sure you put wheel chocks on for extra safety. Then lift up the tire with the help of a jack and use the jack stand to support the lower suspension arm. This is done to ensure that the hub remains at the same level as when tire is mounted. Furthermore, remove the fender liner if it seems necessary.
  • Connect the wheel-arch reforming tool to the hub, it will fit on just like the tire. Then tighten the lug nuts and adjust the tool such that it strikes the fender lip at a mild angle initially. Heat the fender before rolling to prevent the paint from cracking or splitting and try to spread the heat evenly on the fender to avoid causing the paint to bubble up.
  • Keep rolling the fender slowly while applying heat simultaneously. Keep adjusting the angle slightly and roll the fender gradually. This way you can remove the fender all the way. Repeat the same process for all the tires to remove the fenders.

Recommended Solutions for Common Types of Rubbings

Some adjustments can be made to the vehicle to make its chassis wider even without any external modifications. But it comes with a price, and some additional adjustments have to be made.

There are three types of Rubbings that can happen in this case.

Type of RubbingExplanationRecommended Solutions
Rubbing of Fender ArchOuter shoulder of the tires rubs against the fender arch metal.Pull or roll the damaged fenders.Add negative camber to the tires. Add fender flares or replace the tire with a smaller size tire.
Rubbing of Fender LinerOuter shoulder of the front tires scrapes against the plastic fender liners while taking sharp corners.Add negative camber to the front wheels.Reduce size of the tire.Remove Fender Liners from the wheel well.
Rubbing of SuspensionInner shoulder of front tires rubs against front suspension parts.Add more spacers.Change configuration of the spring.Adjust height of the car.Reduce width and height of the tire.

Final Note

  • Major causes of rubbing in case of making changes to the wheels include, mounting larger size tires, changing the wheel offset, wheel spacers and fitting OEM tires.
  • Major causes of rubbing in case there are no changes to the wheel include, issues in the components of suspension and radical misalignment of the wheels.
  • You can get rid of tire rubbing by folding inner lip of the fender inwards.
  • Three main types of rubbing are fender arc, fender liner and suspension rubbing.

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