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Front fender removal/replacement 3rd Gen Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by NWBlue, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. NWBlue

    NWBlue New Member

    Jan 11, 2020
    New York
    2010 Prius
    I just replaced the left fender on my 3rd Gen (2010-15) Prius and couldn’t find good directions online so I’m posting them here. First of all, my skill level is low-intermediate and I was able to handle this in 5-6 hrs; someone with more expertise could probably do it in 3-4hrs. I paid $130 for a junkyard fender, touch-up paint, and a few plastic fasteners I broke during removal. I'm no expert, but I hope this is helpful to someone...

    The good news is that you do not need to remove the small front triangular window; the fender has slots that slide up into each side of it. You will need to remove the tire, headlight assembly, front bumper cover (or loosen left half of it (your choice, but if you loosen it, protect it from scratches and don’t try in cold weather)), and rocker panel/side skirt. You will also need to loosen the plastic fender liner in the wheel well on each side. Videos are available on youtube for most of these, so watch those first to see if you want to tackle this. I’ll explain how to remove the rocker panel/side skirt below (couldn't find a video on this one).

    Here’s what you’ll need: a new fender from a junkyard, aftermarket seller, or dealer; also inspect (for damage) the fender liner and the plastic seal between (behind) the fender liner and the front door (visible if you open the door and look toward the front of the car). Also note whether any plastic fasteners are damaged or missing. Finally, make sure the replacement fender has the rubber seal where the fender meets the windshield (or that you can salvage the one from the old fender, which will require sealant/adhesive).

    In terms of tools and supplies, you’ll need a 10mm socket, small and medium standard screwdrivers, a medium Philips screwdriver, a plastic fastener removal tool (optional), silicone or other sealant/adhesive (in case needed to secure/seal rubber seal at windshield), extra plastic fasteners in case any break (optional), and 10mm wrench and needle-nose pliers (both suggested).

    Here are some tips on removing the side skirt/rocker panel. Opening each door will reveal one Philips screw to remove. Underneath are about half-a-dozen large plastic fasteners which need to be carefully pried loose and removed. Each end has a 10mm bolt both on the end and underneath. Keep track of where all bolts, screws, and fasteners go! The other side of the car can also help you with this on reassembly.

    Once this, tire, front bumper cover, and headlight assembly are removed and fender liner is loosened on both sides, remove the plastic seal mentioned above (has 3 plastic fasteners) and the plastic “waffle-hatched” piece which helps support outside of headlight assembly. All bolts securing the fender are now accessible! Remove the 2 under the hood last so fender doesn’t dangle. You have to open the door to get at one of the top ones, and the hardest one to reach is under the rubber seal by the windshield. I couldn’t figure out how to remove the plastic piece partially covering it, so I worked it out carefully with a wrench and needle-nosed pliers (be careful not to scratch the paint!).

    Here are a few tips for reassembly. Make sure all “tabs” on new fender where bolts anchor are straight, not bent, so fender seats right. If new fender doesn’t have two plastic square clips (to take screws), transfer them from old fender. Look at other side of car to see how the rubber seal by the windshield goes—be careful to get it seated correctly and use sealant/adhesive as necessary. Before tightening any bolts, make sure fender lines up nicely at all joints.