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How to replace a fender on a 2005 PT cruiser

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How to replace a fender on a 2005 PT cruiser

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  #1  
Old 10-27-2016, 11:28 AM
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Default How to replace a fender on a 2005 PT cruiser

A branch recently fell on my PT cruiser and severely crumpled the left-side fender, taking out the headlight at the same time. I recently sourced a replacement fender/headlight combo at one of those facilities where you have to pull the parts yourself. As I have never done anything like that I'm not sure how to proceed or exactly what tools I should take with me other than wrenches and a socket set. Any tips from someone who's done similar work on a PT Cruiser?

Also, is there any chance of some underlying damage? The branch was pretty decent in size, but miraculously (if you can call it that after collecting your car!) hit end on and only took out the fender/light and nothing else. It's been a real pain, because the way it buckled the metal pushed it back in a way that I can't fully open the driver side door and have to get in on the other side every time I go for a drive - talk about looking like a complete redneck!
 
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Old 10-28-2016, 10:52 AM
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No point in buying a replacement fender unless you can get the old one off. Figure out how to get your fender off and then go ahead and actually do it. That will prepare you for the task of removing the fender from the donor vehicle.

You will need socket wrenches for the bolts but there are also plastic fasteners for the plastic fender liners and splash shields underneath. Those are usually removed by lifting the center portion of the fastener and then pulling the whole thing out. Screwdriver and pliers can be made to work but a set of plastic trim tools may make the job easier. Once you get one out, look at it carefully and you'll see how they work, which will make the next one easier.
You may have to bend your damaged fender out of the way to get the driver door open. Try not to damage the door in the process. You'll have to get the door open to remove the fender.
Electrical plugs for the lights usually have retainers to keep them together. Look at the plug carefully to find the retainer clip, then figure out which way it needs to move to allow unplugging.
If the fender is bent badly enough to prevent opening of the door, there could be some damage underneath. You won't know that for sure until you get the fender off. Chances are if something is bent under there you'll be able to bend it back. Keep in mind that while metal bends and can be bent back, paint doesn't bend, but cracks instead, and where the paint has cracked, water will get in and rust will form. Fix up the paint before putting it back together, especially underneath.
There isn't any magic in the way a car is put together, so approach the task in a logical fashion and you'll be able to figure it out.
 
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Old 10-29-2016, 06:54 PM
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yes, but the point is I need the PT cruiser to go and get the replacement fender, so if I take the existing one off I hardly think I can then use the car to go get the part, you know? If it doesn't work out than I'm only out about $50. So the whole point to my asking was basically how to get the replacement part off from the wrecker's so that I don't waste my time going there.
 
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Old 10-29-2016, 08:01 PM
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You can drive the car without the fender. If it's not raining, shouldn't be a problem. At least by that point, you'll be able to open the driver's door to get in and out.

If it's still too embarrassing for you, put it back on. Practice makes perfect.
 
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Old 10-31-2016, 07:37 AM
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It wasn't so much practicality as legality. I didn't think it was legal to drive around without a fender/light in place, rain or no rain. Otherwise I wouldn't have a problem with what you suggested. I'll check with the local cops - my sister-in-law and brother-in-law are both in law enforcement!
 
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