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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
See post #45 for the fix.

My driver's fender liner had a big hole in it and it would make noise on the freeway as air rushed through the hole. It has gotten worse over time, so I replaced the fender liner and a few days later a hole has developed in the same spot (not as big as the first one). Here's a photo. It looks like the tire is touching the fender liner but it is not.



The only thing I can think of is that air is coming in through the empty space in which a fog light insert panel would be. Here's a photo of that:



This car was never equipped with fog lights, and when I bought the car at 39K miles it did not have any insert panels where the fog lights would be. Is it possible that air coming in through the fog light space is blowing a hole through the fender liner? I never thought of it until now, but it is the only explanation I can think of. The passenger side has no fender liner at all, and I was planning on putting one in, but I'm concerned a hole will develop there as well. I'm just looking for anyone who has heard of this problem or who knows enough about wind physics to confirm if my theory is correct.

What do you think? Is a fog light insert panel what I need to get before replacing the fender liner again?
 

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The tires are causing the hole in the fender liner. When you drive, and take turns at speed, the fender liner is pushed rearward more than when it's parked and so it makes contact with the edge of the tire. It's even worse on models with the optional larger wheel/tire sizes.

It probably isn't a bad idea to get fog light filler panels in terms of aerodynamics, but on the other hand, the fog light holes along with the holes in the fender liner probably send some air to the brakes to keep them cool.

Do what you think looks best, but don't bother trying to do anything about the holes in the fender liners, that's just a waste of time and money. Even with the fog light filler panels, the air going under the bumper is what's pushing the fender liner rearward. Either that or don't drive very fast.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
The tires are causing the hole in the fender liner. When you drive, and take turns at speed, the fender liner is pushed rearward more than when it's parked and so it makes contact with the edge of the tire. It's even worse on models with the optional larger wheel/tire sizes.

It probably isn't a bad idea to get fog light filler panels in terms of aerodynamics, but on the other hand, the fog light holes along with the holes in the fender liner probably send some air to the brakes to keep them cool.

Do what you think looks best, but don't bother trying to do anything about the holes in the fender liners, that's just a waste of time and money. Even with the fog light filler panels, the air going under the bumper is what's pushing the fender liner rearward. Either that or don't drive very fast.
Is this common? I've never heard of this. I use the correct size tires that are spec'd for this 2004 Corolla LE (15" wheels), so wouldn't that mean that everyone with the LE 15" wheels has this problem?

I just ordered the inserts, btw. Didn't know they were so cheap: About $13/pair on Rock Auto.

EDIT: I just took a closer look at the photo and it does appear that the hole was made from the tire side of the liner according to what I see with the wear at the edges of the hole. Does anyone agree with that?
 

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It's common enough I see it on most 2003-2008 Corolla/Matrix/Vibe models. It's probably because the liner is so thin and flexes so much under wind resistance, and there isn't a bracket or support at that point to prevent the deflection. The models with the smaller 15-16" wheels/tires have smaller holes in the liner, the models with the 17" wheels and wide tires have larger holes. I noticed it within a few hundred miles of driving on a new vehicle, I thought something was up, until I realized it was the tires rubbing on the liner that made the hole. Just figured it's fine and adds ventilation to the brakes. Even with fog lamps, the hole doesn't cause any debris to be thrown on the backside of the lamps.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for responding. I believe the base model (CE?) came with 14" wheels. My 2004 LE came equipped with 15" wheels from the factory. Is it possible that the unobstructed fog lamp hole blows enough air against the fender liner to push it against the tire? I wonder if the insert panels will be enough to prevent that, or do you not think so? If it's not, the only thing I can think to do is to attach a fastener (zip tie?) to a new fender liner (via a couple of tiny holes) right where the tire rubs and then keep constant tension pulling on the fender liner (with the fastener attached to something forward of the liner) to prevent it from pushing in toward the tire. Do you think that would work?
 

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It could be getting pushed back into the tire, also double check that you're using the correct tire size. There's a sticker on the driver side door jamb that will list the correct tire size. You can jam something into that hole like a wad of foam or cover it with aluminum HVAC tape to block the air as a temporary measure then cover the hole in the fender liner with something like aluminum HVAC tape to see if the issue is resolved or not.
 

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Thanks for responding. I believe the base model (CE?) came with 14" wheels. My 2004 LE came equipped with 15" wheels from the factory. Is it possible that the unobstructed fog lamp hole blows enough air against the fender liner to push it against the tire? I wonder if the insert panels will be enough to prevent that, or do you not think so? If it's not, the only thing I can think to do is to attach a fastener (zip tie?) to a new fender liner (via a couple of tiny holes) right where the tire rubs and then keep constant tension pulling on the fender liner (with the fastener attached to something forward of the liner) to prevent it from pushing in toward the tire. Do you think that would work?
I have a CE and mine had 15's with 185/65/15 on them. I recently replace my wheel liners on my Corolla as well. Make sure you have some push pin retainers for some of the holes that are up in the fender well, this will keep it from sagging onto the wheel in some spots.



And you can never have too many zip ties. Since it was a cheap OEM replacement wheel liner on mine, some of the holes that were on it, did not line up 100% with the body, so nothing a zip ties couldn't fix. But if you are a perfectionist, you could drill a hole that lines up and use a push retainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It could be getting pushed back into the tire, also double check that you're using the correct tire size. There's a sticker on the driver side door jamb that will list the correct tire size. You can jam something into that hole like a wad of foam or cover it with aluminum HVAC tape to block the air as a temporary measure then cover the hole in the fender liner with something like aluminum HVAC tape to see if the issue is resolved or not.
Definitely using the correct spec'd tire: 195/65/15 same as the sticker in the door jamb. I have HVAC aluminum tape. Will try something temporarily. Thanks for the idea.

I have a CE and mine had 15's with 185/65/15 on them. I recently replace my wheel liners on my Corolla as well. Make sure you have some push pin retainers for some of the holes that are up in the fender well, this will keep it from sagging onto the wheel in some spots.

And you can never have too many zip ties. Since it was a cheap OEM replacement wheel liner on mine, some of the holes that were on it, did not line up 100% with the body, so nothing a zip ties couldn't fix. But if you are a perfectionist, you could drill a hole that lines up and use a push retainer.
OK, so the difference between CE and LE is not 14" vs 15", but it is 185 vs 195. Yes, when I replaced the driver's side liner, I did use push-in/screw-in fasteners in the correct places. Yes, zip ties are a great invention. I hope whoever invented that was well-compensated for the idea (unlike the guy who invented the ratcheting wrench--apparently he got very little). Anyway, I saw that there are very cheap priced aftermarket liners for about $8 each, but they (Rock Auto) also offered "Certified" (CAPA? or something like that?) which was more like $35-$40, and then OEM which was around $75. I assume the certified liners have exact match holes for the fasteners. The replacements I got were from the self-service junk yard and were OE. The problem was that it was very difficult to find fender liners in good condition at the junk yard. Lucked out on those, but it might be hard to find again.
 

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Only the previous 1998-2002 Corolla had 14" wheels/tires, the smallest on the 2003+ went up to 15".

I'm sure the open fog light hole causes more air to push against the fender liner at speed, but every similar model and some other makes/models wind up with a hole in the liner from the tire rubbing too, so it's more of a case of how well the liner is secured at that particular location in front of the tire and/or how thick the liner plastic is to prevent deflection in the first place.

Some vehicles actually have vents/louvers in the liners to allow air to get through, so you might consider cutting out the vents from one of those at the salvage yard and sticking those on your fender liners if you want a more finished appearance without the hole, though there's still the risk the tire will rub on the vent at speed just like the liner with a hole. You might also get the front part of a much thicker plastic liner and epoxy it to the front side of the existing liner, then even with the hole, the front will be blocked off.

The easiest solution is just to leave it alone, it's not hurting anything, and you'll spend a lot of time/effort/money to fix what isn't really a problem, or more than you have already.
 

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The easiest solution is just to leave it alone, it's not hurting anything, and you'll spend a lot of time/effort/money to fix what isn't really a problem, or more than you have already.
If we all did that, there wouldn't be anything to talk about here. Also those are the most satisfying problems to solve. :nerd:
 

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My 2006 LE had holes on each side. It was that way when i bought it. I assumed the guy that owned it before me had bigger tires lol. My 2005 LE didnt do that.
 

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It should be pretty obvious that I was speaking specifically of the fender liner hole in my post, not making some nihilist argument about car maintenance or the forums.

I've mentioned multiple possible fixes already, and also stated I've left the holes alone and there have been no issues, and also pointed out the holes may actually offer a benefit in cooling the brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
It should be pretty obvious that I was speaking specifically of the fender liner hole in my post, not making some nihilist argument about car maintenance or the forums.

I've mentioned multiple possible fixes already, and also stated I've left the holes alone and there have been no issues, and also pointed out the holes may actually offer a benefit in cooling the brakes.
I think he (Bitter) was just kidding.

Thanks for the info, animeracing. I'll let y'all know what I wind up doing (or not doing).
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
So, I received the bumper fog light insert panels. Here's a good view right through the fog light hole and you can see the hole in the fender liner and the tire behind it:




As a test, I am installing the bumper fog light hole insert panels and patching up the hole in the fender liner with aluminum HVAC tape. I'll be testing this over the next week to see if another hole is rubbed through the HVAC tape. If a hole does NOT develop, then I'll know that it was air rushing in through the empty fog light space and pushing the fender liner rearwards and having it make contact with the tire at highway speeds and/or especially when driving against the wind.





Wow, the car looks better with the inserts (although for years I've never cared enough to put inserts in there).



We'll see what happens and I'll let this forum know the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
.004574 MPG more now!
:laugh: Ha ha, I'm sure it will make up for the other poor guy (Joebklyn) on this forum who changed spark plugs and his MPG took an 80% nose dive. Hope he figures that one out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm pretty sure I got all the clips, but I wil double check. Thanks for the good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
So, after taking a good long drive at 70 MPH+, the fender liner is again developing a hole where the HVAC tape is and also is making a hole and popping out on the lower side of the fender in the front. This is even with the insert panels installed and with all the screws and clips holding the liner in place.

I'm either going to just remove the thing and just drive with no liners at all, or put in replacement liners if I can rig something up to hold it forward and prevent it from flexing backwards when driving on the freeway. I'm thinking of drilling very small holes and putting zip ties in there and then connecting more zip ties to the ones fastened in the holes and have them secured to something forward of there making it so it won't flex forward. If I do that is a matter of when I have spare time to do this non-essential "repair".
 

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Get some pop rivets and thin aluminum bar stock, like 1/16th. Take the stock and make a 'skeleton' on the back side of the fender liner affixed with pop rivets. I've worked on some older luxury cars which had a hard plastic ribbing behind the liner to make sure it stayed in place, it's really common to see thicker ridges on large belly pans too. With an aluminum framework to support it, it'll be fine. Only worth it on the new one though.
 
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