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Jazzing up your vehicle's fender flares can cause a dent on your pocket, what with all the labor fees and expensive automotive paint products you need. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to avoid shelling out a huge amount of money. Here are some tips:
A DIY paint job is probably the most practical thing to do if you want to match those aftermarket flares you just bought with your vehicle's exterior. If you ask around, labor fees can cost you $80 to $100+. This is because the task is time consuming and requires basic automotive painting skills. Before you can slather on that first coat of paint, you have to prep the surface of the flares by cleaning and sanding it. So if you're confident of your painting skills and you have the right tools and a spacious work area, go ahead and do the paint job yourself. Now if you don't know a thing or two about painting fender flares, it's best to leave it to the professionals. To lower the labor costs, try to befriend someone from your local auto shop and see if he can do it on the side or after hours.
Another factor that drives up the cost of a paint job is the type of paint you use. If you have no choice but to bring your car to a body shop, you can at least lower the costs by buying your own paint. This way, you have total control over the brand/price since factory-quality brands can especially drill a hole in your pocket. Fortunately, there are plenty of cheaper options. Just make sure you do a panel test first to see if the color exactly matches your vehicle's exterior.
Nothing botches up a paint job better than an improperly prepped-up surface. This is why some auto body shops won't paint fender flares that have been prepped by someone who's not from their own shop. If the surface wasn't clean or sanded properly, the paint won't adhere to it. It will result in a bad mess that will force you to either a) deal with a messed-up flare until the next paint job or b) shell out more money to have the whole thing fixed.
To make sure you get that surface prepped up, get rid of dirt, sealants, lubricants, and other residues by using the right automotive cleaner. Once the surface is clean, sand it using the right sandpaper grit. Make sure to get the right primer for your car. Keep in mind that certain types of primers won't work on certain types of plastics.
Most paint jobs will require you to remove and re-install the flares before and after the paint job. If you have to let a professional paint the flares because of lack of time or skills, you can lower down the costs by doing the removal and re-installation yourself. Remember, installation of fender flares can rack up the labor costs, so it's best to do it on your own.