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Wing: elegant, useful and damage-prone
Wings have always belonged to the basic equipment of the car. The component's origin dates back to the era of the horse-drawn coach and literally served as a mudguard. This name is still in use for the fender elements on large trailers, preventing the splashing of mud and rain. The wing in a modern car has a similar purpose, protecting other traffic participants from splashing water or dirt.
The construction of a wing
Wings cover the wheel and are generally slightly wider than the wheel itself, enabling them to optimally fulfill their purpose. The choice of material depends on car model and manufacturer. Wings are now made of metal, aluminium or plastic. The mode of attachment can vary considerably. Some wings are screwed onto the bodywork, while others are directly welded onto it. Screw-mounted components are easier to repair and depending on construction type different repair costs apply.
Typical wing defects
Wings are particularly susceptible to minor defects which are easily overlooked due to the component's location. Wings often show the following damage:
- minor scratches from buggies or passers-by
- shallow or deeper dents due to parking accidents
- little dents or dull paintwork due to repeated impact
- minor and major grit damage.
All in all no serious damage, hardly impacting the car's general appearance. The problem is that even minor damage should be repaired. Ignoring it could result in rust development. The spreading damage would soon become more costly and repair or replacement unavoidable. Rust is bound to have a detrimental effect on the value of the car which could become a serious disadvantage in case of sale. This particularly applies to grit damage, regularly affecting the wing. The high speed and the sharp grit cause the paint to flake and rust can occur very easily and quickly.
Replacement or repair: when does what solution make sense?
To repair or to replace: the decision has an economical aspect and depends on the extent of the damage as well as on the price of a new wing. Generally, damage such as dents and rust can be repaired on the wing. However, in addition to the required damage repair, the entire surface should be primed and painted anew, which would mean a considerable expense. If you decide to have it done in a garage, be prepared to pay the working fee on top of that. An immediate replacement of the wing could turn out to be the cheaper option.
Costs of repair depend on:
- the extent of the damage
- the material of the wing
- the required repair material
- the surface requiring repair and paintwork
- the working fee of the executor.
DIY wing replacement?
DIY replacement of a wing should pose no problem, depending largely on its attachment. If it is simply screwed onto the bodywork, it can be replaced by jacking up the car. If the wing is welded to the bodywork, you need a lifting platform and welding equipment as well as the required know-how for using this kind of tool on a car. Detaching the wing is not the major problem. Mounting the new wing in a safe manner is not recommended for people without sufficient welding experience.
Repair without removal?
Repairing wing damage without removing the wing is possible in case of dents which can be flattened out. This is no work for DIY attempts; these repairs should be left to an expert. Flattening is a delicate business requiring a very careful approach. In some cases even painting can be avoided with flattening out, however this is rare.