How To keep Jeep Wrangler Fenders Black

I frequently hear people talking about what to do to keep their Jeep Wrangler fenders black or true to color. 

To keep your fenders black, you need to take better care of them.

That answer sounds very simplistic, but the truth is the color and looks of your fenders or any part of your car will be directly affected by the care you give it and the products you use on it.

If you haphazardly wash the vehicle, keep it stored in the bright sun, and do nothing to enhance the UV protection of the clear coat on it then the paint will fade quickly and become dull looking.

Use The Right Wash Product When Cleaning

Jeep Hand Wash

Many people believe that it does not matter what soap they use when they are washing their vehicles. There are people who use laundry detergent, hair shampoos, dog shampoo, and dish detergent to wash their vehicles.

There are also people who do not completely rinse away the soap residue and then wonder why their paint looks dull and faded.

If you want your car to look its best then you have to give it every opportunity to do so. If you want your hair to look its best you invest in the best shampoo and conditioner for the hair type you have. If you want your vehicle to look its best then invest a little money and buy the best car wash supplies, waxes, and rinses that are on the market.

Fenders made of plastic need to be cared for with gentle cleansers to stop them from drying out and have all of the natural oils in the plastic stripped away. Make sure that the washing cleanser you purchase is designed for both the metal and the plastic components of the vehicle.


When you wash your vehicle, you may have the tendency to run through an automated car wash because it is faster and easier on your back than the old-fashioned handwashing with a water hose, bucket, and your muscle power to clean away the grime.

Occasionally running through a carwash to rinse off major mud amounts, or to get a quick clean is okay, but for the most part, you need to be handwashing that vehicle.

Carwashes use high pressure and that high pressure can do real damage to your clear coats and to your paint. If you love your vehicle then treat it gently and handwash it. You will get the dirt and grime off more completely and do less damage to the exterior of the vehicle.

The heat of some carwashes will also be enough to damage the plastic of your fenders. The high heat water with the high pressure can crack or chip the plastic pieces and leave you with an unsightly fender that can only be fixed by replacing it.

What you need;

  • A bucket to mix your carwash ingredients with water
  • Clean cotton cloths that are lint-free
  • A water hose with a spray nozzle that will let you rinse the vehicle well
  • Tire cleaner to make those whitewalls shine
  • A brush to use when you are cleaning the tires or rims
  • A little time and patience

Using a water hose wet the vehicle down completely with clear water.

Mix your favorite cleaning soap and water in your bucket.

Start at the uppermost section of the vehicle and gently rub the soap on it using a soft cotton 

cloth. Circular motions are best so they remove the dirt and do not create a pattern as you clean.

Wash small sections at a time and rinse them before the soap has a chance to dry on the vehicle. 

If the soap dries it can be very hard to wash away.

Rinse the vehicle thoroughly after each soap application.

Dry the vehicle using clean cotton towels that will not leave lint. Drying the vehicle removes water spots and helps make the vehicle shine.

Rinse Saltwater Off Quickly

When you go to the beach make sure that you rinse away the salt water and salt spray from the Jeep as soon as you can. If possible do not let the salt spray stay on the vehicle for an overnight period.

This is one of the times when running through a car wash is acceptable. Go through a car wash and get rid of any lingering salt, and then handwash the vehicle within the next three days to make sure that it is properly protected.

The black plastic fenders are prone to drying out, fading, and cracking when they are exposed to saltwater and salt spray. Washing these vehicle components thoroughly after each exposure will remedy fading and discoloration.

Sunscreen To Protect

I know you are shaking your head as you read this, but a sunscreen protectant is needed to maintain the beautiful black color of your fenders. 

You do not need to invest if 55-gallon drums of Coppertone, but you do need to invest in a UV protective product to coat your fenders with.

The sun naturally fades and bleaches everything. If your carpeting and upholstery are not protected by the tinted glass then you will quickly notice that the sun shining through the windows causes the colors of your materials to start to dull and then start to lighten.

The same thing happens to your vehicle’s body. The sun strips away the protective coating and then goes to work dulling and stripping away the color. To stay ahead of the sun damage, you have to be preventative and keep your protective coating fresh and useful.

Wax Carefully

If you want to preserve the look and color of your vehicle exterior then you have to be willing to wax it frequently in the summer and the winter. Most people think about waxing their vehicles in the summer when the sun is bright and the air is warm. In the wintertime we do not want to spend that much time outdoors.

Waxing the vehicle puts a layer of protection over the paint and clear coat that already is in place. That added protection will stop the ravages of the sun and will protect against salt that is put on roads to de-ice them and other particulates and substances your car exterior is exposed to all year.

The black plastic fenders fade faster and need more protection than the metal pieces of a vehicle need. Metal components have a thicker protective clear coating so the wax on the hard plastic is going to increase protection ten-fold.


Is It Possible To Restore Faded Black Fenders?

It is possible to bring the rich black color back to your fenders. Avoid quick fixes that sound to good to be true, and buy products that are approved by certified paint and body specialist.

Will Peanut Butter Protect The Black on My Fenders?

Technically peanut butter is oily and can be used to protect the black color of your fenders, but realistically, there are a lot of products that are oil or silicone-based that will do this.

Should I Use A Blow Dryer on My Fender to Bring The Black Back?

Heat is never the answer to maintaining color. Heat, when applied to plastic pulls the oils out and lets the plastic dry out, fade and become brittle.

Final Thoughts

The black plastic fenders allow you to go through areas of off-road interest while doing less damage to your vehicle. The fenders are lighter so your vehicle uses less gas and it travels the road faster. The fenders are also prone to quick discoloration and fading. The only way to make sure these pieces maintain their best look is to protect them from the sun by parking in a covered area, using the best detergents when washing, and applying quality UV protectants and waxes on a regular basis.

More Jeep Wrangler Related Articles You Can Read
1. Jeep Wrangler Steering Wheel Jerks When Turning
2. Can You Use A Tow Dolly for A Jeep Wrangler
3. Jeep Wrangler High Mileage Problems

About Brendan Burnett

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