Best JK Inner Fenders – 2021 Review

Cory
| Last Updated: March 12, 2021

Protecting the wiring and inner workings of your Jeep is essential. As such, you should know the top ways to protect them currently available. 

Inner fender liners are your best defense, preventing corrosion and damage as you drive through any environment. 

Here are all the facts that you need to know and the five best options currently available. 

Our Top Picks for JK Inner Fenders

  • For most models
  • Displays better
  • Lasts longer
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  • Complete kit
  • Fits most models
  • Durable materials
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  • Best for the Money
  • Durable materials
  • Fits most models
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Comparison of the Best JK Inner Fenders

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Compatible with most Jeep Wrangler models
  • Improves overall appearance to display nicely
  • Aluminum liners included to prevent corrosion
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  • Everything for a complete installation included
  • Will easily fit on most models
  • Strong and durable materials used
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  • Best for the Money
  • Strong and durable materials used
  • Easily fit on most Jeep Wrangler models
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  • Best Poison Spyder Inner Fender JK
  • Stainless steel vents included for better airflow
  • Will easily fit on most models
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  • Will easily fit on most Jeep models
  • Everything for a complete installation included
  • Easy bolt-on installation option
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Characteristics of Our Favorite JK Inner Fenders

We loved many features about the best JK inner fenders on our list, from the designs being aesthetically pleasing to the ease of installation, coverage area, and durability. Here’s a brief overview of why these products stand out from the rest.

Large Coverage

Having broad coverage is essential for any of the best JK inner fender liners since it keeps more of your engine bay and surrounding areas clean of mud. It also reduces the risk of a stone or other piece of debris getting stuck behind the panel.

Photo Credit: GodSpeedOffroad.com

Design

Having the part match your Jeep's colors or theme isn't necessary but helps it stand out. This feature makes finding the best matching inner fenders a great decoration that's protective and stylish.

Easy Installation

Whether you're an experienced mechanic or someone who's never held a tool before, any inner fender with easy installation is a great find. While this isn’t a top priority, a kit, such as the JROAD model, is even better with the needed tools. This inclusion saves you the money of hiring an expert or purchasing the required tools. 

Durability

As all the models we reviewed are made of metal, they're strong and durable. However, the Hooke inner fenders use steel instead of aluminum, which is a stronger material. Features such a rust proofing and corrosion resistance are a must for traveling off-road.

Review of the Best JK Inner Fenders

Now that you understand more about the workings of these fantastic components, let’s take a look at the best JK inner fenders.

Best Overall:
Smittybilt 76984

Smittybilt 76984 XRC Fender Liners, Front Pair, for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK

PROS

  • Anti-rattle design
  • Pre-drilled holes for rock lights
  • Made of corrosion-resistant aluminum
  • Easy installation that fits both 2-door or 4-door Jeeps
  • Hexagonal vents to help reduce under-hood temperature

CONS

  • Might be short and lacks full coverage
  • Installation option that’s hard to remove

What Recent Buyers Report

Many buyers find the Smittybilt 76984 inner fenders to be too small to protect a Jeep’s undercarriage. A few customers also opted to use bolts or other screws as an alternative to the option provided. However, most buyers love how these inner fenders look and appreciate the holes for rock lights.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Smittybilt 76984 inner fenders are stylish and one of the best looking items on this list. The hexagonal vents are perfect for any outdoor activity, keeping your engine a few degrees cooler than before. We also love the material, with the strong aluminum keeping rocks and pebbles out of any motor.

It's also great having the rock-light holes readily available, but, unfortunately, the lights themselves don’t come with the inner fenders. The anti-rattle design is pleasing as well, as there's no concerning noise as you drive. 

Bottom Line

While this is a beautiful addition to any Jeep, and it functions amazingly, it can often seem small and ineffective. However, it's strong enough to handle usage and keeps your engine cooler with the hexagonal vents.

JROAD Compatible with Jeep Wrangler Inner Fender, Front Fender Liners, Aluminum,with 4 LED Lights for 2007-2018 Wrangler Accessories JK JKU Sport Sahara Rubicon 2/4 Doors

PROS

  • Includes four red pattern lights
  • Provides installation tool and gloves
  • Easy to install with a video guide included
  • Made from a high-strength aluminum alloy
  • Stylish design that keeps mud and dirt out of the engine

CONS

  • Slight gap at the top
  • Only available in red

What Recent Buyers Report

Many buyers loved the look of these inner fenders but opted to change the color of the Jeep emblem through creative methods. The parts were extremely easy to install, and the instructions were a breeze to follow. However, while there’s a guide for wiring the lights, many buyers couldn't install it correctly. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Firstly, this part has a fantastic aesthetic design, even though it only comes in red. The strong aluminum alloy used to make the inner fender is strong and long-lasting. Once lit up, the logo on the parts is bright and catches the eye.

The items included make these inner fenders one of the best purchases you can make. It comes with a pair of gloves and a tool you'll need for installing the parts. Additionally, the product includes a set of four red pattern lights.

Bottom Line

The JROAD Front Fender Liners are stunning to look at, making it an ideal choice for utility and style. It's robust and easy to install but only comes in red, a deal-breaker if you're not already sporting those colors.

SMALLFATW Jeep Wrangler Steel Front Inner Fender Liners Wheel Cover for 2007-2018 Jeep Wrangler JK JKU 4WD US Flag Style Corrosion-Resistant Aluminum Splash Guards

PROS

  • Traps excess heat
  • Allows for ventilation of engine bay
  • Full coverage for maximum protection
  • You can color the removable panel yourself
  • Made from strong aluminum and coated with a black powder anti-corrosion finish

CONS

  • Unclear installation instructions
  • Flag design flies the wrong way on the passenger side

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers are mostly enjoying the design of this product and the full coverage and protection it provides. However, the most raised complaint is about the flag decoration and that it’s flying in the wrong direction on the passenger's side. There's also the lack of instructions that has upset many customers. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The SMALLFATW Inner Fender Liners are excellent value for your money, covering and protecting a large portion of your engine bay. The aluminum design can withstand a fair amount of usage before showing any issues or wear. These can keep the mud out of your engine as they hug the underside of the Jeep.

The design for these inner fenders is patriotic, even though one flag is flying backward. Additionally, you can remove the white backplate and change the color of it yourself to match your Jeep. The design also gives ideal ventilation to your engine without compromising aesthetics.

Bottom Line

The SMALLFATW liners are a fantastic addition to any vehicle and make it one of the best JK inner fender products. These are strong and able to keep your engine free from dirt. However, the design isn't entirely pleasing if you have OCD or are incredibly patriotic.

Best Poison Spyder Inner Fender JK:
Poison Spyder JK Front Inner Fender Kit

Poison Spyder JK Front Inner Fender Kit - Vented

PROS

  • Large coverage area
  • Appealing cut-out design
  • Allows for airflow to the engine bay
  • Steel mesh that keeps your engine safe from rocks and pebbles
  • Made from solid aluminum that was bead-rolled and brake-formed

CONS

  • Steel screens rattle while driving
  • Requires tweaking to fit properly

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers of the Poison Spyder Front Inner Fender Kit found the design of these parts astounding. However, they also commented that you'd need to fix the rattling issue yourself. Aside from that, most purchasers tweaked the design to accommodate their needs or color scheme to make it the best JK inner fenders they've ever had.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The kit is a beautiful set that’ll match almost any color scheme or design you have on your Jeep. It's made out of durable aluminum that was bead-rolled and brake-formed, ensuring that it'll last. The mesh fits the steel frame and can withstand a large number of pebbles and rocks.

These inner fenders are extremely customizable, as just a quick coat of paint can have it matching and enhancing your Jeep's appearance. With a little know-how or a quick Google search, you can install these easily.

Bottom Line

These inner fenders are an ideal choice if appearance is your primary concern. However, if you go off-road a lot, then you'll find the lack of water-shielding an annoyance as your Jeep's underside becomes rusty. You'll also need to adjust these to ensure they fit correctly and don't rattle.

Hooke Road Front Inner Fender Liners w/Star Logo Compatible with Jeep Wrangler JK & Unlimited 2007-2018 Sport Sahara Rubicon 2/4 Doors

PROS

  • Customizable design color
  • Made of high strength steel
  • Rust and corrosion resistance 
  • Easy bolt-on installation process
  • Blocks mud from getting into your engine bay

CONS

  • Doesn't provide maximum coverage
  • Instructions aren't universal for different Jeeps

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers are amazed by how well these inner fenders function. Many customers find the parts extremely easy to install, with only a few need to tweak the process. Buyers are also in love with the design and the fact that you can paint the color of it to match your Jeep.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Unlike all the previous products, the Hooke Road Front Inner Fender Liners are made entirely out of steel. This material makes the parts stronger and longer-lasting, ideal for anyone who's going off-road. Additionally, the metal is coated to prevent corrosion or rust from damaging it.

The Hooke front inner fenders are just big enough to block almost all mud or debris from entering your engine while remaining stylish. The white panel behind the design is removable and paintable, letting you customize it for your Jeep. Being able to quickly bolt-on these parts is another exemplary aspect.

Bottom Line

The Hooke Road Front Inner Fender Liners are visually stunning and extremely durable, making it an optimal choice for anyone. The parts are also easy to install onto your Jeep. However, the model is slightly small and can leave the engine bay exposed. 

What is an Inner Fender?

An inner fender is the part of your vehicle found between your wheels and the fender. This component is often made of metal or plastic and prevents debris from damaging your engine or other areas of the car. This part often comes preinstalled to avoid any unwanted damage when you first get on the road. 

However, you can and should get an upgrade if you're regularly going off-road. While you can find many great plastic products, a metal component will last far longer and has less chance of getting damaged. At the very least, it's essential to get corrosion-proofed inner fenders as these can withstand more wear from water.

What Purpose Does an Inner Fender Serve?

Inner fenders are an essential part of your vehicle as it protects many costly components you don't want to replace. Here are a few of the top uses.

Water, Dust, and Debris Protection

Inner fenders prevent the dust and water from on- or off-road drives from getting into your engine or behind the wheels. It also prevents any small rocks or litter from reaching your vehicle's inner workings or cutting any wires.

Engine Cooling

Inner fenders help keep the engine cool as they prevent air near the wheel wells from getting sucked into the engine's area. This aspect lets more air pass through the radiator fins. The effects often aren't noticeable unless you're already overheating your engine.

Photo Credit: CJPonyParts.com

Are All Inner Fenders The Same?

The material that the best JK inner fenders consist of is the most considerable difference between them. Almost all of these are steel or aluminum, which last longer than plastic. However, the downside to this material is that it can develop dents and eventually rust if not maintained.

Plastic fenders are ideal for everyday road use as you're unlikely to throw many rocks into them on the road. Additionally, these are better in a crash, as only the fenders will break compared to the metal ones damaging your flares. However, if you go off-road a lot, then you should use steel or aluminum inner fenders.

JK Inner Fender Materials

Most commonly, the inner ends you purchase are made out of aluminum. However, there are other material options, such as plastic and steel. These options vary in strength, usage, and more.

Plastic

Plastic is the least commonly used material for Jeep inner fenders since it's the weakest of all options. However,  it’s the best option if you don't drive often and only travel on roads. During an accident, these parts will break without bending other parts of your vehicle.

Aluminum

Aluminum is the most popular material used for Jeep inner fenders as its lightweight and sturdy. It’s often coated in black with an anti-corrosion seal. These are strong enough to withstand many bumps and undergo a lot of wear.

However, it isn't unbreakable and will eventually receive small dents as more rocks hit it.

Steel

This option is the strongest material used for inner fenders since it seldom breaks and can undergo more usage than aluminum. Steel parts are often coated in a rust-proofing and anti-corrosion seal to prevent any damage from occurring at all, even if it's soaked in mud.

Photo Credit: MetalCloak.com

Steel Inner Fender vs Aluminum JK - Comparison Overview

While steel and aluminum are near identical in function, they have some differences.

Steel

Steel is a stronger metal than aluminum, making it a better choice if you're going off-road where many rocks will hit the sheet. It also makes the inner fenders heavier and more taxing on your vehicle and gas cost. Additionally, in wet weather, this metal can easily rust without proper care.

However, maintaining these inner fenders isn't difficult since they're often coated in a rust-proof and anti-corrosion seal. As stones and other debris scratches this coating, it will begin to rust faster than aluminum.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a lighter but still highly durable metal used for inner fenders. Unlike steel, it still has a slight amount of bend and elasticity to it that helps it keep its shape. This elasticity can save you from damaging other parts of your Jeep. 

Aluminum inner fenders are less likely to rust and are often only coated with an anti-corrosion seal. Unfortunately, the stones that fly up when driving will wear down an aluminum panel faster than a steel one.

Photo Credit: Jk-Forums.com

JK Inner Fender Install

Before you can install a new inner fender, you need to remove your older default one. To remove the stock part, you'll need a way to remove the bolts, likely with a 10mm socket. After you remove these six screws, you'll need to locate and detach the plastic grommets.

Taking out your wheel's flare is a must if you want to get the inner fender out of the way and off your vehicle. You'll need to remove this again after setting the limits, as you can't get the piece in without firestone typers.

Once you have your inner fender in place and want to attach it using the pieces it came with or your own preferred items, you can quickly drill any necessary hole and use your screws, nuts, or bolts to finish fastening it. 

Refer to the video below for the best way to remove the original parts and install your inner fender. If the product has lights, you'll need to follow its instructions to install it properly.

Conclusion

An inner fender is essential to your Jeep, keeping it safe as you drive on almost any terrain. We've looked at the best JK inner fenders you can buy for your vehicle right now. Follow the guides on how to remove your previous set and install your new ones to keep your engine bay safe.

Recap - Best Inner Fenders for JK

Before you head out, here's a quick wrap-up of the best inner fenders for Jeep JK:

  1. Smittybilt 76984
  2. JROAD Front Fender Liners
  3. SMALLFATW Inner Fender Liners

People Also Ask

There are several frequently asked questions you're likely to have thought of before. These will explain what an inner fender is, why you need it, and if you can drive without it. We'll also explain the common ranges for purchasing a new set of any quality range.

Are Inner Fenders Necessary?

Yes. Inner fenders protect your engine, wires, and other parts of the vehicle from damage caused by rocks and pebbles. It also keeps the underside of your Jeep clean as it prevents mud and dirt from attaching to the small crevices you can't clean easily. It's essential to avoid damage and to lessen the wear over time.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace the Inner Fender? 

A new set can easily cost you over $85 for low-end ones made from aluminum. However, for anywhere from $100 to $200, you can buy better and more stylish options. Unfortunately, the best JK inner fenders can cost over $200 for just the front set.

Photo Credit: SmokeyTheJeep.com

Can You Drive Without an Inner Fender?

Yes. While you can drive without an inner fender, you should avoid doing this. Driving without this part on your car leaves you exposed to small rocks or litter on the road that can get thrown into your engine. Additionally, you may develop engine issues resulting from poor airflow.

What is a Fender Apron?

Fender aprons are an extra measure that helps to keep water out of your fenders. This is extremely useful if you're traveling through wet, muddy, or flooded trials and roads. While a Jeep is made to withstand these environments, fender aprons work hand in hand with inner fenders to keep water out of your vehicle.

What is the Difference Between Inner Fenders and Inner Fender Liners?

These two names refer to almost the same part of your Jeep and look identical in many ways. Both items keep mud, water, and debris out of your engine and aid the airflow from it. However, the difference between these two is in their installation methods.

Cory

Cory epitomizes the 'function over form' debate. His XJ Cherokee has taken many a beating due to his lust for climbing the tallest ledges he can find and is armored to the max. Welded on sliders, tube fenders, and no bumpers allow him to achieve some pretty crazy approaches. We regularly tease him that there's more rust than paint on his rig, but that’s his style. Cory's favorite new mod is a larger winch he bought off a buddy after his Smitty cooked itself, trying to yank his buddy out of a ravine.