Miata Fender Rolling

After some spirited driving on California State Rout 1 and US 101 on a road trip, I saw and heard that the front tires and fenders were rubbing. There are some curvy roads and steep banked turns through the redwood forests on that route, and when loading up the front suspension while turning and dipping into a turn the edge of the tire was catching on the fender lip. The photos show two spots along the fender edge where the tire pulled the lip down out of shape.

These original fenders are pretty rough from years of door dings and some hail damage, so I bought the cheapest fender roller and got to work. When the Miata eventually goes for a new paint job, new fenders might be in-order, so there was not much to lose here. The goal was not to stretch the fender out at all, only to fold the inner lip up enough that it wouldn’t catch on the tire. I ended up folding it nearly flat, but with enough room that the inner fender liner could still be attached.

For reference, the Miata has 14×7 + 28mm Enkei RPF1 wheels with 195/60R-14 Falken Azenis RT615K+ tires. I never noticed any rubbing for 4+ years with this this combination, until this specific road trip.

Obviously, the name-brand Eastwood fender roller would have been better, but I wanted to see how the half-price version fared for this one-time job.

The most important tip I read was to use plenty of heat with a heat gun to keep the fender warm and the paint flexible throughout the whole job. I was very meticulous and careful to only roll the fender lip a tiny bit at a time.

There’s a great TheCarPassionChannel video on fender rolling. And another one from Keith at Flyin’ Miata.

Fender lip caught by the tire
Fender lip pulled by the tire while turning under heavy suspension load
Passenger side fender lip before rolling
Fender roller mounted to hub with included conical washers and lug nuts
Fender roller near its shortest setting for small Miata wheel wells
Fender rolling
Rolling the fender lip
Neatly rolled fender lip
ATPEAM Heavy Duty Fender Roller Tool Lip Rolling Extending Tool$43

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