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Just bought a 2013 Outback. Are the available optional dealer installed fender flares cosmetic only? Live in a heavily salted road area in the winter and rust is a MAJOR concern.
Will the flares trap water/salt and be a breeding ground for corrosion or might they prevent rusting?
 

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They are actually called wheel arch moldings.
Many opinions await you on this subject.
I didn't put them on mine for pure aesthetic reasons.
 

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I have put them on last weekend. Actually, they protect the wheel arch from dings and such and are more for a protection rather than cosmetic. They attach with clips to the fender at most points (no rusting issues there) except at 2 spots; one of those spots are pre-drilled holes in the rear fender, therefore no rust issue there, because holes are already there; the second one is actual drilling to the front fender but with right kind of rust protector, the rusting issue isn't there either. The way they are designed, they will not trap anything....
 

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They came on my car. I like em purely for aesthetic reasons. I took the rear ones off when I installed my hitch, and I don't think they could hold any water or debris to cause rusting.
 

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Yep - they are quite expensive for 4 pieces of black plastic... but they add a nice "fullness" to the car. I saw them on Volvos and others and now, when I see a Subaru without it, it kind of looks "bare"... it is indeed a cosmetic feature that also has some protection value when you are in parking lot and someone next to you opens a door without looking....
 

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My arch moldings are being installed tomorrow. Paid $335, $80 to have them installed--about an hour job at the local Subaru Body Shop where I bought my OB---service center doesnt do it. This should finish up my upgrades---remote Smart start, hood and moon roof deflector, and Curt Class III trailer hitch.
 

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Curt, U-haul, Hidden Hitch and others, all manufactured by the same company: Sequent. They have about 90% of the hitch aftermarket ... they make hitches for various vendors (including Subaru)...
 

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Roof cargo carriers are similar---Voyager, SportRack--made by Yakima. The only difference on my model from 3 others on the market is the sticker.....and price.
 

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Correction 2013OB: Subaru roof top box is made by Thule exclusively for Subaru! The Thule box costs about twice as much as Subaru box but it has "quick push connect" brackets while the Subaru box has just regular U-type brackets with butterfly nuts from the inside the box. I have one (Subaru) ....paid $ 199 for it ....
Roof rack for 2013 OB (with swing out cross bars) is made by another supplier as I have mentioned in an earlier post.
 

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Correction 2013OB: Subaru roof top box is made by Thule exclusively for Subaru! The Thule box costs about twice as much as Subaru box but it has "quick push connect" brackets while the Subaru box has just regular U-type brackets with butterfly nuts from the inside the box. I have one (Subaru) ....paid $ 199 for it ....
Roof rack for 2013 OB (with swing out cross bars) is made by another supplier as I have mentioned in an earlier post.

You are correct about Thule as I am looking at the boxes as I speak at the Subaru dealership while Im getting my arch moldings installed. My cargo box has nothing to do with Subaru or Thule and purchased over 2 years ago and had it on my Navigator. :D

I bought my "Vogager XL" model 2 years ago from REI--its 18sf. Vogager XL was sold by Pepboys. REI's drop ship warehouse accidently shipped me the Pepboys model (I may have said Sears earlier but they have/had the exact same box at one point) because that warehouse ships out a few of the OEM Yakima cargo boxes with the only difference being sticker. I should have had a "SportRack" sticker on the box.

This is exactly what I have below. Think the final cost was about $220, after a refund giving by REI for this mistake in shipping the wrong "sticker". I think Pepboys was selling them for right around $200 or so.

 

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You are correct about Thule as I am looking at the boxes as I speak at the Subaru dealership while Im getting my arch moldings installed. My cargo box has nothing to do with Subaru or Thule and purchased over 2 years ago and had it on my Navigator. :D

I bought my "Vogager XL" model 2 years ago from REI--its 18sf. Vogager XL was sold by Pepboys. REI's drop ship warehouse accidently shipped me the Pepboys model (I may have said Sears earlier but they have/had the exact same box at one point) because that warehouse ships out a few of the OEM Yakima cargo boxes with the only difference being sticker. I should have had a "SportRack" sticker on the box.

This is exactly what I have below. Think the final cost was about $220, after a refund giving by REI for this mistake in shipping the wrong "sticker". I think Pepboys was selling them for right around $200 or so.

Voyager XL Aero XL SportRack Cargo Roof Box - YouTube
I am going to test the push-on quick connect Thule hardware. I will order one and see, if the holes in Subaru box match. If they do, I order the other 3 so that I can "quick" connect and disconnect the box from the aero bars....One thing though, the Subaru box you can only access from the back while the identical (size-wise) Thule box you can access from either side! I finally figured out, how to access it - step up on the rear tire and you can load it from the back. Otherwise you almost need a step ladder to access it from the back. Aren't the arch moldings cool?
 
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