Fender Flare Buyer's Guide
- Fender flares keep your car free of mud and damage from stones and debris, especially while you’re driving off-road.
- Fender flares give the right mix of functionality and aesthetics to your car.
- There are four main types of fender flares, each suited for a different style and safety need.
- Consider your car’s make, model, and year when choosing a fender flare.
- The number of fender flares in a set, their measurement, finish, design, and installation difficulty are also factors you’ll need to consider before buying your own.
- Fender flares range from $3 to $850 and are available on CarParts.com. Just enter your vehicle’s correct make, model, and year to choose from our wide selection.
The last thing you want while on a drive is your car getting damaged without you knowing. Some minor scratches are really unavoidable especially when you’re driving off-road.
But in the long run, cleaning the mud and debris off your car and repairing scratches every time you go off-road isn’t very cost-efficient. There’s a way to minimize scratches, minor dents, and potential damage to your and to other vehicles—and that’s by installing fender flares.
What is a fender flare?
A fender flare is an accessory that stops mud and other debris from splashing and potentially scratching the body of your car. Fender flares fit directly over the wheel, lining the trunk from above the wheel to right below the door. They’re mostly made of pressed and formed sheet metal, though there are rubber, carbon fiber, and fiberglass ones, too.
Fender flares can be installed on almost every vehicle, particularly trucks and SUVs. They don’t only provide added protection, they can also boost a car’s aesthetics. In addition, they’re designed to fit with your vehicle’s natural contours. These and the fact they’re pretty easy to install make them one of the most popular auto accessories out there.
Why do you need fender flares?
Anyone looking for a unique look for their truck or SUV. should consider getting a custom fender flare set. Off-road enthusiasts will also tell you that these are essential accessories, in part because of their aesthetics, but largely because it’s practical to have them.
There’s a real possibility of flinging rocks and other debris at vehicles behind you if you don’t have the proper protective equipment. Getting fender flares is more affordable than getting a full-on paint job or paying for any damage to another person’s car.
Fender flares also hide rust and damage around the wheel well. It’s a nifty trick that keeps your car looking good as new before you can repair or replace the damaged and rusted parts.
Lastly, you should think about getting a fender flare if your state requires it. Some states require flares that cover the full tire as a safety precaution. Usually, this requirement is enforced on vehicles with large tires. That’s because large tires pick up loose rocks and other debris that can damage someone else’s windshield or hood. You can go to your state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) to find out more about these regulations.
Different fender flare styles
Fender flares come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and finishes. There are four main styles. There’s the pocket/bolt/rivet style, the extended or extra wide style, the OE style, and the street-style. The four styles function in the same way, but they’re optimized for specific wheel and car types. Selecting the design and finish, on the other hand, is a matter of personal preference.
Pocket/ bolt/ rivet style
Pocket style fender flares give the toughest protection and the most rugged “off-road” look. These fender flares come with “pockets” where bolts are placed in. This gives the fender flare the appearance of having been bolted onto the car body. In reality, however, there’s no real need for installation using drills. This style and most others are fastened using fender flare clips that come with the flares.
This style gives you the maximum protection that pocket style fender flares have, minus the bolted look. These are very popular with off-road enthusiasts and people who just want to get the job done without looking too rugged.
OE fender flare style
OE fender flares make your car look seamless and fresh without affecting its factory look. These fender flares can hide minor body rust or damage.
Street-style fender flare
These fender flares have a smaller profile than OE-style fender flares. Street-style offers a sleek and low-profile appearance for your vehicle. This style is ideal for people who want to go for that classy, show-room style.
Things to consider when buying a replacement fender flare a fender flare for you
There are several factors to consider when choosing the right fender flare for your vehicle. Below are just some of the things you need to keep in mind when buying a replacement fender flare:
Choosing the right fender flare for you will mostly depend on your vehicle’s year, make, model. That’s because fender flares are extensions of your vehicle and are designed to be custom fit. You don’t want any gaps between your fender flares and your fender.
Protection and Coverage
Your fender flare should also provide you with the fullest amount of protection. It should also comply with your state’s road safety regulations. Design is also a major factor in choosing the right fender flare for you. Your choice should suit your vehicle customization plans and your overall style needs.
An equally important factor in choosing a fender flare is the coverage. You’ll need to pay close attention to the height of the fender flare and the tire coverage or how far out the flares should protrude from your car.
Your fender flare’s height is measured from the top of the fender. Note that measurement varies slightly because of your vehicle’s body curves. Getting the right fender flare height ensures that there’s enough to cover and hide rust and body damage on your car.
On the other hand, tire coverage is important for larger tires, as we’ve shown above. So you’ll definitely have to look up your state’s road safety laws regarding tire coverage.
Material and Finish
As for the material, fender flares are usually manufactured from durable plastic, and this can mean anything from ABS to polyurethane. Fiberglass is also commonly used. If you have big, chunky tires, then go for fender flares that are specifically made for heavy-duty applications to keep road splashes from mucking up your vehicle's shiny sides. Most importantly, get UV-resistant fender flares, as plastic tends to deteriorate quickly under the heat of the sun.
Get a set of ready-to-paint fender flares if you want them to match your vehicle's look. Most fender flares are black, but some are also available in OEM colors to save you the hassle of having the flares repainted.
Fender flares can be sold in the market as front- or rear-only sets. People whose cars have been through collisions usually opt for these sets. However, there are also full 4-piece sets available as well.
As for installation, most fender flares can easily be attached using clips or other fasteners that are included in the set. Some sets may require drilling and can be quite challenging to install. There are a lot of tutorials on how to install fender flares online, so you don’t have to worry much about this bit.
How much does a replacement fender flare cost?
Fender flare prices range from $3 to $850. This will depend on your car’s year, make, and model. It will also depend on the design, the specific set you need, and the installation method required.
You can find the best fender flares for you at CarParts.com. Make sure you enter your vehicle’s correct year, make, and model, to narrow down your search. Browse through our selection of fender flare replacement parts and find the right one for your truck or SUV.
Steps in Replacing a Fender Flare
Installing fender flares is one of the easiest ways to add style and protection to your vehicle. Whether you're an off-road enthusiast or you just want a more customized and rugged look for your ride, fender flares are great exterior accessories. Aside from adding width to the wheel wells, these flares also protect the sides of your vehicle from damage. Rocks, mud, and other potentially harmful road elements may chip off the paint job and bring unsightly dents to your vehicle panels. Install fender flares to maintain your ride's shiny and polished look. Here are the tools you'll need and the steps in installing fender flares:
Difficulty level: Easy
Tools that you need:
- Safety glasses
- Protective body equipment (gloves)
- Drill and metal drill bits
- 3/8-inch adjustable ratchet and socket set
Step 1: Prepare the fender flares for installation. The preparation process may include painting the flares to match your vehicle and cleaning it to remove grease or any other residue. Wash the interior of the wheel wells.
Step 2: Remove the bolts from old fender flares using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set. Reach behind the fender to access these bolts more easily.
Step 3: Align the new fender flare against your vehicle's body to check if it fits correctly. The front edge must be aligned with the bumper, while the lower portion must be aligned with the bottom of the fender.
Step 4: Drill holes for the new fender flares. You may drill bits if your car doesn't have pre-drilled holes for fender flare installation yet.
Step 5: New fender flares come with double-sided adhesive tapes, so you can easily install them on the wheel wells. Press the flare flat against the wheel well's under-lip for a few minutes to ensure the adhesive sticks properly.
Step 6: Fit the new fender flares tightly into the holes you drilled and bolt them securely using a set of mounting screws.
Installation takes about 10 to 15 minutes for each fender flare.