Fender flares are more than just flair for your truck or 4X4. While they do
undeniably alter the look of your
vehicle, fender flares can also improve your vehicle’s functionality and help
keep it in better shape. If you’re in
the market for a mod that’s easy to install and can change both the looks and
performance of your rig, then fender
flares are a fantastic option.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting your vehicle to look good. Considering the
amount of time and effort we pour into
our rides, it’s only natural that we want them to look as good as possible.
On many rigs, fender flares are the missing ingredient to their overall
appearance. Especially on lifted and
otherwise visibly upgraded vehicles, a nice set of fender flares can tie
everything together. They can make larger
wheels and tires more visible, add a dash of color around each of the wheels, or
just make the car seem wider. If
you are restoring a classic truck, fender flares can also be a good way to cover
up any tricky rust spots on the
Some fender flares do have a bad reputation, however. There are plenty of images
of DIY fender flares that are poorly
painted, haphazardly attached, or are just downright ugly. Don’t let those less
than stellar examples cloud your
judgment. There are plenty of fantastic looking examples of fender flares out
there. For example, look at CJ's
Sema F-150 Project.
What Are Fender Flares For?
Beyond just the looks, there are several practical uses for fender flares (if you
don’t consider improving your
vehicle’s look a practical thing). Similar to splash guards, fender flares can
keep mud, dirt, and water from being
flung underneath your wheel wells. This is a particularly useful function of
fender flares. Many oversized tires
will have deep grooves. While deep grooves are great for off-road traction, they
are experts at flinging debris into
your wheel wells.
Let’s just say, if you ever want to go mudding, then fender flares can help cut
your post-mudding hose-down time a
lot! In our JL
Hemi-Swap YouTube series, we saw firsthand how difficult it is to clean
dirty Jeep Wrangler wheel
Maybe you’re into a completely mud-covered vehicle, however. If that’s the case,
there are still plenty of reasons
for you to want to install fender flares on your truck or 4X4 rig.
A big reason (pun intended) that many owners decide to install fender flares is
so that they can run larger wheels
and tires on their rig. Many of the wheel wells that come stock on trucks and
SUVs can be unfortunately restrictive.
If your tires ever rub on your vehicle’s wheel wells, then a set of fender flares
is a great upgrade option for you.
Rubbing can eventually cause some pretty serious damage to both your tires and
Finally, in some states, there are legal requirements for tire coverage. If you
have wheels that extend outside the
wheel well, then you could be driving illegally. Even if you have no clearance
issues with your oversized tires, you
might want a set of fender flares just to avoid the potential legal hassle.
Styles Of Fender Flares
These are the quintessential aftermarket fender flares. Their bolt-on style
immediately sends the message that you
aren’t afraid to seriously wrench on your vehicle and get it into tip-top shape.
This style of fender flare is
sometimes called a “bolt style” flare because of the prominent bolts attaching
them to the vehicle.
Pocket style flares provide a lot of coverage, so if you are trying to hide any
body damage or rust, these are a great option. Additionally, the visible bolts
add a dash of toughness to your truck or 4X4's exterior.
OE style fender flares are more designed to blend into your vehicle’s profile.
They are considerably more sleek and
subtle than pocket style fender flares, and for the most part, appear to be a
stock part of the vehicle. These are
best for covering up a little damage and giving a small (but noticeable
nonetheless) appearance boost to your ride.
These are some of the most subtle types of fender flares. For the most part, they
blend seamlessly into the vehicle's exterior. If you are a fan of the often
overlooked parts of truck and SUV design, then these are the fender flares for
you. While people won't necessarily notice these flares, they will surely notice
an improvement. It's similar to when you get a light hair trim. You haven't
gotten a whole new cut per se, but your hair is surely looking nicer.
These are the type of fender flares that are the recipient of a lot of jokes.
There’s nothing wrong with extended
fender flares, they only happen to pop up on vehicles that really don’t need
them. If you’ve ever seen a needlessly
modified car, then an extra-wide set of fender flares was likely a part of the
equation. That all being said,
there’s nothing wrong with this style of fender.
If you are running oversized tires and wheels, then these flares can give you the
coverage that you need. The
overhang on top of the tire can catch the debris flung from the tires more
effectively. Additionally, they can help vehicles with wider wheel offsets
remain legal in states with tire coverage laws. Be careful if you want to
off-road with extended flares however. If they aren’t at the
correct height, however, they can place a limit on wheel travel.
This type of fender flare is similar to OE style flares but with a sleeker, lower
profile appearance. These are a touch more recognizable as an upgraded component
as they can really show off oversized tires and wheels.
These are the types of flares that can really help you get a "wow" reaction out
of your truck or 4X4. The larger space under the wheel wells really accentuates
your vehicle's tires and suspension systems. For lifted vehicles, these flares make all of
your suspension mods upfront and visible.
Are Fender Flares Worth It?
Fender flares aren’t for every truck and 4X4, but there are many vehicles that
they can absolutely transform. If you
want to spruce up your truck and provide a bit of rust protection while you’re
at it, then fender flares are
certainly worth it.
All in all, fender flares are a quick and easy mod to install that offer
immediate benefits. From the additional tire clearance to a spiffier looking
truck or SUV, fender flares can offer plenty of different things for your ride.
Here at CJ Off-Road, we have a great selection of fender flares for your truck
or Jeep Wrangler, so be sure to check them out!