Your car’s fenders are vital to making sure that your tires are not kicking up any sort of dirt or debris that could damage not only your car but other passing vehicles as well. But you probably already knew that. What you might not have known, however, is that if you are driving a truck or SUV, your fenders may not be getting the job done. This is where a car fender flare comes in.
In this piece, we will look at the purposes of fender flares on cars as well as the process of choosing the right flares for your vehicle.
What Are Fender Flares?
Generally used on trucks and SUVs, fender flares are simply extensions of your vehicle’s fenders, and they can serve a variety of purposes. For one, they can hide any rust or damage around the wheel well as well as replace damaged fender flares that came with the vehicle. Also, if your vehicle has particularly large tires, fender flares can be necessary for providing the right amount of tire coverage. State law requires that a vehicle’s fenders cover a certain portion of exposed tires, so you should be sure to look up your state’s Vehicle Equipment Laws to avoid any fines associated with this.
Lastly, fender flares can be used to add some style to your vehicle, giving it that luxury car appearance.
The 4 Different Styles of Fender Flares
While you can always pick up universal fender flares for cars, there are four distinct styles of fender flares that you should also consider, depending on what sort of look and purpose you are going for.
- OE Style
If you are looking for something that has a customized look while also still maintaining that fresh off the lot aesthetic, OE style fender flares may be the way to go. If you plan on using OE style flares, it is important to note that they are not made to dealership specifications, and, therefore, will not have the same drilling holes as a factory fender flare. This is something to keep in mind before beginning the installation process.
- Street Style
Street style flares are similar to OE style flares, though they do not provide as much wheel protection. On the other hand, they are usually purchased because of their sleeker appearance.
- Pocket/Bolt Style
Pocket/bolt style fender flares are for trucks or SUVs with much bigger tires, so these bad boys will provide you with plenty of tire coverage. If you want your flares to attract a lot of attention from passing drivers, this is the style for you. Known for their rugged design, these fender flares got their name because they have several pockets that are set into the flare and a bolt drilled into each pocket, though this is just for appearance and does not require any added installation work.
- Extended Style
Extended style fender flares offer the same type of protection as the pocket/bolt style, but without the over-the-top rugged aesthetic.
Installing Fender Flares
The fender flare installation process is actually a fairly simple one. There is usually no cutting or drilling involved, and flare manufacturers will typically provide you with an easy-to-follow installation guide. All told, installing all four fender flares should not take longer than an hour. It is really only a matter of making sure each flare lines up with the corresponding holes, placing the flare bolts through the holes, and tightening the bolts securely into place. You could also apply double-sided tape (usually provided with most fender flare kits) to the back of each fender flare for added security.
While the process is generally this simple, be sure you read a description of the fender flares before you buy them. There are some that do require drilling, specifically if your truck or SUV did not originally come equipped with fender flares.
Picking the Best Fender Flares for You
Before purchasing fender flares for your car, it is important to do the appropriate amount of research. First of all, you should probably determine why you are looking to buy fender flares in the first place. Are they for looks? Utility? Both? This will play an ultimate role in what style and design of fender flares you end up going with.
You will also need to take the make and model of your car into consideration. Not all fender flares are created equal, and you do not want to be picking up fender flares meant for a Chevy jeep when you drive a Ford truck. It is also crucial that you pay special attention to the fender flare manufacturer’s listing before purchase as some flares come in packages of two while others come in packages of four.
All in all, as long as you do your due diligence before buying, you could end up driving away with fender flares that can protect your car and maybe even turn some heads in the process.