With all the body modification parts out there that can be put on your Jeep or truck, do you ever wonder which ones are really need and which just look good?
Among those questionable parts are fender flares, which can look pretty awesome but are they money well spent?
Truthfully, fender flares might be a little of both.
If you are a serious off-road driver, it might be might be something to consider depending on what mods have already been added like an open fender system or suspension lift.
What Are Fender Flares?
Usually made of either metal or durable plastic, fender flares are extensions mounted around the outer edge of a vehicle’s front and/or rear fenders.
Available on some stock makes, flares are used on 4WD and off-road vehicles to either enhance the appearance to look more off-road ready or to function as an extension of the fender.
They are also used in conjunction with off-road open fenders when standard fenders are removed for functional reasons.
What Is The Function of Fender Flares?
Aesthetic fender flares just look cool.
They make any truck look more rugged or sporty than it might be even though they mostly serve no functional purpose on a standard fender.
On the other hand, functional fender flares do more than look good.
Installed along the edges of cut back or open fenders, fender flares provide some important protection to the sides of your vehicle when using open fenders.
Usually, the choice to go with open fenders is made in conjunction with a suspension lift and the addition of considerably larger tires that are 38” or greater, since tires this big can interfere under the fender.
When the fenders that guard the body from debris thrown up by the tires are removed, all that protection is gone.
Fender flares added around the edge of open fenders extend some protection again to reduce damage from debris.
Fender flares are also commonly used on standard fenders when adding wider tires if the tires extend beyond the protective reach of the stock fender.
What Are the Different Fender Flare Style Choices?
There are a few different fender flare styles available depending on what you actually do with your off-road vehicle:
- Street Style- These flares are fairly small and mostly for appearance as they look flashy but install pretty close to the existing fender.
- Bolt Style - Whether in street style or off-road style, simple bolt-on fender flares are good either to enhance appearance or extend a little more protection around stock fenders when planning to go off-road and you do not want to actually remove or cut the stock fenders.
- Extended Style - These off-road style fender flares designed to cover around open fenders installed to provide greater wheel clearance and more articulation are usually either welded, bolted, or riveted onto the fender opening depending on the flare construction.
Fender Flares - Function or Flair?
So the initial question still remains - should you add fender flares to your Jeep or truck?
If you have done a suspension lift or want to use tires that are considerably bigger than stock, installing open fenders may be required.
Then yes, you definitely should add fender flares around those open fenders to protect the paint and body when going off-road.
If no mods are planned but you just think they look cool, still go for it.
In the latter case, if you have the cash to spare and aesthetics are important, why not