What Is A Car Fender? And how is that different from a bumper?

Newly repainted car fender, What Is A Fender On A Car?Regardless of whether you're a new driver or have been on the road for decades, at some point you've probably heard someone refer to a car's fender. Or perhaps you got in a "fender-bender." But what exactly is this part of a car? We've done all the research to bring you the answer.

A fender is the curved portion of the car's body that sits over and houses the wheels. 

If you still have some questions about a car's fenders, don't worry. In this guide, we'll talk more about the purpose of fenders, the difference between a bumper and a fender, and more. Just keep reading!

What Is The Purpose Of A Fender On A Car?

The purpose of a fender is pretty simple. Its purpose is to keep mud, rocks, and other road debris from being thrown around by the tires. In other words, the fender is a housing for the wheels that keeps road debris contained. If there was nothing covering the wheels, all kinds of debris would be kicked up by the rotating tires.

The fender not only protects your car from sustaining damage from road debris but it prevents this debris from being thrown up at other vehicles on the road. This is why vehicles with large, oversized tires are often required by law to install fender flares. Want to learn more about this automotive accessory? Check out this post: What Are Fender Flares [And Do You Need Them For Your Truck?]

What Is The Difference Between A Fender And A Bumper?

If you're unfamiliar with automotive terminology, there might be some confusion about the difference between a fender and a bumper. Let's clear up any confusion.

A bumper is located on the front and rear of a vehicle. The purpose of a bumper is to absorb the impact of minor collisions.

In the early days of the automobile, bumpers were a more distinct component that was noticeably separate from the rest of the car's body. But as automotive technology advanced, bumpers became more integrated with the rest of the car's body. The purpose of the modern bumper remains the same, but the bumpers on many vehicles (namely sedans and crossovers) are less visually noticeable than they once were.

As mentioned, a fender is merely a housing for the wheels that prevents road debris from being thrown up by the rotating tires. However, fenders are also able to absorb impact from minor collisions. In this way, the fender can act as an extension of the bumper in terms of its ability to absorb the energy from a collision.

How Do You Replace A Fender?

Technician working in auto bodywork shop checking the car fender

Perhaps you got in a fender-bender that has rendered your car's fender in need of replacing. The fenders on modern cars have become more integrated with the rest of the body, but don't worry — they can be replaced just like most other automotive components.

Here we'll briefly walk you through the process of replacing a fender. Keep in mind that the process might vary slightly from vehicle to vehicle.

  1. Remove the retainers that attach the fender to the bumper (these might be screws, clips, or something similar).
  2. Lower the bumper slightly to get it out of the way.
  3. Remove anything that might be mounted near the fender such as the lights.
  4. If replacing a front fender, remove the bolts under the hood that hold the fender in place.
  5. Remove the fender.
  6. Do the reverse process to install the new fender.

While this process isn't too complicated, we highly recommend taking your vehicle to a reputable body shop to have your fender replaced. This will guarantee that the job is done right.

How Do You Fix A Dented Fender?

If your fender is only dented, there's a fairly quick fix that doesn't involve replacing the entire fender. Below we'll discuss a few methods to fix a dented fender.


If the dent is fairly small, a little bit of suction will do the trick. A simple automotive dent puller like this one can quickly and easily remove smaller dents.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

Hot Water

If the fender is plastic, hot water is another simple solution. Boil some water and pour it over the dented area to soften the plastic. Then, push the dent out from behind. If you use this method, the affected area likely won't look exactly like it did before, but the dent will be repaired nonetheless.

What Is A Fender Cover?

A fender cover is a piece of material designed to be draped over a car's front fender for when you need to do some work under the hood. This cover keeps the fender area from being scratched and scuffed as you lean over the car.

If you do any work under the hood of your vehicle, a fender cover is a worthwhile investment. Check out this list of great fender covers on the market.

1. Performance Tool Fender Cover

This cover by Performance Tool is made out of heavy-duty vinyl with a foam backing for added durability and protection. It also has built-in tool pockets for your convenience. This cover measures 33 inches by 24 inches.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

2. Reizen Tech Magnetic Fender Cover

This fender cover by Reizen Tech is made out of durable high-quality materials, and it has a soft inner padding that's sure to keep your vehicle protected. It also has 8 strong magnets that will hold it securely in place while you work under the hood. This cover measures 32 inches by 24 inches.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

3. OEM TOOLS Vinyl Fender Cover

This fender cover by OEM TOOLS is made out of rugged heavy gauge writing a paper vinyl. It features a tool ridge that conveniently holds your tools in place while you work under the hood. As an added bonus, this fender cover is available in black and green. It measures 27 inches by 34 inches.

Click here to see more on Amazon.

In Closing

We hope this guide has helped you better understand what fenders are and what purpose they serve. For more helpful automotive information, be sure to check out these other guides:

What Is A Car Chassis? What Every Driver Should Know

What Is A High-Profile Vehicle?

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