Wondering what fender flares are? Maybe someone said you should look into fixing them on your truck? If you’re not sure where to begin, we’re here to help! Having thoroughly researched this topic, we’ll explain what fender flares are and help you decide if you need to install them on your truck, or not.
Fender trucks are those protruding attachments that go over the wheels of pickup trucks. While this truck modification undoubtedly enhances a truck’s aesthetic appeal, it actually serves functional and legal purposes. Fender flares help deflect debris that’s been kicked up by a truck’s tires away from the truck’s body and from other cars on the road.
Here are a few reasons you might consider getting fender flares for your truck:
- If your truck has large, oversized tires, you might be legally required to have them
- Protecting the body of your truck if you do a lot of off road driving
- Help protect other vehicles on the road
- Hiding cosmetic damage around the fender area
- Making your truck look sharper and more aggressive
Fender flares can be a great accessory to consider for your truck. Keep reading for more information about the utility and legality of fender flares, as well as how to install them.
When Fender Flares Are Needed
There are several different scenarios where fender flares are a good idea and even a legal requirement. Without further ado, let’s discuss when you might need them.
A Legal Requirement
Believe it or not, fender flares can actually be a legal requirement depending on the state you live in. Some states require vehicles with oversized tires to have fender flares in the interest of public safety.
Mud and rocks pose a threat to other cars on the road, and bigger, wider tires are more likely to kick up debris onto other vehicles. In some instances, debris being kicked up onto other cars can cause accidents and unwanted cosmetic damage like chipped paint and cracked windshields.
If your tires are larger than the original factory size, you’re likely required by law to have fender flares installed. To find out if fender flares are in fact a legal requirement in your state, check your local laws.
Protecting Your Truck and Other Vehicles
As we mentioned, fender flares act as a deflector that prevents road debris from being thrown at other vehicles. This accessory also protects your truck from similar damage.
When driving down the road, while you might not notice it, your truck’s tires are slinging dirt and debris onto the vehicle’s body. This is particularly noticeable after driving in mud or on loose gravel. This is even worse with bigger tires. Fender flares actually keep this road debris from hitting and damaging the truck’s body. The flare simply deflects the debris away from the truck.
For this reason, fender flares can provide positive utility on any truck, even more so if your truck has bigger tires.
Hide Fender Damage
If your fender has severe cosmetic damage around the fender area, you might consider covering it up with fender flares. This accessory can give your truck a unique, like-new appearance that will take some years off your truck’s age.
An Aesthetic Feature
Over time, fender flares have become more popular among truck drivers, even on smaller trucks with stock tires. In this way, fender flares have become an aesthetic statement.
Even if your truck doesn’t need them, you might consider installing fender flares to give your ride a sharp, clean, sporty look. Stay tuned to learn how to install them.
Types of Fender Flares
There are several different types of fender flares on the market. We’ll briefly discuss each type and what makes them unique.
Pocket/Bolt Style Fender Flares
Pocket or bolt style fender flares are characterized by the visible bolts that attach them to the truck.
This style is commonly found on bigger trucks. Many people opt for these because they offer substantial protection while giving the truck an aggressive look.
Surprisingly, the installation process for bolt style fender flares isn’t particularly involved. Despite their name and appearance, most of the bolts don’t actually attach to the truck’s body at all. Most of these flares attach underneath the fender just like the other kinds. Additionally, modern fender flares are custom made for each vehicle, which makes the installation process much easier.
Here are some of the best bolt style fender flares on the market:
1. Bushwacker 30918-02 Pocket Style Black Fender Flare
This traditional bolt style fender flare will give your truck an aggressive accent. Reviewers like the fact that these are very easy to install.
Be sure to check to see if this particular product fits your vehicle.
2. EAG Styleside Bed Fender Flares
These fender flares are an aesthetic and functional addition to any Ford F150. Reviewers say that these are easy to install and that they’re a great value.
Street Style Fender Flares
Street style fender flares have a more low profile look, but they still providing adequate protection from road debris.
This particular style is great for someone that wants the added protection of fender flares without them looking too prominent or aggressive.
Street style fender flares are the easiest to install. No drilling is required, and they can generally be installed in just a few minutes.
Here are some of the best street style fender flares on the market:
1. The Original EZ Flares Universal Flexible Foam Rubber Fender Flares 1-Inch
This product is undeniably the best overall value when it comes to low profile fender flares. They’re affordable, but they offer ample functionality and protection. These flares are made from hard, durable foam.
Reviewers say that these flares are easy to install and that they look just like conventional, hard plastic flares.
2. Monkey Autosports Factory/OE Style Fender Flares
This product by Autosports will give your truck a clean but modest look and all the protection of a fender flare.
Reviewers say that these flares adhere to the truck well and that the installation process is easy.
Extended/Wide Style Fender Flares
Wide style fender flares are for off-road enthusiasts that regularly need maximum protection from debris. These flares stick out much wider than the others we’ve mentioned, and they’ll make your truck look a lot wider as well.
Wide fender flares are common on lifted trucks with huge tires.
Depending on the wide fender flare, some require drilling through the vehicle’s body.
Here are some of the best-extended style fender flares on the market:
1. The Original EZ Flares Universal Flexible Foam Rubber Fender Flares 2-Inch
This product is the exact same as the 1 inch model except for the fact that this one boasts of 2 inches of extended protection. For this reason, it belongs in the extended fender flares category. These flares are made of the same material as their 1-inch counterparts.
Reviewers say that this product is easy to install and offers ample protection from road debris.
2. Husky Liners Long John Flares 6IN Wide – Universal
These particular flares are unique in that they are completely flat. These flares aren’t trying to make an aesthetic statement but rather provide complete utility. This product is sure to offer ample protection from road debris.
Reviewers like the pure functionality that these fender flares offer.
Fender flares vs. Mud flaps
At this point you might be thinking, don’t fender flares and mud flaps serve the same purpose? Well, yes and no. Mudflaps keep mud, rocks, and debris from being slung backward onto your truck and the vehicles behind you. The problem is, this debris is often kicked up at an angle, in such a way that mud flaps simply can’t deflect it.
This is where fender flares come in. They help deflect the rocks and mud that has been thrown up at an angle.
For maximum protection from road debris, it’s recommended that both fender flares and mud flaps be installed if your truck has bigger tires. Even with stock sized tires, these accessories can prove beneficial by adding another level of safety for other drivers on the road.
Do Fender Flares Prevent Rust
Some people believe fender flares prevent rust and corrosion. We’ll set the record straight and address this issue.
Believe it or not, fender flares can actually cause your vehicle’s fenders to rust. I know, it seems counter-intuitive. Actually, water, road salt, and other debris can become trapped between the fender flare and the truck’s body. Over time, this can cause rust and other corrosion to form.
To prevent this from happening, it’s recommended to periodically remove the fender flares to thoroughly clean the inside of them and the paint around the fender. This will keep the space between the flare and the truck dry and clean.
Luckily, most modern fender flares come with weather stripping that adds a level of protection against this. The stripping lines the top of the flare, which makes it more difficult for debris to make its way inside.
Overall, fender flares are an excellent accessory for any truck. They’ll make any truck look more aggressive, and they’ll protect your truck and other vehicles on the road from mud, rocks, and debris.
The best part is, in the modern automotive accessory market, there are fender flares available for any truck. Additionally, this accessory is generally easy to install.
We hope this guide helped you better understand what fender flares are and when you should consider getting some.