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Choosing the Best Fender Flares for Your Vehicle

Choosing the Best Fender Flares for Your Vehicle

9 minute read

The best fender flares for your off-road truck or SUV do more than just look good–they provide vital protection to your vehicle when the terrain gets roughest. A popular off-roading modification, more and more factory off-road packages come with a flare of some type, but they may not be sufficient for heavy off-roading use. Adding them once you get the vehicle home is a popular customization project, but not all fender flares are created equal. It’s important to understand the various types of fender flares available, their benefits, and how to choose the right one for your build.

When A Flare Isn’t A Flare

It’s necessary to know that while you may have a “flare side” box on your truck or your body panels may have a flare to their design, fender flares still have a place in your build. These design elements are added by manufacturers to create a certain look for the vehicle. In many cases, that look is meant to be a more rugged, off-road style look. While the best fender flares are added elements that protect your body panels, however, these manufacturer-molded body elements are your body panels. As rugged as they look, they need just as much protection as flat or “fleetside” panels do. It not only pays off in less maintenance work needed for upkeep and fewer repairs but in a higher resale value when you get ready to sell your build and move on to your next project.

Fender Flare Benefits

Fender flares are part of the iconic off-road look because they are one of the foundational customization elements often seen as owners prepare their vehicles to take on mud, rocks, and rough obstacles off the road. Molded around the fender that protects your vehicle’s wheel well, their form follows their function–extending the fender out further to provide more coverage. When compared to the overall size of the vehicle, many inexperienced motorists assume they’re nothing more than a style choice, but the best fender flares are there for some very good reasons.

  • Protecting Your Vehicle From Itself - You’ve invested a lot of money in your off-road vehicle, whether it’s been heavily customized bumper to bumper or one of the types of fender flares is your only mod. As you maneuver past, around, over, and through obstacles, your tires kick up dust, dirt, debris, mud, rocks, and anything else they can find to fling into the air. Your fender helps move debris like this away from your vehicle's body, so it doesn’t hit your body panels, mirrors, or glass. When you start to go big on tires or add wheel spacers for a wider base, however, your stock fenders may not offer coverage that extends far enough for proper protection. Adding fender flares is your best bet for making sure you continue to keep your body panels safe from the hazards kicked up by your off-road vehicle’s power.
  • Protecting You From Citations - The coverage provided by your fender isn’t just to protect your vehicle, as it also protects nearby vehicles around you from as much kicked-up debris. While there may not be any other vehicles on the trail, there will be plenty on the roads to and from it. In most jurisdictions, fender coverage is required to extend far enough to cover the entire tread of the tire that comes in contact with the road. Running with exposed tires can lead to a warning, ticket, fines, and everything that goes along with them. When choosing the best fender flare for your vehicle, you want to make sure your flares are keeping you in compliance with your state and local ordinances.
  • Aesthetics - We never said they didn’t look good, just that it wasn’t the only reason for them. They do look good, though. We’ve all seen off-road trucks and SUVs running with big, wide tires and no flares, and thought to ourselves, “man, a good set of Flares will finish that build out nicely.” Finish your build, get the flares, and look good running that rubber.

Fender Flare Options

With so many manufacturers offering customization products for vehicles, it seems like there’s always something new coming to the marketplace, and the best fender flares are no different. In general, however, there are just a few types of fender flares that can be regarded as broad classifications, with plenty of variants that fall under their umbrella.

  • Street - This style is very similar to the OEM fender flares included on some vehicles, and it isn’t used a lot in off-road customization for obvious reasons. These low-profile flares provide minimal additional protection but look good enough if you keep to the pavement.
  • Bolt-On - This is the iconic fender flares look that has been turning heads for decades. Thick flares, rugged exposed bolts, and a definite attitude. Don’t worry. On most of these, your paint is untouched, and the bolts are just trim for show. The real fitment uses existing holes in the fender to secure the flare–no body-side drilling required.
  • Cut-Out - These are some of the best fender flares if you need more clearance to go along with that extra coverage. Cut-out flares actually require some body panel modification to create the wider fender opening, so they’re not for the faint of heart. The results, however, can be impressive.
  • Weld-On - These specialty flares mean business and do their job well. As you can imagine, when you’re welding on components, they’re meant to take a beating. It’s like adding permanent armor to your fenders.
  • Extended - Similar to bolt-on fender flares, this type is designed to provide even wider coverage so you can run even bigger tires with a more aggressive posture. They’re the right choice if your mantra is “go big, or go home.”

White Ford F-250 with black aftermarket fender flares

Best Fender Flare Options for Your Vehicle

While there are plenty of options when it comes to types of fender flares and the brands producing them, the best fender flares have separated themselves from the pack. Engineered for precise fitment, manufactured from durable materials, and built to give you more coverage and a great look, these top-of-the-line fender flares have a lot to offer and are designed to fit a wide range of vehicles. While specific examples are included, putting your vehicle’s make and model information in the field at the top of the page will pre-filter results to match your specific model.

  • Bushwacker Bolt-Ons - When it comes to fender flares, it’s almost as if Bushwacker isn’t interested in giving anyone else a chance. Their flares are sharp-looking, easy to install, and fairly inexpensive, making them a great value to start your custom build with. You can choose an accenting color that helps your fender stand out, but for fender flares with the best “finished” look, some owners opt to color match their vehicle.

    The Boss Pocket Fender Flare line is a great example of their products. Pocket flares are a style of bolt-ons with the trim bolts slightly recessed in pockets to accentuate their rugged look. The flares are secured using included hardware and clips that work with the holes pre-drilled in your wheel well for the fender. They take mere minutes to install and provide a professional look straight from your garage.
  • WARN Fender Flares - WARN isn’t new to off-roading, but their fender flares are relatively new to our selection and already making waves. Well known for their recovery gear and winches, their bolt-ons are vying to compete with the best fender flares on the market by taking things a step further. Designed to meet WARN’s high quality standards and manufactured to take on the off-road, the bolts on some of these bad boys are for more than just show.

    WARN 4X Fender Flares give you the complete kit for your vehicle. While they still use your existing fender bolts for fitment, these fender flares use adhesive mounts the trim bolts attach to in order to further secure the flares and reduce the chance of rattle or other noise common with some exterior upgrades. They’re still easy to install, even with the extra attachment points, but they provide a nice, solid fender flare feel for your off-roading. We’re still expanding our selection, so be sure to call and talk to one of our pros about options for your vehicle.
  • Poison Spyder - Jeeps are a different breed. The iconic body style, now stretched to not only fit the Wrangler but also the Gladiator, was made for off-roading, and they make no bones about it. Poison Spyder specializes in Jeep upgrades, and that includes fender flares. Several types of fender flares are available, including bolt-on and weld-on, as well as specialized components like corners that further armor and protect the off-road powerhouse from damage during the most aggressive maneuvering.

Add Some Flare To Your Dramatics

We’re proud to help you build a better vehicle for fearless off-roading that pushes you to your limits. With name-brand parts from the best in the business backed by our legendary old-school customer service, there’s a reason so many off-roaders make us their first stop straight from the lot and for years to come. Order the best fender flares for your off-road vehicle from Offroad Alliance today.

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