Fender Flares: Should I Get OE-Style or Off-Road Style?


BY Emelie S.

Fender flares protect your paint and finish by absorbing the inevitable blows of flying road-debris and rocks. These shields come in many styles, and finding the perfect one for you depends on two things – where you drive the most and what kind of look you’re after. In this article, we go over the different factory and off-road styles of fender flares to help you find that one that suits your needs.


1. Pocket-Style Fender Flares

Pocket-style fender flares offer a look that’s close to stock. If you’re rarely off-roads and are after a seamless appearance, these components might meet all your requirements. For a more custom look, you can also paint-match most pocket-style fenders to your vehicle’s color.

Another characteristic is that most are easy to bolt-on and offer a tailored fit for your year, make and model, greatly reducing the need for sanding, drilling and filing.

An alternative to pocket-style fender flares are flat fender flares. They offer factory finishes for your Jeep, while also providing tire clearance. Check out these flat and rivet-style fenders from Rugged Ridge and Rampage.


2. Painted Fender Flares

Most people won’t notice your painted fender flares, but you still benefit from the same caliber of protection. They come in sport, rivet and cutout styles and factory finishes that are either smooth or textured. Completely matched to your vehicle’s coat and color, these fender flares also offer rust protection and UV-resistance.

Painted fender flares are also easy to install because they match your stock mounting holes, although most don’t need to be drilled-in since they offer more of an aesthetic appeal. Some also provide significant tire clearance, like these fender flares from TrueEdge which offer up to 2” of coverage.


3. Street-Style Fender Flares

Street-style fender flares give your truck or SUV more of a rugged look, but aren’t overly wide. They’re easy to install and they protect your ride from harsh weather conditions and road hazards without cracking or warping.

While some are good for off-road use because of their extra tire-clearance, street-style fenders are known for their low-profile flare and rugged looks. Some even offer custom paint-matching.


4. Extra-Wide Fender Flares

If rock-crawling is more than a hobby for you, or if you’ve decked out your tires, you’ll want to consider a set of extra-wide fender flares. They offer ample tire clearance and protect your vehicle, regardless of the terrain you choose to explore on any given day.

You can quickly get your setup together with a kit, like this one from Bushwacker that offers fender flares up to 3” wide and includes all the necessary hardware for mounting. Or, if you’d like to dip your toe in DIY waters, you can get these Lund Elite Series EX- ExtraWide Style Fender Flares and customize them to match your vehicle’s look with primer and paint.

Whichever style you choose will be a small investment to protect your paint coat for years to come. Need more options? Head on over to our collection of exterior accessories and arm your ride for the road.