Having your tyres stick out from the body of your vehicle is illegal in most states in Australia. This is the case when your tyres have a width that is larger than usual, or the rim’s offset is reduced. Another benefit of installing them is it will protect the paintwork and panels of your vehicle. 4WD flares prevent rocks flicked by your tyres to damage the body of your vehicle or other vehicles as well.
There are also a lot of styles, textures, and colours that you can choose from which will improve the look of your vehicle.
So, do you really need to install 4WD flares? Yes, because it adds style to your vehicle, to abide with the law that requires it, to hide rust or damage around the wheels, to prevent damaging other vehicles, and to replace damaged built-in 4WD flares.
Before installing your own flares, read more to know about different styles of 4WD flares and how to install them.
What Styles Of 4WD Flares Are Available?
If you’ve decided to install 4WD flares to comply with regulations or to simply improve your vehicle’s look, you should find something that matches your taste. There are a lot of variations that are available on the market but there are only 4 main types that you should consider. These include:
- OE Style: this type of 4WD flare is meant for users who want to upgrade the design of their vehicle but still maintain a reserved look. These flares are also perfect for hiding small damage or rust. However, in order to install them, you’ll need to drill new holes as attaching them to the same factory holes will not work.
- Street Style: this is the choice for those of you who want to have a bit more low-key looking flares on their vehicle. Street style flares are sleeker than OE style, but they still protect the wheel well and the body of your vehicle.
- Bolt/Pocket Style: these are perfect for those who want their vehicle to look more rugged and show-off that it can survive most 4WD tracks. It doesn’t just offer looks as they are tough and can survive the roughest ride. The flares have a bolted look; however, they are just there for styling and pocket style flares require a no-drill installation.
- Extended Style: these flares look more reserved than the pocket style flares but they still offer the same protection that the latter does.
All 4WD flares can be repainted to the colour of your choice. Some brands even offer you to pre-customised the look including the flare’s texture before delivering them to you.
What Are 4WD Flares Made Of? Which One Should I Get?
Most 4WD vehicles come with fibreglass flares that will suffice with the built-in tyres. However, if you want to go off-roading with ease, fitting a larger tyre is a necessity. This will make the built-in 4WD flare not enough to cover the wheels and protect your vehicle. So, these are some of the best 4WD flare materials that we recommend:
- Fibreglass: perfect for those who don’t want to alter the look of their vehicle. They are usually made to match the paintwork of your vehicle, so you will have to spend around $150-300 or more (if you want it to be customised). Some people even fit two fibreglass flares (one above the other) to fit the extra width of the larger tyre.
- Plastic: these are far more durable than fibreglass. They are common for most 4WD vehicles like Jeeps; however, they are not the most affordable option. They can also be bolted directly on the sides of your vehicle.
- Flexy: these flares are made from rubber and slightly curves to accommodate the extra width. They also have a space along the edge to accommodate the slide spring steel. This will give you a more natural curve on your wheel arch. Compared to the first two types, they cost less at around $50-70. Flexy flares also come in a variety of widths, but most people get the 30mm and 60mm widths for their vehicles. These are also great because when they are hit by debris, they fold in and fold back out which lessens the chance that it will get broken.
- Garden Edging: this is the cheapest of all the 4WD flares. They cost around $15 a metre and you can decide how long or wide your flares are going to be. It is also easy to install because will just screw the inner lip of the guards to the body of the vehicle and you’re done! If you put in a little effort into making it, you will have a decent looking 4WD flare. However, they’re very solidly built so the screws will likely snap or the guard will be damaged with enough impact.
- Rubber: these are practically the same price as flexy flares. They are widely available (Clark Rubber store) and you can choose from many colours and profiles. They are also easy to install as you will only need to screw or cable tie them in your wheel arches.
How Do I Install 4WD Flares on My Vehicle?
After you’ve selected the style and material of your 4WD flare, the most important step comes next. You’ll finally learn how to install them! Luckily, the installation will only take 15 minutes to complete and is quite easy to do. Here is how you install them:
- First, remove the built-in 4WD flares from your vehicle. Find the bolts that mount them on the backside of the flares. If you remove them, then the flares will be detached from the vehicle.
- Make sure that the new 4WD flares align correctly to the body of your vehicle. The bumper should be aligned with the flare’s while the bottom edge of the flare must line up with the bumper.
- Purchase a double-sided foam tape to aid in the installation. Peel the backside of the tape and attach it to the vehicle. Remove the cover on the second side of the tape when you are ready to install the 4WD flare. Align the holes on the flares with the holes on the body of your vehicle and apply the tape.
- Bolt the flare properly to your vehicle and repeat the process for each side.
For most 2WD vehicles and some 4WD vehicles that don’t have built-in flares, you’ll need to manually drill holes into the body of the vehicle. To make things simpler, follow the template that comes in most 4WD flares’ installation kit.
What Brand of 4WD Flares Should I Get?
There are many brands of flares that are available but only some offer value and are fit for your needs. Listed below are some of the best 4WD flares that can fit in most trucks.
- Tyger Auto Fender Flares (can fit on Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, and 3500): these are pocket style flares that are made from durable materials with UV protection. Its rivets are also made from marine-grade stainless steel. So, you can take it to the beach tracks and never have to worry. The flares also have a warranty against factory defects, cracking, and warping. In addition, the flare’s manufacturer is trusted by most 4WD enthusiasts in Australia. You can find more information about Tyger Flares here.
- EGR 782654WB OEM Look Fender Flare Set (can fit on the 2009-2015 models of Dodge Ram 1500): it may not have a very cool name, but it is made from ABS plastic that is very durable. The flares come matte black and it can also be easily painted to match the vehicle’s colour. Another benefit of going with this model is the no-drill fixing system that will enable you to replace them with other flares in the future or damage your vehicle. It also comes with a lifetime warranty which adds to the flare’s value. You can see more details on EGR Look Fender here.
- Smittybilt 76837 XRC Black Textured Fender Flare (can fit on the CJ, YJ, and TJ Jeeps): this is made for off-roading and not to improve the aesthetics of your vehicle. Made from powder-coated steel, the Smittybilt is perfect for even the roughest of tracks. They also come with self-tapping screws which are easy to install but will leave small holes when you decide to replace them. The 4WD flares are also designed to accommodate bigger tires and improved suspension travel. You can find more information about Smittybilt here.
- Bushwacker 30918-02 Pocket Style Black Fender Flare (can fit on the 2014-2016 Toyota Tundra): the Bushwacker is made from a warp-resistant and flexible ABS plastic that will easily survive the tracks that you’ll travel to. Like most 4WD flares, they come in matte black, but you can paint them with the colour of your choice. The flare has the pocket style design so it will look very rugged, but it will not impress those who want to have a more low-key design. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty and all of the things that you’ll need to install them. However, it is more expensive than the other flares on this list. See more information about Bushwacker Fenders here.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint A Fender?
Typically, fender benders will usually require you to repaint the bumper, car door or quarter panel. Here is a list of prices you can expect to pay for painting areas commonly damaged in an accident: Bumper painting – $220 to $440 AUD. Door repaint – $150 to $730 AUD.
What Are Fender Flares Made Of?
Lund fender flares are made from ABS thermoplastic. It’s flexible and scratch-resistant but isn’t the same as the Bushwacker material.