You probably know what a fender bender is and might have experienced a few of them in your lifetime. Still, it’s funny to think that fender benders don’t generally involve damage to the car’s fenders. So, what is a car fender? How does it differ from a bumper? And is it necessary to have it in your car?
The fender is the curved part of the car's body located above the wheel well, and yes, it is necessary. Fenders are crucial body panels on a vehicle because they contain dirt and debris that your tyres kick up and which can damage your car or other vehicles on the road.
This article will explore what fenders are and why they’re necessary for your vehicle. We will also go into what flared fenders and quarter panels are. Towards the end, we’ll even tell you what you can do if your fender gets damaged.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Car Fender and What Does It Do?
The fender is that curved part of your car's body sitting above each of the wheels. Depending on how many wheels your vehicle has, that's how many fenders there will be.
So, on a standard car with four wheels, you will also find four fenders.
Fenders are the sections between the bumpers and the nearest doors. So, besides curving over the wheels, the fenders also go around the side of your headlights and taillights.
What Do Car Fenders Do?
The fender acts as a housing for the wheel and protects everything else by keeping the dirt and debris contained within the curved enclosure. This prevents the particles from spewing or damaging car parts on the car’s underbody and even other vehicles driving by.
Remember that all your car's tyres grip the road and turn forcefully to propel the car. But, as it does that, it also grips sand, tiny rocks, branches, and everything else, throwing it upward as it turns. That would be very damaging to the car and hazardous to other road users too.
What Is the Difference Between a Car Fender and a Car Bumper?
Whenever people get into minor car accidents like bumping the car in front of them, they often refer to that as a ‘fender bender’. Ironically, the fender might be perfectly fine in these situations; it’s the bumper that gets damaged.
Fenders and bumpers are two very distinct parts with unique purposes. To help you understand the fender vs bumper debate, here are the differences you’ll want to know about both parts.
The fender, as mentioned earlier, houses the wheel and keeps any dirt and debris contained. That will prevent the wheel from throwing it at the car’s body or towards any other vehicle on the road.
Bumpers, on the other hand, sit at the front and rear of the vehicle. They’re the first parts of the car that come into contact with anything else. So, their purpose is to absorb as much of the force as possible.
What Are Flared Fenders?
Just like any other part of a vehicle, you can bet that there are modifications and aftermarket add-ons that you can purchase as well. For example, when it comes to fenders, you could choose to get flared fenders instead.
A fender flare is simply an extension of your fender. Remember: fenders are meant to house the wheel and contain any dirt and debris that it might kick up as the wheel turns. For vehicles with larger wheels like SUVs or those using heavily offset wheels, flared fenders will provide additional protection.
However, some car drivers invest in flared fenders as a cosmetic accessory more than anything else. If you're interested in doing that for your car, be sure to check with your local road laws first. Also, road laws may differ from one Australian state or territory to another, and there are limits to modifications that extend outward from the car's sides, so make sure you know the regulations in your city, state, or territory.
Are Fenders the Same as Quarter Panels?
If you’re ever reading or talking about fenders, you’ll find that some people refer to them as quarter panels instead.
Initially, the term 'quarter panel' applied only to the rear fenders. It's the arch over the wheel well between the rear door and the bumper.
That definition also fits perfectly for fenders, which is why people sometimes interchange the terms. However, ‘quarter panel’ refers specifically to the panels on the rear and are not applicable to the front fenders, though people often call them that, regardless.
Do I Need a Car Fender on My Car?
Yes, you absolutely need car fenders on your vehicle. For starters, your car would look ugly without the fender panel on the sides. But, more importantly, there would be nothing to prevent the tyres from kicking up rocks and sand against the car and other vehicles on the road.
What Do I Do If My Fender Gets Damaged?
In a car accident, fenders can get damaged. Depending on how severe that damage is, you could repair the fender yourself and even attempt it as a DIY task. However, extensive damage will need to be attended to by a professional who might repair it or recommend that you replace it entirely.
To find out more about fender repairs and replacements, check out our previous article about that topic.
Get More Tips from CarpartAU
If you’d like to know more about car fenders and other car parts, check out the Blog at Carpart.com.au. There, you can read informative articles about all car parts like this one. You can also browse the Marketplace to look for deals on parts or submit a request through the Parts Finder if you’re looking for something specific.
By Ray Hasbollah