A Guide to Car Fenders (Purpose, Costs etc.)

The car fender is one of the most essential parts of the vehicle. It might not seem like much, but the fender actually frames the wheel well. The car fender prevents rocks, mud, and other road debris from flying uncontrollably through the air as you drive.

Car fenders play a crucial role in driving courteously. Because of this role, they are one of the essential parts of your car.

What Is a Car Fender?

As we’ve already established, the car fender is the piece of the vehicle that houses the wheel well. Some people confuse fenders and bumpers, but these are two different things.

While the bumpers are just as crucial to the overall function of your vehicle, the fender is something completely different.

Since the 1930s, fenders have been a standard part of every automobile. There’s no telling what a car would do if there were no fenders.

What Is the Purpose of Fenders on Your Car?

The fenders on your car protect your car from road debris as you drive. They also cover other vehicles on the road from that same debris.

When tires rotate, they pick up things like loose rock, mud, and dirt along the roadway. That debris can get stuck in the tires and flung across the road.

At high speeds, loose rocks can do severe damage to your vehicle or other vehicles that are on the road. Car fenders protect you and other cars from this damage.

Where Are the Fenders Located on a Car?

Your car fenders are located around the wheel wells on your vehicle. That means you have two in the front and two in the back.

There was a time when all four-wheel well coverings were called fenders. However, it’s more common for the front tires only to have fenders.

The back wheel wells still protect your car and others from flying debris, but they act more as bolted corner panels than separate entities.

What Does a Car Fender Look Like?

The car fender looks essentially like a half-crescent that points down toward the ground. Since it has to fit over the wheel to correctly protect the wheel well, it folds inward slightly to provide extra protection.

Car fenders are nothing special to behold, but they have a great deal of practical use that makes them attractive in their own right.

What Does a Car Fender Attach To?

A car fender attaches to the front panels of the car. A type of fender liner creates a barrier between the engine and the fender.

How Many Fenders Does a Car Have?

There are technically four fenders on your vehicle. With two in front and two in the back, these four fenders are the primary protection from road debris.

What Are Car Fenders Made Of?

Early car fenders were much different than car fenders today. Cars, in general, are made differently than they were in the past.

Driving a vehicle today would feel vastly different than driving a car 30 or 40 years ago. Cars were once all heavy-duty machines that cruised down the road with a special kind of confidence.

Cars today use different materials. Often, their design gears towards being more sleek and efficient. And the other car parts, like car fenders, are made to reflect that change.

Are Car Fenders Metal or Plastic?

Car fenders were once made of solid steel. They were thick and sturdy, just like old cars. But technology changed and allowed new materials to come into play in the car industry.

Cars are generally designed to resist rust and other detrimental conditions. Because metal is prone to rust quickly, car fenders are usually made of some combination of plastics.

Other materials are sometimes used in vehicle construction, and technology has allowed for more solid plastic or plastic blends to replace metal.

What Gauge Metal Is a Car Fender?

Car fenders are generally made out of plastic, or some plastic blend, which means that metal is no longer the standard material for a car fender. There was a time when the gauge was about 18, which comes to 48 thousand an inch thick.

Are Car Fenders Necessary?

Car fenders are a critical piece of the automobile. As we have already seen, the car fenders offer excellent protection. Not only do they protect your vehicle from flying debris, but they protect other vehicles on the road as well.

Fenders don’t determine whether or not your car can operate. However, having car fenders is extremely important. It’s better to drive a car with fenders than without fenders.

Can You Drive a Car with No Fenders?

Yes, you can drive a car with no fenders. Your vehicle’s fenders won’t determine whether or not the automobile is operational.

However, driving without fenders might be an incredibly foolish decision. You risk damaging other peoples’ vehicles as you go if you choose to operate without fenders.

You also risk damaging your own vehicle when you drive without fenders. Since fenders offer the best protection, it is better to go with fenders.

Car Fender Repairs

Fender repairs can be handled at home if you’re confident or have experience fixing dents and other minor cosmetic issues.

The way cars are manufactured, it is increasingly challenging to repair them yourself. More pieces are interconnected, and you risk breaking things if you try to do it yourself. However, it is best to allow professionals to fix your fenders.

Some would encourage you to fix it yourself. However, the best option is to find a repair shop and take it to a professional.

How to Remove Car Fender?

Removing a car fender takes knowledge and the right set of tools. You have to remove the front bumper cover and take the fasteners off.

You usually have to remove the front headlight assembly, which can be a hassle to put back together. The electrical connector has to be disconnected to get the fender off.

There are more fasteners to remove once you undo the electrical assembly. Once all the fasteners are off, you can remove the fender assembly from the vehicle.

How to Replace a Fender on a Car?

Depending on what kind of car you have, replacing your car fender might be easy. Usually, older cars are more accessible to take apart than newer ones.

If you’re going to remove and replace a fender yourself, make sure you take careful note of where each fastener is. These items need to be put back together flawlessly.

So for someone confident, replacing your fender is quite simple. It’s just a matter of finding a new fender and switching it out with the old one. If you follow the above guide and video for removing a fender, you should have no trouble replacing your fender.

How Much Does a Used Car Fender Cost?

Fenders range significantly in cost, depending on the type of vehicle you have. Whether new or used, you could end up spending a couple of hundred dollars on replacement and installation.

Some used fenders run for as little as $41. However, installation can cost up to $600. It might be worthwhile to know how to install a fender yourself if you want to save some cash.

Sometimes junkyards will sell old fenders for under $40, but be prepared to deal with the repercussions of purchasing vehicle parts from a junkyard.

Where to Buy Car Fenders?

You can buy car fenders from your local car part shop or order them online. Some dealerships will sell fenders as well. It all depends on the type of fender you need and how quickly you need it.

At carparts.com, you can purchase matching fender sets for as low as $35 each. If you need help with installation, they can work with you.

Amazon.com sells fender replacements for specific vehicle models, although you might be more limited in your selection.

You can indeed find suitable fender replacements at advanceautoparts.com. Each purchase comes with a 90-day replacement guarantee if the item turns out defective.

If you’re looking for something that’s cheaper but useful, you can find some fender replacement options at Walmart.com.

Partsgeek.com carries fenders of various kinds. It’s easy to find a suitable model here, and you can feel confident with their 30-day return policy. 


Now that you know a little bit more about car fenders, what they’re made of, how to replace them, and where to find them, let’s look at some of the frequently asked questions that arise when people want to know more about car fenders.

How Wide Is a Car Hauler Trailer Between Fenders?

Car hauler trailers are usually about 76 inches between fenders, although many can be as much as 82 inches.

Standard enclosed trailers usually measure about 8×16. However, trailers can vary greatly depending on what kind you have and what kind of vehicle you’re using.

You obviously don’t want to get a trailer that’s wider than your car fenders.

Is It Illegal to Not Have Fenders on A Car?

It is not widely illegal to drive without fenders on your car. However, some states require fenders on a vehicle.

We already know that fenders are a critical piece of your vehicle. But that doesn’t mean the law requires you to have them.

Some states have certain laws regarding fenders, although not many specifically require that fenders are attached. California would be one exception where fenders are required.

How Much Does It Cost to Roll Car Fenders?

Fender rolling is sometimes called guard rolling. It essentially means that your fender needs to be heated and reshaped. It might be necessary because of age or wear and tear. Usually, it prevents the tire from coming into contact with the fenders.

Depending on what service you use, you might pay anywhere from $50 to $70 per fender for a simple roll. If you need something more complicated or extensive done, you will likely end up paying much more.

Fender rolling can be a little expensive, but it’s an important part of keeping your car in tip-top shape. It can add value to your car and keep your tires running most efficiently when done professionally.

How Do I Stop My Car Fenders From Rusting?

If you live somewhere with lots of moisture or cold winters, you know how frustrating it is to deal with rust on your car.

It’s perfectly natural to want to prevent your car fenders from rusting. And with a few simple tips, it’s quite easy to do:

  1. Keeping your fenders clean and waxed will help prevent rust. That means heading to the car wash every few weeks!
  2. Make sure you get your car very dry. Moisture will attack weak spots on the vehicle, and rust will set in before you can stop it.
  3. Use some WD-40 on the areas of your vehicle that are more prone to get rusty.
  4. Your local mechanic may be able to apply some other rust-proofing substance.

Do Fenders Make a Car Faster?

Some people think that fenders will slow their cars down, but this is not the case. In fact, some studies have shown that fenders actually improve your car’s speed. Granted, the difference is negligible. But a faster car is a faster car, and fenders help make that happen.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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