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What is a Fender in a Car? A Basic Guide for Beginners

  • Cars Explained
  • Silas Smith
  • 5 minutes

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There’s no car owner who hasn’t come across the term “fender”. We’re sure that you’ve at least heard someone being in or witnessing a “fender-bender“. So, what does a fender mean? How does it differ from a bumper? Today we’ll explain what a fender in a car is, what it is made of, and why you should have one on your car.

What is a fender in a car?

A fender is a curved panel that sits above the wheels of a car and runs from the bumper to its doors. It protects the car by picking up all the dirt and other things on the road, which would otherwise damage the car.

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Why are fenders used in cars?

Fenders are used in cars to prevent mud, slush, and other debris from coming into contact with the tires, braking systems, and other parts of the vehicle, making them work more effectively. It stops the mud and dirt from being flung up at other vehicles and pedestrians on the road. Furthermore, fenders also act as a shield, protecting your vehicle’s paint from scratches by preventing the mud from splashing all over the car.

What is the fender in a car made of?

Fenders can be made of different components depending on the make and model of the car. They can be made of plastic, aluminum, rubber, and fiberglass. Expensive cars like models of Mercedes, Audis, and BMWs use fenders made of aluminum and its alloys. However, this isn’t always right, as there are expensive cars with thermoplastic fenders like the one on a Lamborghini Gallardo.

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How are fenders and bumpers different?

Bumpers and fenders in a car are two components that are closely connected, and it is common to get the two components confused. The major difference between these parts is their position. While bumpers are installed in the front and rear of a car, a fender is an extension of the bumper that goes onto the sides of the car, over the wheels.

They serve different purposes as well. Although bumpers are designed to absorb the impact of a collision, it is the fender’s job to keep road debris from flying up and hitting pedestrians and other vehicles.


Do fenders improve aerodynamics?

Yes. Apart from their regular function of protecting the car from mud splashes and debris, fenders also play a key role in improving the aerodynamics of the car. To put it simply, when the tires are spinning at high speeds, they generate a lot of drag due to the turbulence they create. A fender that houses the wheels helps to reduce that turbulence. This is due to its curved design, which increases the vehicle’s aerodynamic efficiency.

Is driving without fenders illegal?

Driving without the fender on a car is illegal in many states, like California and Texas. In fact, California Vehicle Code 27600 clearly states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle with three or more wheels without a fender or similar equipment that prevents mud splash. Any such equipment should also be effective and should be as wide as the tire tread.

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Can I repair the damaged fender on my car?

When compared to other auto parts, fenders are fairly simple to swap out. If you’re not very good at the process, it’s best to let a professional mechanic handle it. Improper handling of these parts can cause damage to other components.

How much does a fender replacement cost?

The cost of replacing the fender on your car depends upon various factors. These include the car’s make and model, fender type, and the extent of the damage. Minor damages like dents, scratches, or scrapes won’t cost you a lot. However, repairing severe damages caused by major accidents can burn a hole in your pocket.

Replacing a fender can be a costly endeavor, often exceeding $1000. If the bumper and fender both need to be replaced, the total cost can rise to as much as $7000.

Bottom line 

However unassuming they may appear, fenders play a crucial role in protecting your car and its components and also in enhancing its aerodynamics. Therefore, it is really important to keep them in good shape. And it is not a good idea to ignore fender damage because of the high cost involved.

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