Fender flares are just one of the many things that can be done to change the look of our extremely customizable Toyota Tacomas. Fender flares give an aggressive look, and they offer protection when offroading, or to those less fortunate who are behind us on the highways. For around $150 to $600, it’s an inexpensive option that can set your ride apart from the rest.
What are fender flares, and what are they for?
So, what are fender flares? Fender flares are an accessory that you can find for most trucks, SUVs, and even some cars. They are usually a plastic extension that bolts or sticks directly over your wheel well. They extend over the factory wheel well/fender lip.
That’s great, but what are they for? There are three main reasons people get fender flares: looks, protection, and legalities. If you want to give your truck an aggressive and mean look, fender flares are a great way to do so. They add width to your ride and a diverse color palette to break up the factory color on your body.
Protection is the next biggest reason. If you enjoy some weekend rock crawling, chances are you may get close to a tree or boulder that would not be very friendly to your paint. A fender flare will be a great line of protection to take a moderate beating first. I say moderate because it is still attached to your fender. Too much of an impact, and it could dent the metal fender it is attached to. The biggest protection it offers is to stop the throwing of mud and rocks when you have oversized tires. Wider tires look great, but when they extend beyond the body of your truck, that exposed tread will throw behind it anything it runs over. You might not care what happens to your truck, but the person in the Lexus behind you on the highway will.
That leads me to the next point: legality. In some areas across the US, it is illegal for you to have tires that extend beyond the body of your truck. The main reason is for what I stated above with Mr. Lexus. Fender flares extend the body of your truck to cover your wheels to keep everything safe and legal.
How do fender flares mount to your Tacoma?
There are three main ways that fender flare will attach to the body of your ride: bolted to the fender, bolted under the fender using the wheel well liner attachment points, or taped.
To offer the strongest protection and longest lasting durability, bolting these to your fender is the best option. The downside to this would be the permanent nature of it. This method involves you actually drilling holes into your fender for the bolts of the flares to slide through. Once you do this, you’ve made your decision. Those holes will always be in your fender. Should you decide to take the flares off, you’re stuck with holes. Should you decide to change fender flare brands, the holes may not line up. All that aside, the fender flares won’t be going anywhere on their own. They won’t flap in the breeze or rip off if you graze a tree. Toyota does make it a tad easier for us though: a good amount of their models have small factory “flares” that have the holes behind them already!
A less permanent method, but still strong would be ones that bolt underneath the fender using the holes already drilled for the fender/wheel well liner. The flare itself will then be secured to the body of the fender with tape or some type of glue. These don’t require any additional modifications to your truck, but they also don’t offer the same durability. Keep in mind the bulk of the weight and mass of a fender flare is above the bottom lip of the fender. The holes for the liner underneath that and usually at the bottom of the fender. They are also placed where they are because they don’t need to support much weight. If you get these types of flares, don’t go too crazy with the off-roading!
The last and certainly least method would be tape only. These are purely for looks only. While some brands may look like they have bolts, they are just for show. The whole unit is stuck on your Tacoma with double-sided tape and/or some type of glue. If you want looks only, these can be a good option. Provided the glue or tape doesn’t dry out, they will stay in place and can be removed later. A tree will remove them too when off-roading.
Fender flare material and finish
In most cases, these will be a black plastic or composite material. Plastic/composite is light, durable, and easy to make/mold. Some companies offer color-matched options, and you can always get them painted, but let’s be real: black looks so good!
Fender Flare options for your Tacoma
As always, here are some popular options that people on the forums and Facebook pages seem to like. Find what works best for you and your wallet. There are way more options out there. Get to looking, and make your truck yours!
In plenty of searches and posts, Bushwaker comes up a lot. They offer a typical looking flare system that installs using the bolt method. They come in a smooth black finish and can be had for around $450 to $500. These are by far my favorite fender flares on the market. You can check them out and buy them here.
For around $350, RDJ Trucks offer a wide range of finishes with its models. Smooth, or exposed bolts. Smooth, or textured finish. They are also a pretty decent price and have a good warranty on their products. You can check them out and buy them here.
A much cheaper option would be these TAC Fender Flares that you can find on Amazon. For just under $200, you get the look of some aggressive flares. These won’t break the bank and will get the job done for looks. You can check them out and buy them here.
Stage 3 Motorsports will be the most expensive option on this list, but they offer color-matched painted flares. For $688, you can get a set of flares painted to match your ride. If you don’t like the black look, this could be the option for you! You can check them out here.
Bushwacker - Courtesy of Bushwaker
Stage 2 Motorsports - Courtesy of State 3 Motorsports
* Please note that some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.