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Outfitting Your F-250 with Fender Flares

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Table of Contents
  1. Factory Fender Flares
  2. Types of Aftermarket Fender Flares
  3. How Fender Flares Allow Owners to Use Wider and/or Taller Tires
  4. Selecting the Right Flares for Your Tires
  5. Differing Materials for Flares
  6. F250 Fender Flares: Installation
Shop F250 Fender Flares

Fender flares serve a couple of purposes. The main one being allowing for wider tires by keeping on the better side of the law. The second is more robust flares can serve as protection while at the sketchier job sites and navigating the great outdoors. Finally, fender flares simply give your F250 a more intimidating presence.

F250 Fender Flares

There are plenty of modifications you will make to your F-250 that will warrant the use of other mods. Cold-air intakes work best with tuners; a lift kit will drive the urge to fit larger wheels; and aftermarket lights will warrant the use of a more powerful alternator. The list keeps going and it’s very easy to find yourself in a giant rabbit hole. Perhaps the one thing you should not forget to do is set your F-250 up with fender fares when considering wider wheels and tires.2011-2016-f250-with-smittybilt-bolt-on-fender-flares.JPG

Factory Fender Flares

The design of the F-250’s fenders and quarter panels appear to have fender flares built into them. This flared design is implemented to do much of what an aftermarket flare is put in place for. The idea is to provide additional coverage for wider wheels and tires. However, with these factory flares, the concept serves a better purpose of preventing the wheels from kicking up rocks into the body of the truck and damaging the panels and the paint.

Types of Aftermarket Fender Flares

There are a variety of aftermarket fender flares available. The design of the flare is going to depend on the intended purpose. Fender flares that are designed to boast trim appearance are going to be thin and narrow flares that just border the wheel well. Off-road flares that are meant to give supreme protection to the body are going to cover a much higher area around the wheel well and feature bolts that border the edge of it. Flares that are designed to allow wider tires will cover a tall area and extend further from the surface of the fender. This is one with “cut out” style flares that require you to cut out a portion of the fender and install a fender flare to the edge of the wheel well. 

How Fender Flares Allow Owners to Use Wider and/or Taller Tires

Fender flares make it possible for truck owners to run taller and wider tires. This is done in two ways for two reasons. The most common reason being to accommodate wider tires. In the eyes of the law, tires cannot extend past the fender on street driven F-250s. When wider tires with a negative offset wheel are selected, it’s almost inevitable that this will occur. Fender flares work as an extension for the fender which makes it possible to fit a wider tire under the truck without it sticking out from the wheel well.

To fit a taller tire under the truck, you’ll need to install cut out fender flares. This isn’t something the average F-250 owner is going to encounter, so the main idea isn’t to stick out far enough to cover every inch of the tire but it is part of the package. Taller tires will bind up on the inside of the wheel well, and this is possible even with a 6-8 inch lift. By reshaping the wheel well to make it wider and higher, a taller tire can fit underneath without posing any binding issues.

Selecting the Right Flares for Your Tires

Selecting the right flares for your tires is a bit of a homework process. Why? The wheel offset and tire width will affect exactly how much further the tire will be sitting than the factory units. As a basic idea, smaller flares for styling may accommodate up to a 33-inch tire combination, off-road style flares will work for 35-38 inch tall tires, and cut-out style flares will be needed for anything ranging above and beyond 38 inches. Though, to be sure you will need to calculate offset, and tire width and compare it to the factory wheel and tire combo for the perfect fit.

Differing Materials for Flares

Different flare types will bring different materials to the table. F-250s have few options, but it’s still something to be aware of. With universal flare types, thick vinyl is going to be the choice material. This is used as it is flexible enough to be shaped to most wheel wells but still rugged enough to handle hits from rocks and branches.

Most F-250 owners are not going to reach for the cheap universal type flares, which means they don’t have to worry about the limitations of vinyl. Application specific flares for the F-250 are constructed of ABS plastic. This may seem unsettling at first, but ABS plastic is an extremely rugged plastic that’s not going to crack or fade over one year of hard use. These flares are known to stay intact even when bashed against trees being torn from the vehicle on account of the fasteners failing before the plastic has.

F250 Fender Flares: Installation

Many people will make their decision of fender flares based solely on the installation type. Both types are viable methods but bring along interesting concerns. The more common of the two to be selected by F-250 owners are auto-tape flares. These units are designed to use a strip of double-sided tape to attach them to the fenders. Many fender flares with the bolt on look actually use this method of installation as opposed to physical hardware.

The reason many opt for the tape on flares is because they can add the look or tire coverage that they need without diminishing the resale value of their truck. Yes, they do tend to fall off more but the double-sided tape is cheap and the installation is easy. Drill on flares are much sturdier but you will be drilling holes in the factory sheet metal to permanently mount your flares to the truck. This can hurt during a resell.