A set of larger tires are one of the most common Land Rover accessories off-road enthusiasts get. Bigger tires would mean better grip, allowing you to traverse through all sorts of terrain without anything stopping you. Too bad all this can damage your vehicle if the tires stick past the guards on the chassis. Also, bigger tires than the guards are actually illegal .
But, you shouldn’t just make sure the tires are well-covered to avoid getting a ticket from the traffic police. Driving on gravel will send small rocks flickering off the tires and onto the inner lip inflicting damage. Sometimes the rocks can end up chipping off your paintwork or panels. Off-road driving without having the proper flares will definitely leave some scars behind.
And even if you don’t care about your paintwork, what about the other vehicles around you? Flicking rocks at other vehicles is a sure way to make someone angry or worse – cause a road accident. That being said, it goes without saying, that upgrading to larger wheels should be immediately followed with upgrading with suitable fender flares from a Land Rover accessories store.
When it comes to choosing the right fender flares, most Land Rover owners struggle to settle for a material. Fender flares can be made of all sorts of materials, but the most common ones on the market are fibreglass and plastic.
Fibreglass flares are labour-intensive because multiple piece moulds are used to join the material. This ought to be done by someone well-versed in moulding fibreglass. and the extensive effort that goes into making them certainly raises the price.
Fibreglass is one of the toughest materials out there. Once the original panel is cut, the flare supports the panel. Unfortunately, it lacks flexibility. That being said, fibreglass flares will crack sooner. When they do crack, professionals can fix them, but this also incurs extra costs and time management challenges to make it all go smooth.
The finishing touches on the fibreglass come usually via a hand tool. So grounding, cutting, polishing and painting are guaranteed to leave marks of any natural defects if present.
Plastic flares require bolts through the side of your panels. Installation is quite simple – you only need an Allen wrench and self-threading screws. Considering this, you might need to do some drilling and moulding to get them right. Experienced fitters are able to do this, but if you know what you are doing, you can do it too.
The main advantage of the plastic flares is their flexibility. They can absorb much of the shocks without breaking. But when they do break, you will need to go and buy new ones because they can’t be repaired. However, you don’t have to worry about a replacement since they come at a lower price.
Compared to fibreglass, the look of the plastic flares is more polished and slick. However, not all plastic flares are made equal. You need to be careful to determine whether the flares are made of ABS or polyurethane plastic.
ABS vs Polyurethane Plastic
Being plastic, both types are rust-resistant. They are lighter and the toll on other surrounding materials is not that bad. However, they differ in many things.
Polyurethane is vulnerable to UV rays , unless it has a special coating to protect it. When left untreated, polyurethane will get white (like chalk). And the sheer production costs also make polyurethane more expensive.
ABS plastic, on the other hand, is even stronger than fibreglass, has UV resistant finish if it is extruded and there is no need to apply paint to it. ABS plastics has great resistance to shock and is very rigid. It takes the wear from the elements with much more grace than polyurethane.
Buying new fender flares means that you will need the material to handle impacts and heat, along the way. Going with ABS will mean lower cost and the quality is definitely superior. But besides material, you should also consider the overall design of the flares.
Type of Flares
– Pocket Flares – they are of the most rugged variety and just getting a glimpse of them will inspire you to take them as far from civilization as possible. Despite what you might expect, the bolts on these flares are not drilled in, rather, they are just for show. Installation does not include any drilling.
– OE Flares – they are a more subtle way to cover your tires and are commonly used to hide imperfections and signs of rust. This type of flares must be drilled in.
– Street Flares – they work for those that love having a slick style and looks. They will protect the vehicles from ricocheting rocks, and they’ll closely follow the contour of your Land Rover.
– Extended Flares – as the name implies they are easy to notice because they stretch beyond the chassis of the vehicle. The protection they offer is similar to the protection offered by the other types of flares on this list.
When searching for these Land Rover accessories online make sure you look at retailers that are on top of their game. Some deliver their aftermarket parts directly to your door, but don’t get overexcited and start installing them right away. If you are not familiar with all of the steps you need to take to install those fenders, consult professionals. Otherwise, you might lose the right to warranty.