Let’s be real. There are A LOT of options out there if you are looking for aftermarket fender flares for your Jeep Wrangler. There’s wide, skinny, pocket, high, metal, plastic, finished, unfinished… There is something out there for everyone. For as many styles and brands of flares, there are just as many price points. I was fortunate to have an opportunity to get a set of flares that I liked aesthetically, were easy to install, and also didn’t break the bank. They are the Smittybilt XRC Fender Flares. At under $300, this will be an attractive option for many folks who are building on a budget. I got this set from our friends at Extreme Terrain.
Before we talk about the flares, let me tell you why I have them. You see, I ended up only slightly lifting (er, leveling) my Jeep. I installed the Teraflex 1.5″ Leveling Kit which was just perfect for getting the needed clearance for my Mickey Thompson 35s… on the street. Yes, I had plenty of clearance on the street with the stock Jeep fenders. However, I knew that once I disconnected the sway bar and hit the trails…it was going to be another story altogether. Rather than risking that I’d simply rip the stock fenders off, I decided to find some hi-clearance flares. (Ed – Stay tuned for way more to come on this Jeep. Project #overclock3d is coming!)
These Smittybilt XRC Flares are a very minimalist design. That’s a fancy way of saying that they might be illegal on the public roads where you live. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) They are TINY! They in no way even make an attempt to cover your tires. They do get attention, that’s for sure. When I first put them on, it really hit me how narrow they are, but you know what? I like it! They certainly served my purpose, and I’ve since used every inch of that available wheel well space freed up by these high clearance flares.
The installation was super easy and below this article there are three videos from my install. Including how I cut and re-installed my stock fender liners. From the feedback I have already received it is a unique approach that was very simple and looks great. I also re-used my factory side marker lights (again, the how-to is in the videos).
The flares come with all of the hardware needed to mount them (front and rear). They are constructed from steel, and come already powder-coated in black. They certainly would blend with the standard Jeep finishes. The quality of the power-coating was good – I didn’t notice anything to be concerned about there. There was no cutting required for the install, and no drilling with the exception of using a few self-tapping screws on the rear. It would be simple to go back to stock or switch to another flare in the future if you decided to do so. Weld quality looked typical for Smittybilt. It was good, but you’re not going to find people admiring the great welding work on them. 😉
I did have one anomaly with my set that I want to point out. If you look at the photo above, you’ll see a tiny hole at the very front of the flare. It’s very strange. I only had it on that one flare, and I have looked at several other sets from friends’ installs and none of them have such a thing. I must have won the lottery and got the special set. Personally, I don’t care. You wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t point it out to you, and I have never had anyone in person say, “Hey…what’s that hole for?” However, in fairness of review, I needed to point that out. If you get one with a hole like that: it’s not normal. (Ed – Extra holes are never good.)
So there is really not much else to say. They went on easy, look good, and do their job really well. What is their job? Well, to flare, I guess. They seem to “flare” just fine. 🙂 If you like this minimalist style, and are looking to spend less than $300, they are certainly worth taking a look at. (Ed – Please remember to check your local and state laws as to required tire coverage. What works in some locations may not work in others.)
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Now, here are those install videos I promised you.