Jeep Wrangler Painted Fender Flares? Pros and Cons

jeep wrangler painted fender flares

Jeep Wranglers are famous for their rugged capabilities and open-air design. Part of what makes them so iconic are the pronounced fender flares that protrude over the wheels. For many owners, the stock fender flares leave something to be desired aesthetically. This leads them to install aftermarket options.

Painted fender flares can transform the look of your Wrangler, but are they the best option? There are pros and cons to weigh regarding durability, protection, cost, and ease of installation.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to decide if installing painted fender flares is the right modification for your Jeep Wrangler.

Specifically, we’ll examine:

  • The durability of painted fender flares
  • How much protection painted flares provide
  • The customization possibilities with painted flares
  • The costs involved with purchasing and installing them
  • Other pros and cons to consider

By the end, you’ll have all the information to determine if upgrading to painted fender flares is worth it for your Jeep Wrangler. Let’s get started!

How Durable Are Painted Fender Flares?

One of the primary considerations with painted fender flares is durability. The factory plastic flares can withstand a good deal of abuse before needing replacement. So how do painted aftermarket flares compare?

There are a few factors that impact the durability of painted flares:

Scratches and Paint Chips Happen Easily

The nature of painted flares means the painted coating is vulnerable to scratches, chips, peeling, and fading. Any contact with branches, rocks, and other debris on or off-road can damage the painted exterior. Even car washes can degrade the paint over time.

Plastic and steel alternatives better resist this kind of wear and tear. For painted flares to hold up, you’ll need to take extra care to avoid scratching or scraping them.

Climate Affects Longevity

Climate plays a big role in durability. Painted flares installed in a Jeep primarily driven in sunny climates will likely fade and oxidize faster than those in more temperate regions. Extreme heat and UV exposure can accelerate paint degradation.

Similarly, in snowy winter climates, painted flares confront corrosion issues from salt and other chemicals used on roads. This can lead to bubbling or peeling paint.

Maintenance Is Required

To keep painted fender flares looking their best, you’ll need to put in some regular elbow grease. Washing, waxing, polishing, and touching up paint chips will go a long way towards extending their lifespan. But it does require more upkeep than plastic or steel.

How much maintenance needed comes down to how well the flares are prepped, primed, and clear coated by the manufacturer or installer. High-quality paint application makes a big difference. Overall though, expect to put in more work keeping painted flares pristine.

How Much Protection Do Painted Flares Offer?

Another key consideration is how much protection painted fender flares provide your Jeep. After all, the main purpose of installing wider flares is to shield the body from mud, debris, and minor scrapes. So how do painted flares stack up protection-wise?

Paint Alone Offers Little Protection

The paint coating itself provides minimal functional protection. Without an inner liner, painted steel or aluminum flares leave the underside exposed. This means your Jeep’s body remains vulnerable.

Most quality aftermarket flares address this by including a separate inner plastic lining to act as a buffer between the body and outside elements. But for maximum protection, plastic and steel flares are tougher.

Widening Stance Increases Protection

A benefit of aftermarket flares in general is they widen the wheel well opening. This allows for larger tires and increases clearance from obstacles.

The additional coverage from wider painted flares enhances protection versus stock. But plastic and steel flares extend out just as far.

For heavy off-roading, we recommend additional protection like rock sliders and skid plates if running painted flares. Alternatively, steel fenders with inner plastic lining provide the most rugged defense.

The Customization Potential of Painted Flares

Where painted fender flares really shine is the ability to customize your Wrangler’s look. If making your Jeep uniquely yours is the goal, painted flares open up lots of possibilities.

Unlimited Color Choices

Paint opens the door to practically any color imaginable to match or contrast your Wrangler’s paint scheme. Want a flat military tan? Candy apple red? Electric green? No problem.

You can also opt for a color-matched set to seamlessly integrate with your existing paint for a cohesive look. Painted flares let you get creative with colors not offered from the factory.

Unique Designs and Patterns

Beyond solid colors, some manufacturers offer custom paint designs and graphics. Think – camo patterns, retro stripes, tribal prints. The options are endless.

Custom pinstriping and designs can make your Wrangler a true one-of-a-kind. Painted flares are great for show jeeps.

Match or Contrast Your Jeep’s Paint

You can choose to color match your Wrangler’s factory paint for a cohesive flow. Or pick a high-contrast color to make the flares stand out boldly. Both approaches work with painted flares.

Matched vs. contrasting paint comes down to personal style. A bright contrasting flare catches the eye. Matching says subtle refinement. Go with what reflects your personality best!

Consider Re-Painting Costs

One trade-off of custom painted flares is re-painting costs down the road. If your Jeep’s paint color changes, you’ll need to also repaint the flares to match. This adds expense compared to easily swappable plastic flares.

Weigh whether you plan to keep your current color long-term. For resale value, neutral colors tend to be best.

What’s the Cost for Painted Wrangler Flares?

As with most Jeep modifications, cost is a factor when deciding on painted fender flares. What can you expect to pay compared to other options?

Painted Flares Cost More Than Plastic

Factory plastic flares run $200-$400 for a set of four. For wider aftermarket plastic flares, expect to pay $400-$800. Painted flares start around $600 and can run over $1000 or more.

The premium pays for high-end paint materials and application. Hand-painting also bumps up costs. Unique custom designs can increase prices further.

So while not the cheapest option, you’re paying for a quality finish that transforms the look.

Less Than Steel Flares

On the plus side, painted flares are generally less expensive than steel options. Heavy-duty steel fenders run $1200+ without paint. Add a custom color, and you’re looking at $1500+ per set easily.

If looking for extra protection, steel is the way to go. But for style, painted flares give you 75% of the durability at 50% of the cost.

Installation Adds Cost

When budgeting, remember to factor in install costs unless you plan to DIY. Expect to pay $200-$400 for a shop to install and fit a set of aftermarket flares. This covers removal of factory flares and proper installation.

Painted flares may run slightly higher for install due to needing extra care during fitment to prevent paint scratching.

Other Pros and Cons of Painted Wrangler Flares

Along with the major factors above, there are a few other pros and cons to weigh when deciding on painted fender flares:


  • Easier to install than steel flares
  • Lighter weight than steel reduces strain on suspension
  • Ability to remove paint and revert back to original plastic fenders
  • No legality issues; painting is just cosmetic


  • Need to remove tires and wheels for install
  • Paint can crack at screw holes if not properly treated
  • Can’t easily change color without repainting
  • Provides less protection than steel or plastic options

Weight the pluses and minuses against what matters most for your Jeep. Durability and protection tend to be top priorities for off-roaders. Painted flares offer more on the style front.


Are painted fender flares worth it for your Jeep Wrangler? Here’s a quick recap:

The Pros

  • Fully customizable colors and designs
  • Widened stance protects better than stock flares
  • Less expensive than heavy-duty steel flares
  • Easier to install than steel

The Cons

  • Not as durable or protective as plastic or steel
  • More maintenance required to keep paint looking new
  • Costlier than factory plastic flares
  • Re-painting needed if changing Jeep’s color

The Bottom Line

For Wrangler owners prioritizing style over hardcore off-roading, painted flares are a great option. They allow endless customization at a reasonable price. Just be prepared for some extra maintenance and care.

If maximum durability and protection are higher priorities, we recommend looking at steel or high-strength plastic flares. Or, add protections like skid plates to supplement painted flares off-road.

Painted fender flares give Wrangler owners the best of both worlds – protection and personalization. For most daily drivers and weekend warriors, they offer the ideal combination of form and function. If making your Jeep uniquely yours is the goal, painted flares are a smart investment.

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