Car Fender vs Bumper: What are the differences?

Updated Dec 31, 2020 | Same topic: Tuning & Mods

These standard features play an important role in cars.

There are various body components or kits that are continuously being innovated throughout the years. Body kits are installed to improve the overall aesthetics of a car, while some kits are installed on a car for added safety on the road.

This is where car fenders and bumpers play their roles in a car. Both these automotive body kits are invented way back in the 1900s as a standard feature among production cars. As time progresses, we have seen different improvements in the materials used and how they are shaped.

Both are installed on the exterior of a car for various reasons. And just like most car parts, there are stock and aftermarket fenders and bumpers you can get. It will all go down depending on how you like to dress up your car.

With all that being said, let’s take a look at the difference between car fenders and bumpers and see if you might want to get one or both upgraded on your car.

I. What is a Car Bumper?

As the name suggests, a car bumper is used to absorb impact in the event of a collision, resulting in lesser costs in repair and damages.

There are two locations in a car where you can find a bumper, namely the front end and the rear end. Both the front and rear bumpers are used to protect the car from unwanted damage. Bumpers are also handy when you are parking your car, especially when reversing into place.

Black Honda vehicle front view

There are different designs of bumpers available from the aftermarket

Even the most affordable production vehicle in the world has front and rear bumpers. However, some are not as sturdy as others. This is the reason why you see collisions where a car is not as wrecked as the other. The strength of a bumper depends on the materials used by the manufacturer.

Meanwhile, some car owners remove the front bumper, rear bumper, or even both, for weight reduction purposes. You would usually see this type of modification on tuner or project cars so they can run more quickly.

Lamborghini front view

The lower the ride height, the better the aerodynamics

Of note, bumpers and bull bars are different from each other but serve the same function. A bumper is installed on the main body of a car, while a bull bar is attached to the car’s front end. 

>>> Related: Car modifications in the Philippines: What do you make of this?

II. What is a car Fender?

On the other hand, a car fender is a body kit attached to the sides of the car, specifically on the wheel arches. A fender is used for various reasons such as to improve aesthetics, prevent debris from being thrown by the tires, and even enhance aerodynamics.

Some fenders on a car are more noticeable than others. For example, the Volkswagen Beetle comes with noticeable fenders that make up the model’s iconic design. Most production cars these days come with fenders that are aligned with the whole body.

Volkswagen Beetle front view

The Volkswagen Type 1 comes with defined fenders

A car fender is commonly used on off-roading vehicles as rocks and dirt can easily be thrown by a car’s tires. Off-roading vehicles’ fenders usually come with a black finish and large rivet points to show sturdiness and toughness.

Some car owners also use car fenders to widen their cars. This is where the term ‘wide-body kits’ comes from. You would commonly see this type of modification on coupes and sports sedans as widening a car give off a sportier and more aggressive appeal.

>>> Related: Fender benders: Avoiding them and what to do after one

III. What are the differences between car Fender vs Bumper?

There are more similarities between fenders and bumpers instead of differences. These two only differ in the placement in a car. A car fender is located on the sides of a car. Meanwhile, a bumper is located on both the front end and rear end of a car. You can install a total of four car fenders on each wheel arches, while you can install only two bumpers on your car.

A car without a bumper

Some prefer driving without a bumper

Both fenders and bumpers can improve your car’s aesthetics. Some fenders and bumpers can provide an off-road appeal, while some can provide a sporty look. Again, the final look will depend on how you like to style your car.

Not only do fenders and bumpers improve style, but they also improve aerodynamics. These body kits can help the air flow more smoothly on the car which reduces unwanted drag. Some prefer removing these kits for weight reduction, while some prefer installing them for better aerodynamics.

A wrecked black Ford

Fenders and bumpers protect you in the event of an accident... to some extent

A bumper helps reduce the damage from an impact on the front and rear end of a car, while a fender helps minimize damage from an impact on the sides. 

IV. Car fender vs Bumper: FAQs

Q: Where is a car bumper located?

You can find two bumpers on your car. One on the front end and one on the rear end. These are installed on your car to reduce the damage in the event of a vehicular collision.

Q: Do all cars have fenders?

Yes, fenders are standard features on cars. These body kits are located on the wheel arches of your car. There are aftermarket fenders that help widen your car which provides a sportier look. Also, some use fenders to improve off-roading appeal and capabilities.

Q: What material is used for bumpers?

Most production cars these days come with plastic bumpers. But no worries, plastics have come a long way, especially in the automotive industry. They are capable enough to withstand almost any impact.

Q: What is the function of a car fender?

A car fender is placed around the wheel arches to prevent debris such as rocks, dirt, and water from being thrown off by the tires.

Q: Do bumpers improve aerodynamics?

Yes, a front bumper can improve your car’s aerodynamics. With an aerodynamic bumper, it can both help you accelerate faster and help you save fuel in the long run.

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Rex Sanchez

Rex Sanchez


Rex Sanchez grew up in Saudi Arabia where he saw and got into the automotive scene. He started his career for an aviation company in the said region, writing about turbines and rotors which are later distributed for educational purposes. And now, he joined as a staff writer. Currently, he is the youngest on the team and is more than ready to grow in the field.


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