A Conversation with Doc Xenon,
our resident doctor
of design, fit and installation.
Questions About Xenon® Sport Flares
1) Doc, I’m thinking about buying a set of fender flares for the wife’s pickup and my TJ Jeep. What are my choices and how do I find the best flare?
- Fortunately there are various choices available. The major manufacturers such as Ford, GM and Chrysler offer factory flares, but they only extend out about an inch or so and they can be very expensive. I recommend aftermarket flares. Most extend about an 1 to 3” more than stock for wider tires and wheels and they’re a much better value.
2) That’s for me, I want the wider flares and I definitely
want the better value. Are there still choices?
- Actually quite a few. To start with, you should consider the material the flares are manufactured from. How durable is it? Will it survive an impact? Does it paint well? How does it affect design?
3) It sounds like the material used is pretty important. What if someone hits my flare in a parking lot or I hit something while driving off road?
- That’s a good question. Fender flares are the most exposed part of the side of your vehicle and could be the first area of contact on a side impact. Flares are manufactured from fiberglass, ABS co-laminates and urethane. Fiberglass is brittle and can shatter on impact. ABS co-laminates are tough plastic and can withstand moderate impacts.
Urethane, the material used by major auto manufacturers for impact resistant parts, is the toughest and most flexible. Urethane can take an impact that severely distorts the part and yet return to it’s original shape.
4) Clearly urethane is the best material for ruggedness and durability, but what about painting?
- All the materials, fiberglass, ABS and urethane are very paintable and they all look good when they’re painted. The nice thing about urethane, when painted with a flexible paint, is that it can withstand a moderate flexing without damaging the paint. That’s the benefit of urethane.
5) Ok Doc, we’ve covered durability, impact and painting. You also said that the material can affect the design of the fender flare. What did you mean?
- The way material affects design is in the manufacturing process. Let’s compare ABS co-laminates and urethane, the industry leaders. ABS parts are thermo-formed, a sheet of plastic is formed over a mold to form the flare. Because it’s formed from a thin sheet of plastic that stretches over the mold, the plastic thins when it stretches, in some cases to a sixteenth of an inch.
Urethane parts are made by injecting plastic into a 2-piece mold. Unlike the ABS parts, urethane parts can have endless design features molded into the part for strength, fit and styling. We maintain a flare wall thickness of one eight inch or more throughout the flare.
6) I’m SOLD on urethane flares Doc, but what about design? How will they look on my truck?
- Design is reflected in two important features, each must be achieved for design excellence. First is the special design or style of the flare. Does it blend with the vehicles natural contours and when mounted is it an integral part of the design?
Some vehicles have different or unusual fender flare requirements such as most Jeeps, specifically the CJ7, YJ, TJ and the new 07 and up JK. All of these flares are bolt on parts so the aftermarket flare must be predrilled as ours are. In addition, consideration must be given to the lift/size of wheel/size of tires that Jeep owners tend to install on their vehicles. On the new JK we actually make flares that are 1.6” wider than stock to accommodate 35” or taller with a wider than stock rim; however, we also make a JK flare that is 1.5” LESS THAN STOCK WIDTH which is designed to allow the tire to extend beyond (depending on the rim width and backspacing) the flare edge which is a look and function that many Jeep owner prefer. For all Jeeps we offer a traditional style Jeep flare but in addition we offer a “flat panel” design Jeep flare that is quickly becoming the preferred purchase of the Jeep owner.
The second feature is fit. Does it join to the body perfectly matching the body contour? Certainly one of the primary reasons you’re putting flares on you truck is that you want them to look good.
Of all the leading flare manufacturers Xenon has been on the leading edge of styling and design for almost two decades
7) You mention Xenon has been on the leading edge of style and design. Would you elaborate on that?
- Sure, I’d be glad to. Xenon is an industry leader in designing and manufacturing urethane ground effect kits for popular sport coupes, sedans and even pick-up trucks. Xenon ground effect kits have with stood the rugged test of race cars, but most of our customers buy them to enhance the beauty of their vehicles.
Xenon is the leader of two reasons: One is the styling and the other is quality urethane parts with excellent fit. Xenon commissions leading designers to style all our products. We also have our own tooling department to insure quality tooling and the fit of our products.
8) Do you mean Xenon has a professional designer style every fender flare kit?
- That’s right, every fender flare application is individually designed. The flare shouldn’t just be sticking out to cover a wider rim and tire, it should be an integral part of the truck’s design.
Our manufacturing process gives our designers far greater freedom in designing fender flares. For instance Xenon Sport Flares fit directly to the side of the truck without an extra edge trim like others. I hope I’ve answered all your questions and that you’ll compare our Xenon Sport Flares for styling, rugged construction, fit and ease of installation.
I really believe they’re the