What Are Differences Between Fender & Bumper? (Explained)

The different parts and components of a vehicle can get pretty confusing to those who are still new to the terms and names used for certain parts and components.

Two things that often confuse people are the fender and the bumper because of how similar they are.

But what are the differences between the fender and the bumper?

Here’s the difference between fender and bumper

A car’s fender is the part that is right in front of the front tires and is somewhere just close to the front door. The purpose of the fender is to shield away rocks and debris that can be thrown by the tires. However, the bumper is the component that protects the front and back of the vehicle in case of collisions. 


While some people do get confused when it comes to the fender and the bumper, the thing you need to understand is that these components are so different from one another. They are located in different areas and have different purposes.

As such, it is best to look at the major differences that you need to know when it comes to the fender and the bumper.


What part of a car is a fender?

Car parked fender front wheel
Car parked fender front wheel

One of the most unnoticed parts of the vehicle is the fender. The reason why not a lot of people know about this component is that it seems like it is simply a part of the overall aesthetic design of a car.

However, the thing you need to know is that the fender serves a purpose that is quite important when it comes to the vehicle.

But before we get to the purpose of the fender, it is important to know what it is and where it is located.

The fender is actually a body kit that is attached to the sides of the vehicle such that it is located in front of the front tires and just between the front bumper and the front door. It is basically the part that surrounds the front tires of a car.

In the past, the fender used to have a more pronounced curvy look that allowed it to have a very noticeable appearance. You still see this kind of design in current cars that come with a classic and traditional look.

A good example of this is the Volkswagen Beetle, which comes with a curvy and protruding fender that follows the circular shape of the tires.

But as modern cars have begun to incorporate sleeker appearances, the fender has become quite flat and is now incorporated with the car’s overall body such that it no longer has a pronounced and protruding look.

And because of how lowkey fender designs have become, not a lot of people know that it serves a purpose other than making the car look more appealing.

While fenders are used to improve the car’s aesthetics to some degree, they also have purposes that extend beyond looks.

The more important purpose of the fender is to actually serve as a protective barrier that will protect the vehicle and the other cars and people on the road from rocks and debris that may come flying from the front tires.

When you look at the way the car’s tires work, you will understand that anything can get snagged by the tires as they are rotating forward. The rotating tires usually push rocks and other road debris forward and may end up hitting other cars and people who are close to the vehicle.

And even if there aren’t cars and people nearby, the fender is still there to keep rocks, debris, and dirt away from the front part of the vehicle.

However, fenders are also used for other purposes aside from their common practical use.

For example, some fenders are used by off-roading vehicles to protect the body from rocks and dirt that can easily be thrown by the rotating tires. These vehicles usually come with fenders that have large rivet points to make them look tougher and stronger.

There are also some people who use wider fenders that allow their cars to look bigger and wider. This is why there are some sports sedans that come with wide-body kits, which are generally just fenders that allow the cars to look wider, bigger, and tougher.

The look allows the vehicles to have an aggressive and sporty appeal that stock fenders don’t usually have.

Which part of the car is the bumper?

Car bumper stickers

While the fender is often something that people don’t notice, the bumper is an entirely different thing. That’s because it’s difficult to not notice the bumper as it tends to be quite prominent regardless of what the car model is. Of course, the bumper has a function that is unmistakably important as well.

First things first, the bumper is located both at the front and the back of the vehicle. You can find it in the front end of the vehicle just somewhere in front of the hood. A lot of front bumpers tend to offer extended protection, as they can be quite low.

Meanwhile, rear bumpers are found in the rear end of the vehicle just somewhere below the trunk.

The most important function of the bumpers, as their name suggests, is to serve as the first line of protection of the car in case of collisions. Bumpers are there to absorb the impact from a collision to keep the entire car protected from damage.

So, in a way, you can think of them as the counterpart of a police officer’s bulletproof vest in the sense that bumpers absorb impact to minimize the damage to the car.

Bumpers are so important that even the most affordable vehicles have bumpers.

However, the materials used in different types of bumpers will depend on how expensive the vehicle is, as there are some vehicles that have flimsier bumpers that aren’t as capable of absorbing impact as some other bumpers are. This is why there are some vehicles that end up becoming more damaged than others after a collision.

As important as bumpers may be, there are some performance drivers that remove their bumpers to make the car lighter. This is quite common in street racing, as the weight of the car can affect the overall performance of the vehicle.

Removing the bumpers, which can be heavy, can help with the overall weight reduction and will improve the vehicle’s speed and performance.

Take note that the bumper is different from the bullbar. The bullbar looks like a grille guard in front of the vehicle. Bullbars are usually sturdier than bumpers, which are usually just made of plastic or aluminum.

The problem with bullbars, however, is that they can cause more damage to the other vehicle in case of a collision, and that is why bullbars can be illegal in some countries.

What are the differences between fender and bumper?

Now that you know what the fender and the bumper are and where they are located, it is now easy for you to understand the differences between the two.

So let’s look at a quick recap of what makes fenders and bumpers different from one another.


In terms of location, fenders are located somewhere between the front door and the bumper. They are usually in front of the front tires or even around them. Some fenders have wider and more pronounced appearances while others have sleeker and flatter looks.

On the other hand, bumpers are located at both the front end and the rear end of the vehicle. They appear to have a slightly protruded look to make sure that they are the first to absorb any sort of impact in case of a collision. 


The main purpose of the fender is to serve as the shield that keeps rocks, debris, and dirt from flying from the vehicle’s tires. As the tires rotate, they tend to carry along rocks and debris that can easily fly off in front of the vehicle.

This can damage the car and may even end up hitting other vehicles and people that are close by. So, in a sense, the fender is there to keep cars and people protected.

In some cases, fenders are also there for aesthetic purposes because they allow the car to have a wider and tougher look. This depends on the preference of the car owner, as there are some that want to make their cars look sportier with wider and more pronounced fenders.

Meanwhile, bumpers have a more specific purpose in the sense that they are there to absorb any kind of impact in case of a collision.

Bumpers are supposed to be the first components to take any sort of damage and hit in case of an accident so that they can minimize the damage to the rest of the vehicle’s body.

However, because some people don’t find any use for their bumpers, especially when it comes to performance racing, they usually remove the bumpers to make the vehicle lighter and easier to maneuver.


Fender vs. Bumper: What are the Differences?