The primary purpose of fender flares is to prevent the rotating wheels and tires from throwing particles such as mud, rocks, sand, liquids, and other road substances into the air and/or damaging the vehicles finish along the wheel-well.
In short, fender flares are typically available in 3 different styles: OE/Street Style, Pocket/Bolt Style or Extended Style.
OE/Street style fender flares are typically purchased by customers looking to give their truck the upgraded stock look, or just want to hide a small amount of body rust or damage. These flares are not made by the dealer but are designed to reflect the same “off the lot” low-profile styling.
Pocket Flares come with decorative recessed bolts along their upper edge, giving the impression that said bolts are used to attach the fender to the vehicle, although they are really just for show. Bolt style flares are the same look except the bolts are not recessed. Many prefer this rugged look over the OE/Street style or stock flares.
For those who need or desire the most tire coverage, extended flares extend or reach out farther from your vehicle than any other style. There are no bolts or recessed areas, so in a way these fenders often resemble OE Style except that they are wider and often taller too.