What’s in a name? I remember the first time my uncle from Missouri visited us in Washington State; he said he was going to the store for some sody and goobers. How in the world was I to know he meant pop and peanuts?

The same can be said about car parts around the world. In Great Britain one car part is called a wing; in Germany the same part is called a Kotflugel; and in the United States it is called a fender, or mudguard, or mudflap. Whatever you wish to call it, by definition it is the car part that frames the wheel well and protects the car from sand, gravel, dirt of foreign objects from being thrown to the undercarriage of the car or projected outwards towards people on the sidewalk.

In America it has become an accepted and widely-used part of our vocabulary as small accidents are called fender benders even though most accidents have nothing to do with a damaged fender. In truth most small accidents should be called bumper benders, but that’s a topic of discussion for another day.

At one time fenders were made of very rigid metal but with the advancement in metals we now see most fenders made of fiberglass or aluminum and they truly are easy to “bend.” One could also argue, and rightfully so, that the fenders do a rather poor job of keeping foreign matter from splashing up under a car, since many of us are quite accustomed to spraying the undercarriage to rid it of sand, dirt and gravel, but again, we can tackle that topic at another time.

Many of the new vehicles produced today really don’t have a separate piece that could be called a fender; rather it is a side panel that includes what could be called a fender; in other words, the cost of replacement is considerably higher if you should need a fender since chances are you need to buy the entire side panel.

And since we are on the subject of cost, one of the car repairs that most of us can do with a little research is replacing a side panel or fender on a car, so you might want to keep that in mind the next time a salvage yard like All Import Auto Parts has a sale on exterior parts. With savings of up to 60% on selected parts it is silly to pay an auto parts store full price and then pay a mechanic to replace that part. Buy replacement parts at a salvage yard and save big on the cost of that used auto part.