Mud flaps, or also known as mud guards and splash guards are rubber mats which are attached directly behind the wheels of automobiles. As the name implies, mud flaps serve to shield cars from mud and other debris flung out by tires. Most mud flaps are made of high-grade plastic while some are made of metal. It is essential that both rear and front tires be outfitted with mud flaps as road debris will be kicked up and small stones being thrown by the tires may cause scratches and other damages to vehicles and other vehicles from behind. Mud flaps are rather easy to install, but can sometimes prove to be a very messy and awkward process. Just a few bolts or screws are enough to hold the top of the mud flap firmly in place while the bottom edge remains unattached.
With mud guards, mud, snow, slush, and other road debris are kept within the vehicle's wheel. The more debris being blocked from damaging a vehicle's finish, the lesser the likelihood of paint damage and rust or corrosion problems. Although they are commonly called mud flaps, mud guards and splash guards, these rubber mats also help deflect loose gravel and excessive rainwater. Thus, mud flaps may certainly prove handy during heavy rains and other extreme driving conditions.
Like many other after-market vehicle accessories, mud flaps have now become popular means of self-expression. Most automotive supply stores sell a variety of mud flaps which feature cartoon characters, famous logos, artworks, quotations akin to bumper stickers. There are even some companies who actually manufacture custom mud flaps with their name and contact information on it.
Mud Flaps Buyer's Guide
- Mud flaps, sometimes called mud guards or splash guards, protect your vehicle by shielding it from debris being flung by your tire. Mud flaps can be made of plastic, rubber, stainless steel, or aluminum.
- There are universal and custom fit variants available for you to choose from. A single mud flap can cost you less than $50 while a whole set costs around $100 to $250.
- Watch for symptoms indicating that your mud flaps need replacement. If they’re rubbing against your tire or making an unusual rattling noise, it may be time to have them replaced. A visible crack in your mud flaps also should not be taken for granted.
Whether you are driving an SUV, a pickup truck, or a luxurious sedan, you would do your best to prevent your vehicle from being splashed with mud and dirt especially when driving through different road conditions. Aside from mud and dirt, sharp debris could cause harm, especially to the sensitive parts of your vehicle that are prone to rust and corrosion. The solution to this problem is plain and simple. Invest in good mud flaps.
What are mud flaps and what do they do?
Did you ever notice those large rectangular sheets suspended behind a truck’s tires? How about the small molded lips below the rear of a vehicle’s wheel well? Those are mud flaps. Sometimes called mud guards or splash guards, mud flaps protect your vehicle by shielding it from debris being flung by your tire. They are usually attached to the wheel wells of your car.
Most vehicles do not come with mud flaps as standard. While some may argue that mud flaps are not necessary especially when you’re not driving off-road, they are actually a reasonable and low-cost investment. They protect your ride from the elements that can cause deep scratches and paint chips. Investing in good mud flaps would save you time and a lot of money in the future. Installing a good set will surely cost less than repainting your car.
What are mud flaps made of?
Mud flaps can be made of different materials. Depending on the price and the brand, they can be made of plastic, rubber, stainless steel, or aluminum.
These are usually recommended for vehicles that do not usually pass through off-road trails and complex terrains. Due to the nature and design of metal flaps, it is recommended for vehicles that are usually exposed to soft dust and wet mud only. Although metal mud flaps can give a hardcore look to your vehicle, they are not recommended for big trucks.
Aluminum vs Steel
Usually, metal mud flaps are made of either aluminum or steel. These two materials both have the characteristic and strength of metal. However, steel variants are heavier than aluminum ones. These two materials are also known for their corrosion-resistant property, making it an excellent choice for mud flaps.
If you’re always driving over complex roads and terrains, then you would need a flexible and durable mud flap installed. Rubber mud flaps are recommended for big trucks and jeeps that go on off-road adventures. These are not only durable, but they are also easy to clean.
Plastic mud flaps are usually found in cars. Although they are not as flexible as rubber, plastic mud flaps can withstand extreme weather conditions. They are also durable enough to protect your vehicle from debris.
Every material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, rubber can be a much better option than plastic, especially when driving off-road since it is more flexible and durable compared to rigid plastic materials.
What are the types of mud flaps?
There are several types of mud flaps available in the market today but generally, they can be classified into two:
These are mud flaps that can fit any vehicle, on both rear and front wheels as necessary. These are often cut to different shapes and sizes to fit your vehicle. If you choose to purchase a universal mud flap, it is best to have your trusted mechanic install it for you to ensure that they fit your vehicle.
Custom mud flaps are made specifically for your vehicle’s year, make and model. Some semi-fit variants are made for a specific make, so you would still have to cut them to custom fit your vehicle. Although there are many self-help videos online on how to install mud flaps, it is best to have your trusted mechanic do it for you.
How much does a set of mud flaps cost?
Mud flaps can come in sets of two or four. Some brands also sell them individually. A single mud flap can cost you less than $50 while a whole set could cost around $100 to $250 depending on the brand and material used.
Symptoms of a worn-out mud flap:
Just like any other car part and accessory, mud flaps can get worn out over time. If you already have them installed in your vehicle, here are some symptoms you should watch for that could indicate that they need replacement:
Rubbing on your tire
Any object rubbing the tire can create a noticeable burning smell especially when the vehicle is running. This is an obvious symptom that your mud flaps are loosely or incorrectly installed. It can also be an indicator that they are already worn out, causing them to rub against the tire.
One of the obvious signs that your mud flaps need replacement are visible cracks in them. Although small cracks may not matter, they will soon develop into large visible cracks. These will make your mud flaps useless. Sharp debris, rocks, and dirts can just easily get through and damage your vehicle’s fenders and other sensitive car parts underneath.
An increased amount of debris flying from underneath your car
If you notice many cracks and paint chips despite having an old mud flap installed, it may be time to have it replaced. Debris can also reach other vehicles behind you or a pedestrian passing by. This can cause unnecessary trouble while on the road.
If you’re thinking of installing mud flaps or having old ones replaced, make sure to put in mind your vehicle type. Also, consider your day to day driving activities as well as the road condition in your area when choosing the right fit for your vehicle. If you are unsure about it, contact your trusted mechanic.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Mud Flaps
Besides car part damage, dirt and grime are some other frustrating things that can happen to your vehicle. Good thing there's one surefire way on to prevent mud or dirt from splashing onto your vehicle's body and underside. By installing a set of mud flaps, you can travel through muddy roads without the fear of messing up your vehicle's pristine looks. Aside from protecting your precious ride from mud, mud flaps also enhance the looks of your vehicle. In fact, mud flaps are among the favorite additions of today's auto and off-road enthusiasts. Whether you are looking for molded-splash mud flaps or diamond-plate mud guards, CarParts.com can you what you want. Check our wide selection of mud flaps today.
• A set of mud flaps over your vehicle's rear wheels can give your vehicle a tougher, more aggressive look.
• Mud flaps are some of the easiest accessories to install on your vehicle.
• When you shop at CarParts.com, mud flaps come at a budget-friendly price, too.
What to Consider When Choosing a Mud Flap for Your Ride
Drivers who frequently go off the beaten track need to outfit their vehicle with mud flaps. These accessories are essential to avoid paint chips, dents, and other forms of damage caused by mud, loose stones, and other road debris that may be thrown by the tires to the vehicle's side panels. Like other vehicle accessories, mud flaps come in various sizes, colors, materials, and design. Here are some things you should consider to get the right mud flaps for your ride.
Materials: heavy-duty rubber vs. molded plastic
Some mud flaps made from heavy-duty rubber come straight; others have a slight curve to match the vehicle's frame and wheel well. Units that feature a straight design and rectangular shape are usually universal and can be used in just about any type of vehicle, but if you're going to install them on smaller vehicles, you may have to cut them shorter. Rubber mud flaps with contoured design are, most of the time, specific to a particular vehicle make and model. Before you shell out bucks for these, make sure they're really made to match the specifications of your ride.
Molded plastic mud flaps, on the other hand, are more vehicle specific, with a design that follows the contours of your vehicle's fenders and wheel wells. They can be painted to perfectly blend with your ride's paint. When purchasing this type of mud flaps, you should keep your vehicle's year, make, and model in mind or you'll just end up wasting your bucks.
Installation: No-drill vs. screw-on
Traditional mud flaps are held in place by screws, so you have to drill into your vehicle to install them. You're fortunate if your ride comes with factory-drilled holes because all you have to do is to screw the mud flaps on. This type of mud flaps is perfect for off-road vehicles because the screws secure the mud flap in place no matter how harsh the driving condition is. But if you want easy installation, no-drill mud flaps are for you. This type can be attached to the vehicle using a special snap or fastener.
Quantity sold: kit vs. set of two
Though some mud flaps are sold individually, it's wise that you get a kit or a set of two to enhance your vehicle's looks. Most mud flaps that are sold in a set of two include installation instructions and mounting hardware. Mud flap kits, on the other hand, may contain both and more. They may include anti-sail bars, hangers, quick pins, end caps, and other things that will make installation easier or the mud flaps more efficient.
No matter what type of mud flaps you'll get, make sure their bottom edge will not be more than 10 inches from the ground.
Mud Flap Installation: How to Do It in Five Easy Steps
Are you tired of cleaning your vehicle every now and then just to get rid of mud and back spray from the side panels and the fender wells? You should outfit your ride with mud flaps. These add-ons do two things-they protect the vehicle against mud and debris that may be thrown by the tires, and they make it look more eye-catching. Here are the steps in installing mud flaps so that you won't frequently spend bucks for carwash.
Difficulty level: Easy
What you'll need:
- Drill and bit (should match the size of the mud flap screws)
- Wrench or screwdriver
- Measuring tape
Step 1: Park your vehicle on a flat ground to get an accurate measurement between the ground and the lower end of the mud flap. If you want, you can remove the tire so you'll have enough space to work comfortably.
Step 2: Clean the mounting surface on the wheel well using a degreaser to eliminate dirt buildup.
Step 3: Get the first mud flap and test-fit it to be sure there's enough clearance in the wheel wells and the flap matches the vehicle's contours. Face the decorative side outward and make sure the flap's distance off the ground is just right.
Step 4: If your ride already has factory-drilled mounting holes for mud flaps, all you have to do is to connect the mud flaps without tightening the screws all the way. If the vehicle doesn't have factory-drilled holes, drill a hole using the mud flap as template. Secure it with screw, but be careful not to over-tighten it.
Step 5: Drill the second hole on the opposite side of the first hole and slot in the screw. If there are remaining screws, make the necessary holes and put the screws on. Double check if the mud flap is level and parallel to the ground before tightening the screws. Repeat these steps for the other mud flaps.
Mud flaps are pretty easy to install, but since you will fit in more than one unit, the process can be time consuming.