Mud Guards & Mud Flaps

Mud Guards and Mud Flaps

Protecting your Paint Job and Fellow Motorists

These devices not only protect your vehicle’s paint job from getting scuffed up, but they also stop your tires from throwing rocks and debris at other vehicles behind you. These common truck accessories look great and accent your tires and wheels, all while performing a very necessary task: keeping mud and rocks away from the undercarriage and side of your truck or Jeep.

Why do you need Mud Flaps on your Truck?

While most of your vehicle’s metal surfaces are either coated in some kind of sealant or clear coat in the case of painted areas, or the hard outer layer of treated stainless steel might suffice while she is sitting on a lot waiting to be purchased, once you hit the road, we encounter a different set of obstacles and a completely new story.

No matter how much prep work goes in, how good the sealant or coat might be, over time chips and breaks in the seal will occur. This is just part of the nature of things, I suppose. But let’s assume that you want to do everything you can to try to save and prevent your metal from rusting and your painted panels from getting damaged.

We tend to like to focus on the cause of these issues over just treating the symptoms. Of course, you can always reseal or touch up paint. That’s not the point though. If you just keep putting a preventative coat of sealant down over the paint or the metal you want to protect from rust, but you aren’t doing everything you can to prevent that shielding layer from wearing down and deteriorating, you’re fighting a losing battle right from the start.

Instead, we should ask ourselves what the main cause of this kind of damage really is. Certainly when we are talking about your undercarriage there could be many culprits. Driving through hard packed snow if you live in a region of the country that gets several feet of snow at a time throughout the winter months can do some real damage to just about any metal surface over time. Likewise if you are heading off road and might encounter large rocks or crevices which might cause your undercarriage to come into contact with anything hard or rough, this could scuff up both the metal surface, prompting rust, as well as damaging your paint job.

And while these kinds of driving conditions effect certain individuals and their vehicles, there are some aspects here that can cause us all trouble no matter where you live. Whether you’re flying down a desert highway or driving down main street of a small town in the grasslands of America, we all encounter these treacherous and commonplace hazards. You’re all familiar with them. And while some in academia may use more complex words like metamorphic or igneous, for us it is easy and simple enough to just call them what they are: rocks.

Yes, rocks are one of the main culprits and catalysts to damaging both your paint job and your undercarriage. And the cause of these issues is pretty straight forward as well. Imagine you take a rock, even a tiny one, and chuck it very hard at a smooth surface like a door panel on your truck. Even if that plastic or metal door is very tough and durable, if you get that rock or pebble moving fast enough, the force of the impact is going to cause a ding or dent or at the very least a tiny scratch in the top coat of that surface.

Now you might be thinking that’s a pretty tiny dent. If it only damages the surface of the metal or the painted area in a small isolated spot, then who’s even gonna notice or care? And if it’s plastic, then you don’t even have to worry about rust, right?

Sure, you’re not going to get rust damage on your plastic door panel, that’s true. But it can start to look unsightly, and the more it happens, the larger the scratch marks and damaged area is going to be.

And while that cosmetic part is important, cause you don’t want you vehicle to look bad, even if it is just a work truck, if there’s damage to your paint job you can see near the wheels and wheel wells of your truck, I’d be more concerned about what you haven’t seen yet.

Over time, repetitive damage like this can cause metal portions of your undercarriage to become exposed. And that’s just the beginning. Even the best sealant or powder coat if struck enough times at high speed will start to wear down. And once that unsealed metal is exposed, you’re in for an issue.
Once the metal is exposed to the elements, it is only a matter of time before rust can start to form and deteriorate the metal.

A Year in the Life of Your Undercarriage

Let’s run through a quick season for a vehicle for instance.

In our hypothetical example, let’s imagine that you purchase your brand spanking new truck in the summer of the year. It hasn’t been driven at all. This baby is cherry!

You hit the highways, tackle a few projects, maybe even help your brother move into his new house. And every time you take her out on the road, your truck is getting more wear and tear. And we aren’t talking about engine maintenance here. We mean your undercarriage. Because for every single rock your tires sling or bouncing pebble that comes into contact with the metal of your vehicle, tiny defects and dents are starting to form in the sealant or powder coating.

Yes, even that very first summer, you could already start to see some of the formerly protected metal of your undercarriage becoming exposed to the harsh realities of a cruel world filled with rust, also known as the dreaded oxidation!

But at this point you might not even be privy to any damage. You might not see any scratches near your wheel wells on your painted surfaces. There might not be any. Your clear coat might have stood up to the few impacts so far.

But while the side of your truck will occasionally get hit with bouncing rocks or flung pebbles, your undercarriage get pelted almost every single day.

As a common example of the summer months around here, we drive on many gravel and asphalt roads. And for many of our country roads this means either putting down fresh gravel nearly every year or laying down a layer of tar on the asphalt. Let’s start with the less frightening of those two: the gravel.

As you drive over the top of this fresh gravel, you can hear the damage taking place. You just need to turn down your radio and stop revving the engine, and you’ll hear it right away. That sound like rain on a tin roof that’s coming from underneath your truck is tiny rocks and pebbles bouncing back up into your undercarriage. And each and everyone of those little impacts may not be making a major amount of damage, but if you have enough of them hitting in the same area over time, eventually you start to get some real damage.

And that exposed metal might not be the end of the world for a few days in the summer, but where I live you’re already exposed to so much humidity that you might already see the starts of some rust forming as well.

And that’s not even the worst of it.

Try the tar next. Or better yet, avoid it if you can.

I’ve accidentally driving a newly waxed pickup truck onto a recently tarred road, and let me tell you, it’s a great way to see exactly where you’re tires are throwing rocks and other road debris. Afterwards I could see the little spray patterns of black tar and try to work to break them off.

And underneath, don’t even get me started.

What’s especially rough about the tar and rock is that it is both a hard impact that makes initial damage plus a tar that is hard to get off. Over time though as your engine heats up or the tar just loses its cling, the rocks will fall off. And guess what? They will likely bounce up again on their way down and hit your undercarriage once more. Goodie!

And remember, this is just the start of the season--your vehicle’s first summer on the road.

Just wait. There’s more.

We enter the autumn months and leaves and seed pods and even branches all start to fall as the Winter comes on. And while we all try to be careful to avoid hitting large objects with your vehicles, undoubtedly, these things happen. A few minor scraps and bumps and the damage that started in the summer months starts to expand. What was once a tiny gap in the powder coating on your undercarriage, gets hit back a tree branch and expands outward. Now you have even more metal exposed than before. And it all has happened just in time, because guess what’s coming?

Now depending on where you are in the country, the Winter months might mean different kinds of weather for you. In the temperate areas and the northern States, this almost always means snow, which is worse. And in the coast lands and warmer areas, it often means the raining season has arrived.

Either way, welcome to rust city, my friend!

Whether you’re driving through a foot of snow on a regular basis or splashing through puddles, an odd thing starts to happen: oxygen meets water meets metal, and the oxidation process begins. For most metals this means a chemical reaction between the three that results in robbing the metal of both its strength and coloring. Over time, the metal becomes more and more brittle, before eventually deteriorating to nothing.

I say it is worse for those of us who live in areas that get a lot of snow for two reasons. One, the snow has this tendency to get caked up in your wheel wells and parts of your undercarriage which only promotes more rust. Two, the chemicals and salts we put on the roads to try to melt the snow tend to also aid in damaging your sealants and exacerbate the entire rusting process. Sigh.

If you’re just in a rainy area, you might not have quite as rough of a time. The rain water will still promote rust, but at least it doesn’t get caked up on your vehicle or anything like that. Likewise, you don’t have to worry about any of the salt or nasty chemicals.

I’ve had mechanics ask people from the area I live in if their vehicles have been submerged before for extended periods of time, for instance.

A buddy of mine had most of his undercarriage rust away to the point that his engine was on the point of dropping out the bottom of his vehicle. When the mechanic took a look at it, he could have sworn he was dealing with a truck that had been partially submerged in salt water for at least a few days if not a week. He asked if the vehicle had ever been in a wreck that involved it sitting in water for a while.

My friend said no, but when he told the mechanic where he had been living previous, up in the Midwestern States, Indiana specifically, near the Great Lakes where they get a lot of lake effect snow, the mechanic just shrugged and said that explains it.

Hopefully that explains to you just how much damage these winter weather conditions can cause.

Come Spring, just about wherever you are you’re hit with--you guessed it--more rain. And by the end of that first season you can find yourself like me--already struggling with rust on your frame and undercarriage.

So how can we prevent this kind of damage and rust from ever taking root? This is a great question. Flex Seal is all I can think. Just playing. Most any sealant will eventually wear down over time, but I’m tempted.

Rather we need to treat the source of the damage.

In this case, it really is those small rocks being thrown often by your tires that start the whole damaging process. We need to intercept those rocks with something hard and durable that redirects them away from both your vehicle and other vehicles too.

This is why the Mud Guard was invented in the first place. And while it does a great job of preventing mud from being thrown up into your undercarriage, which will accelerate rust and damage much like snow does, it also will knock down rocks and pebbles and tar and just about everything else your tire is likely to kick up onto your vehicle.

Bandaids will always be a thing. And there’s nothing wrong with touch up paint and re-sealing metal parts. But at the end of the day, if you just keep using Bandaids, you’re not treating the source of the issue.

You need a good set of mud flaps to stop this process from ever starting. And that’s where a great set like Husky Liners Mud Guards come in.

No matter which mud flap or guard you go with, we hope you find a pair that is both stylish and durable. Rubber guards are great for trucks as well as the more inflexible plastic versions. Both will take damage over time, but remember that’s what they are there for. You’re better off replacing your mud guards once every three to five years or as needed rather than having your whole undercarriage rust out like my buddy.

Protect your vehicle’s paint job, undercarriage, and frame today by picking up a great set of mud flaps.

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