Car Mud Flaps

If you drive, you need mud flaps. Despite the common misconception that only drivers who drive off-road need them, mud flaps protect your car from all sorts of dangers, even if you only drive on newly paved streets. Driving on any surface presents a great deal of danger to your car, whether through contributing through long-term wear and tear, or through risking an immediate problem by having something small shoot into its undercarriage. Mud flaps can slow and outright stop both types of damage.

First, there is a difference between mud flaps and mud guards. Mud flaps are soft and flexible – that is to say, they flap. Guards, on the other hand, are hard and inflexible. Guards are better for repelling strong debris, and they aren’t as likely to twist out of the way at high speeds, but for any other needs, mud flaps are superior. Their flexibility allows them to protect better against more types of debris, and they can keep your car clean without getting in the way.

The advantages to mud flaps are overwhelming, but the real incentive to buy one is in the risk taken when a car doesn’t have mud flaps. And those risks occur in any driving situation. Even on a newly paved road, there is a good amount of debris that can get sucked into the undercarriage of your car and cause problems. There is dirt on any road, and beyond keeping that dirt out of your car’s undercarriage, a mud flap also protects the tires. That cleanliness goes beyond aesthetics – the dirt and rubble that a mud flap keeps away from your tires can both improve your car’s grip and your tires’ lifespan.

The only real disadvantage to mud flaps comes with installing them yourself. Some cars that aren’t built for mud flaps don’t have the holes necessary, so you might have to drill them in yourself. That isn’t a very hard thing to do, as it only requires you drill two minor holes into the wheel well, and you can find guides on installing them on the internet or even through instructions from the flaps’ maker, if included. Even with the small amount of time required to install them, the flaps are well worth it. You can get a set of flaps for around $20, and once you’ve made that one-time expense, you’ve protected your car from damage that could cost hundreds of dollars.

When it comes to buying your mud flaps (or guards), the most important item to remember is the material the flaps are made of. If they are made completely out metal and inflexible, they are mud guards, which we covered earlier. Most of the cheapest mud flaps are made out of plastic. They are typically smaller, so they can provide less protection, and they can break at extreme temperatures. Others are made from a rubber (or a rubber composite) base, which are usually more effective, but they can “sail” (i.e. the wind can lift them up and keep them from protecting your tires) if you’re driving too fast.

Each type has its pros and cons, so weigh the type of driving you do against them to find out which type will suit your car best. However, rubber or composite flaps are the most general-purpose. They can provide good coverage in almost any situation, and they are neither prone to breaking in extreme cold, nor can they get stuck in dirt or snow like guards. Mud flaps cover everything from basic driving through the city to off-road, heavy duty driving, and they are a cheap, efficient way to protect your car from many unknown dangers.

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