Whether you're building a trail rig for off-road adventures or you're lowering a sports car for handling and aerodynamics, you may want to think about protecting the undercarriage from the risk of damage. No matter where you travel, there's a risk of undercarriage damage from impact. On the trails, there's a risk from things like rocks and branches across the trail. With a lowered car, pretty much any obstruction in the road, including speed bumps, could pose a risk to your undercarriage. That's where skid plates come in. If you want to make sure that your car's undercarriage parts are protected, you need to invest in the right skid plates. Here's a look at what you need to know to get the right skid plates for your vehicle.
Know Your Mounting Options
The first thing you need to think about before you invest in skid plates is the way you intend those plates to mount. This means becoming familiar with your vehicle's undercarriage. For example, does your vehicle have a full-frame? If so, you may be able to anchor your skid plates to the frame. If you have a unibody vehicle, you'll have to look for mounting points along what would be the frame rail. In most cases, it's best to have your skid plates professionally installed to ensure proper anchoring.
Consider Your Material
The next factor you need to think about when you're investing in skid plates is the material those plates are made from. In order to get the right material for your application, you need to think about the hazards that you're dealing with. For example, if you're adding skid plates to an off-road truck, you'll want to invest in steel skid plates. Thick-gauge steel is the best option to protect the undercarriage from hazards such as rocks on the trail. If you're adding skid plates to a streetcar, you can opt for something thinner because the hazards are lesser.
Think About What You're Protecting
Once you've narrowed down the way your skid plates will mount and the material that they will be made from, the last thing you need to think about is how much of the undercarriage you intend to protect. For example, you can choose to put a skid plate solely over the gas tank. The gas tank is an important part to cover, so this is a common option. However, if you want the best possible protection, you should consider a skid plate for every section of the undercarriage. This allows you to protect not just the gas tank, but also the oil pan, suspension, and steering linkage.
Talk with a local skid plate installation contractor about the options to protect your car's undercarriage parts.