Learn About Mudflaps
What can I expect from Mud Flaps and what can they do for my vehicle?
No matter what terrain you are exposed to, whether it be on a back road or a paved city highway, the damage from rocks & debris can have a detrimental effect on your vehicle. It may not be obvious, but the tread in your tires pick up fine sand and small rocks that are thrown against the paint on your vehicle or the unit your towing. When the pavement dampens or becomes wet the road debris stick to the tires and are thrown onto or against the paint which damages the finish. At first, the damage may not be noticeable but over time the road rash from day to day damage from rocks, sand, dirty water or mud will take a toll. Usually by the time the paint finish has been damaged, it's already to late. The small chips from road grime will steadily increase in size and will be more than just noticeable...it will be apparent. Once the chips have added up and they start increasing in size the fender will start to rust. So, why not put things in order and use your new knowledge of mud flaps to stop this from happening. The end result in utilizing a mud guard will not only help prevent the eventual decay of the paint and body but it will also prolong the life of your vehicle and it worth.
Now that you have considered the need to protect your investment, you must realize that the boat or trailer you are towing is also an investment? In general, there are two reasons why people own a truck. One is to haul and the other is to tow; or both. When towing expensive toys, the need for a rock guard, mud flaps, splash guards, and mud guards becomes very apparent. Often times the vehicle doing the towing is not as expensive as whats being towed. A 20 foot boat can easily exceed $100,000 and that is not even close to the expensive big ones! Why would anyone with such a large investment consider towing any kind of distance with the potential of damaging the gel coat or the $50,000 trailer it's sitting on? Yet, many do. We know that you won't make this mistake because you have made it to mudflaps.com. We have the largest selection of mud flaps, mud guards, and splash guards on the internet so you can protect your investments.
The term Mud Flap or Flaps is generally used, however Rock Guard or Guards, Mud Guard or Guards, Splash Guard or Guards and some brands call their flaps, Mud Skins. There are just as many, if not more, different kinds of materials that manufacturers use to produce different styles and applications for these flaps. The materials used vary from Rubber, Rubber Composite, Polymer Plastic, Recaptured Car Tires material, Stainless Steel or Diamond Plate or both or all. The various materials allow you to choose the set of mud flaps that will meet your needs. All mud flaps are manufactured with different qualities; some are stiff, extremely rigid...or even made with welded steel. The Rubber compounds tend to be more flexible, while the Polymer-Composite (plastic) tend to be stiffer. Recaptured Car Tires are used in some applications and provide a very strong compound, complete with laced belting that make them very durable. Stainless Steel is used in conjunction with many of the rubber compounds which make a very attractive product.
The following is an attempt to explain the advantages and disadvantages of the current types and materials used to become a Mud Flap.
- Rubber Composite flaps are in general more flexible. These can be molded to an OEM specific Year/Make/Model of a vehicle. These also can be constructed to fit more that one application...meaning a Universal application. The molded applications deliver a very nice fit that looks great and resembles an OEM part. Molded flaps are fitted to the fender behind the tire which can use pre-existing holes or may at times need to have additional holes drilled. The Rubber is flexible and will normally last for the life of the vehicle. The flaps can also have Stainless Steel accents which add will add to the look and strength.
- Polymer Composite flaps are stiffer than the Rubber Composites and are a form of plastic. Plastic compounds can be altered to different degrees of rigidity to allow for varying applications. Tiny beads of plastic are melted and injected into a mold that can match the specific auto body contours. Polymer is stiffer and can be extremely rigid in certain applications. These types are normally flexible enough to easily install and will not bend in the wind. Polymer molded resembles OEM type mud flaps and look and function very well, but are mainly designed to reduce road debris from damaging the paint and not what is being towed. Most molded applications are not long enough to prevent road grime from flying up behind the vehicle, thus towables are likely to still be damaged. However, Mudflaps.com does offer molded brands that do hang lower and add in the prevention of rock damage to towables. Mostly these types are made for dually applications.
- Composite Universal flaps are quite different than molded applications. Universal flaps are designed with a generic design that will allow them to be applied to different kinds of vehicles. Universal flaps come in a large selection of sizes depending on what the application the consumer is needing. These types of guards are more of a cookie cutter type and can easily attach to any vehicle, plus they come in a variety of sizes allowing the ability to apply longer flaps for towing applications. Universal flaps are most often flat and made from either Polymer or Rubber composites. Applications that attach behind the wheel are more often made from Polymer and the larger rectangular shaped flaps are made from a Rubber Composite. Not all Universal flaps are created equal, as some have a molded shape, thus prior to purchase we encourage you shop the different brands on our site to determine the optimal brand your application.
- Dually flaps are specifically designed for dual-wheel trucks. Dual wheel trucks tend to throw up more rock debris than the standard truck due to two reasons. First is that there is simply more area touching the pavement and second the space between the wheels can pick up large rocks. Nearly all dual wheel trucks require mud flaps and they come in a variety of forms and applications. One of the inherent problems with Dually flaps is they hang lower and are very close to the wheels, hence when backing up they occasionally are torn off. Molded and Universal flaps come with a variety of design applications that can accessorize your vehicle. Dually flaps come with probably the largest selection of custom design configurations...both Molded and Universal.
- Stainless Steel flaps are used in all applications. Generally with Rubber composites they accent the mud flaps. Generally Stainless flaps are not one solid piece of steel, but rather a dress up for a standard Polymer or Rubber flap. Some manufacturers have taken the Stainless flaps to a whole new level by laser cutting special designs. It started off years ago with the Naked Lady design used by commercial truckers, but since has grown to depict all kinds of scenes. Mud Guards are no longer just a piece of rubber hanging off the back of a truck, they have become a form of expression and an accessory that can dress up any vehicle.
- Hitch Mount flaps are in a league of their own. Mainly designed to attach to the Ball Mount at the rear of the vehicle. These flaps are large, generally 24 x 24 and offer the best protection of any kind of flap. Due to the location of where their attached and the trajectory of the rocks, these flaps work very well. They are large, hang low to the ground and are far enough away from the rear wheels to stop just about any road debris. Hitch Mount flaps come in many different materials. Both Rubber & Polymer composite are utilized as well as another type, Polymer Composite skirt material...better known as grass skirts. Grass Skirts have evolved through the years and work very well, they have anti-sail devices and are stiffer than the ones created years ago. Both applications serve as the best protection when towing...period.
- Removable & Adjustable is sub-category of Hitch Mudflaps. In general, all Hitch Mount applications are removable, thus allowing folks the ability to take them off when not in use... people don't always tow. This is a great feature, meaning that you attach the flaps when they're needed and can be removed when they're not. Adjustable flaps can be adjusted to any applications, whether it's height or width adjustment that is needed. If your towing, having a Hitch Mount application is the without a doubt the best way to prevent damage to your towables.
One of the most common equipment citations given for delivery trucks is for improper or highly worn mudflaps. It's a common problem for fleets because of the severe conditions in which the commercial trucks deliver. The federal government currently has no regulations pertaining to mud-flaps or splash/spray suppression devices for commercial motor vehicles. Many states have enacted their own regulations governing the type, size, and location of mudflaps and/or splash and spray suppression devices on commercial trucks. Many states require fenders, covers, mudflaps, or other splash/spray suppression devices that minimize the splash or spray of water, rocks, mud, or other materials from being thrown onto the windshields of following vehicles. These regulations vary by state. Oversized tires and lifted trucks are often subjected to inspection due to the increased likelihood of following/passing vehicles being damage from road debris. Mud flaps have come a long way in both appearance and performance. We recommend buying a nice pair of mud flaps to help protect your investments, meet your state regulations, and improve the appearance of your truck, car, or SUV.