Mud Flaps for Trucks 101
Did you know that 38 states have mud-guard regulations? No? Don’t feel bad. Mud flaps aren’t exactly discussed by truck drivers, or even heavy-duty truck companies. That is, until now.
Mud flaps are one of the most important truck accessories on the market for semis and dump trucks and really should be required in all states. They are much needed during rainy months (increasingly important in hurricane season which is going on now) and offer additional safety measures for drivers. Keep reading to learn the basics including what they are and why they matter.
What Are Mud Flaps For Semis?
Picture this: you are driving in the blinding rain (a stressful situation on the road) when suddenly, small pebbles and other debris come flying at your vehicle. You think about how lucky you are to be behind the wheel of a heavy-duty truck but fail to realize that one of the reasons why you are safe is because you have mud guards.
Mud flaps, also known as mud guards or splash guards, are used to protect vehicles, passengers and other vehicles from mud and other flying debris thrown up by rotating tires while shielding passing vehicles from costly dings and dents caused by kicked-up rocks. Driving can be done without them; but driving complications may follow (and we aren’t just talking about dirty windshields – although that is one concern).
What You Need To Know About Mud Flaps.
Mud flaps are made from a flexible material, such as rubber, that is not easily damaged by debris or road surface and are often rectangular in shape. Many states require splash guards/mud flaps to be within 10 inches of the ground. For this reason, they may be molded below the rear of the truck’s wheel wells. Aerodynamic mud flaps that utilize vents or heat-venting technologies, for example, can improve airflow and lower drag.
Will Mud Flaps Increase Drag and Lower Fuel Efficiency?
Truck drivers may be hesitant to buy mud flaps for semis as they may believe the truck accessory will increase drag or reduce gas mileage; however, a study by the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga indicated that slatted mud flaps can reduce drag more than eight percent. Furthermore, mud flaps help to reduce side spray and even promote better airflow for cooler tires and brakes.
As for mileage, mud flaps don’t affect MPG one bit.
What Happens When Mud Flaps Get Damaged?
Mud flaps go through a lot; and the dirty truth of the matter is that they will eventually need to be replaced. Mud flaps will suffer abuse from the road and will lead to corrosion to the vehicle’s frame plus grime, stains and chips on the vehicle’s paint if not exchanged.
How To Install Trucks Mud Flaps?
Before installing mud flaps, it is recommended that the wheel area is clean, and you are working on level ground. Skilled vehicle mechanics may find it easier to remove the tire from the work area; but it is not a deal breaker for installation. Start by attaching the rubber mud flap on the wheel well. Next, drill a hole on the side of the mud flap directly through the wheel well and secure it with a screw without fully tightening it (you may need to adjust placement). Then, drill a second hole on the other side making it flush with the other hole. Once you are happy with placement, you may tighten the screws to finish the job.
Mud Flaps Recap
Reputable truck brands, such as Match Made, Autocar and Spicer, carry some of the best mud flaps for heavy-duty trucks. While mud guards may not be required in your state, they are recommended to protect drivers, passengers and moving vehicles from throwing stones, mud and other flying debris.