During off-road travels, your vehicle, especially its underside, has to endure a lot of beatings and punishment. This is the reason some of the vehicle components down there usually end up ruptured, dented, cracked, and prematurely damaged. But this shouldn't stop you from enjoying the road less traveled! With a skid plate installed, you can now go off-roading all you want and with confidence that the vehicle's underside won't get damaged.
Besides shielding some of the vehicle's important components, this plate will also help keep your vehicle from getting hung up on trail obstacles and rocks. If you're in the market to look for this add-on, here are some of the factors you should consider to get a product that will address your needs and offer the best value for your money:
Off-road vehicles deserve a part that's ruggedly durable. So when choosing a skid plate, you have to make sure that it is made from heavy-duty materials that can withstand all the rigors of your daily grind.
Among the materials commonly used in making automotive skid plates are steel, carbon fiber, and aluminum. Each of these materials has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages, so before paying for one, do a research first to find out which of these will last long while doing the task efficiently. Keep in mind that the skid plate's task is to protect some of the vehicle's major mechanical components, including some parts of the steering, differential, suspension, engine, and transmission systems. So, choose one that's really up to the task.
Considering its task and location, the skid plate will need to be made from rust-resistant materials or, at least, to have a coating or finish that's highly resistant to rust. This way, even if a portion of your vehicle got submerged in water or coated with mud during your adventures, you'll be confident that your plate and other components underneath won't rust easily.
The skid plate must provide your undercarriage with maximum protection without adding necessary weight so as not to affect the vehicle's mileage. You see, this add-on won't be able to pay for itself if it affects the vehicle's fuel economy. So before shelling out bucks for this add-on, find out first how much weight will it be able to add to your vehicle and go for a lightweight yet durable and rust-resistant plate.
Not all skid plates are the same. The materials from which they are made of, their size, shape, thickness, and finish usually vary. One plate may have some features others don't. But before you purchase a plate because of its features, find out first if these features are really beneficial for you. Among the additional features you may consider are plastic strips that offer protection against chain slaps and enduro style with side-wing engine guards.
This factor matters a lot especially to those who plan to install the skid plate without a professional's help. If you're one of them, go for a unit that ensures easy installation. A plate that's specifically designed for your make and model fits the vehicle's existing factory bolt holes, so you no longer need to do drilling or modification just to fit the unit in place. It's also a good idea to get one that already comes with mounting hardware.