Many people use low-profile mud flaps due to the risk associated with bigger flaps like rubbing on the ground while Overlanding.
How Do Low Profile Mud Flaps Work on Trucks? Low-profile mud flaps add a protective layer to the tires or the truck’s body, including the exterior surface and the doors. They give an appealing look to the vehicle and keep it clean. In addition, they help prevent scratches, dents, and undercarriage damage. Furthermore, these splash guards ensure road safety and reduce the projection of splashes.
You can install the low-profile mudguards to protect the vehicles as they are efficient in keeping the dirt off from the rotating wheels that throw the debris towards the lower side of the pickup.
Many drivers prefer to add these rubber flaps to avoid damage by the rocks and dirt on unpaved roads.
What are low-profile mud flaps?
Mud flaps are the flaps of rubber, metal, or plastic that are present close to the wheels to protect them from dirt and water.
It is a cost-effective method to protect the wheels and pedestrians from mud splashes and adds a visual appeal to an automobile.
Two types of these splash guards are common; customized and universal. You can get customized mudguards with rounded corners or standard sizes like 24×24 or 36×24 (HxW).
Many people prefer a universal size that can easily fit almost every vehicle, but some prefer a low profile or customized to have better coverage.
They are available in different designs for different types of SUVs, pickups, and Sports vehicles and have some printed pictures.
How does low-profile mud flap work on a truck?
The low-profile mud flaps are smaller than the universal ones and offer many benefits compared to the bigger ones.
They provide more protection and do not kick the water and rocks back to the tires when they touch their surface.
Moreover, there is no risk of hanging with these small-sized accessories as they cannot touch the ground.
Keep trucks clean
These are efficient in keeping your trucks clean by avoiding splashing water and mud on the road into the wheels.
The bigger structures can hit the debris back to the side of the wheel while the smaller ones move them on the sides.
Moreover, it acts as a barrier to the kicked-off mud when it tries to reach the vehicle’s surface.
The smaller splash guards protect the undercarriage accessories like its chassis or a frame and axle fittings present underside of the vehicle.
You can also use these structures to protect the doors and panels between the trunk and the rear doors when they are close to wheels.
Avoid scratches and corrosion
These metallic or rubber flaps keep the hard rocks and sharp objects on the road away from the tires and wheels.
Such objects can cause dings and scratches on the truck’s body when hitting them after being rolled off by the wheels.
In addition, the salt on the roads during a snowfall can cause the metallic parts of the automobiles to corrode.
Reduced projection of splashes
The rainwater accumulates within potholes, and the vehicle rolling through them gives off splashes.
These potholes have dirt and debris inside them that makes the car muddy and make them look dirty.
Therefore, these low-profile splash guards protect the pickup by reducing the projection of water present in the puddles.
Protect tires from debris
The dirt and debris accumulate within tires or on the surface of tires when the vehicle passes on a dirty or snowy road.
The salt or snow affects the tires’ quality and degrades them over time.
Therefore, it is an essential accessory that avoids the kicked-up gravel and rocks affecting the tires.
Reduce the frequency of cleaning the truck
It is frustrating to take your pickup for frequently servicing after tires get dirty when you move it on the road.
These low-profile protective mudguards help reduce the need to go to a mechanic for washing purposes.
You do not have to clean up the wheels regularly because they look unappealing.
Moreover, the long-term exposure of tires to dirt can cause their peeling as it affects the tire finishing.
The dirty tires need to be cleaned every 10 to 15 days at least if you do not want to compromise on their structure.
Similarly, the rims can become porous if you do not clean them regularly.
Make the truck look cool
Many truck drivers add mud flaps on their vehicles to give them a distinctive appearance, making them different from all the nearby moving vehicles on the road.
Their presence on the front side of the front wheels and the backside of the rear wheels look appealing.
These rubber guards can protect your vehicles from damage and ensure the safety of pedestrians walking close to the pickup.
The rotating tire can throw water splashes or kick rocks at the pedestrians walking on the road.
Moreover, the pickups with no splash guards throw dirty splashes of water on nearby vehicles and people when passing from the potholes.
So, these low-profile mud guards ensure road safety and are added to secure both the pickup and people.
Things to consider when adding low-profile mud flaps to your truck
A few things need to be considered when installing the low-profile mud flaps close to the wheels.
It has to be in the correct size, providing better coverage of the wheels. In addition, choose a suitable material that can protect tires and avoid hitting them.
Moreover, it can withstand the pressure of rocks and gravel and wear and tear. You have to install it properly to avoid falling and interference with tire movement.
You have to make more effort when there are no holes on the pickup as it becomes challenging to hang them.
What should be the ideal height of mud flaps on trucks?
Every state has different regulations about the ideal height of truck mud flaps. However, the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) states that these mudguards have to be equal to the tire width.
You can increase the width by half or 1 inch to provide better coverage and protect tires in a better manner.
Moreover, many automotive manufacturers recommend that it is better to keep the height of these splash guards equal to the distance between a flap and the center of the rear wheel.
There is no need to install bigger mudguards as they can touch the ground, and you have to keep them at a distance to avoid rubbing.
You can install the ones that are at least 4 to 5 inches off the road surface. However, it is better to keep them at 7 to 10 inches away from the ground.
According to the regulations, you have to cover almost 2/3 to 2/5 of the vertical tires to stop the small stones and dirt.
Do low-profile mud flaps improve gas mileage?
It is better to get low-profile or customized mud flaps that can quickly fit its tires. Unmatched splash guards can increase the drag force and affect fuel efficiency.
The low-profile mud guards improve the fuel economy and the gas mileage to a minor extent that is not even noticeable.
The bigger structures provide resistance as they get hit with gravel and dirt, which puts stress on the engine.
It has to work harder to manage the stress when the small rocks and debris continuously hit the tires and body framework.
In contrast, they provide lesser dragging force, but it has no such prominent effect on the mileage.
Moreover, they can reduce the resistance level through wind, and the vehicles require less fuel to move. This way, it improves the fuel economy and reduces gas mileage somehow.
What do reviews say?
I surveyed 839 truck drivers with experience in using low-profile mud flaps in their vehicles.
Out of 839 people, 564 (67%) said that these offer more benefits than the bigger ones as they help prevent the rocks and debris from hitting the tires.
However, 177 people (21%) said they are not satisfied with low-profile splash guards as they do not improve gas mileage and only cut off the air resistance to some extent.
While 98 people (12%) said there is no need to add them to the trucks when moving on the paved roads.
It is better to add splash guards close to wheels as they act as a protective layer to avoid damage to the undercarriage and prevent water splashes from damaging the lower body.
“I have added mudguards to my pickup wheels because I have to drive through unpaved roads that make my vehicle dirty, particularly after rain.”
Low-profile mud flaps cannot cover the vertical surface of tires due to lesser length, and you have to take the pickup for cleaning frequently.
“I have found these splash guards useless as the dirt can easily reach the wheels, and I have to wash the wheels every week.”
Adding the mudguards when you move through unpaved and snowy roads is essential, but you can skip adding this accessory when you have to drive through dirty and uneven roads with puddles and potholes.
“I do not think my truck needs mud flaps because I usually drive on the paved highways, which are even and clean.”