Mudflaps, also known as mud guards or splash guards, provide important protection for large vehicles such as trucks. Installed on both personal and commercial vehicles, mudflaps come in a variety of designs, styles, and types. Understanding the range of options available as well as a mudflap's general function and construction, as well as the installation process for different types of mudflaps helps buyers to find the right set for their needs.
What mudflaps do
Generally attached to underside or rear fender, mudflaps play an important role in protecting other people and vehicles on the road. They dangle down behind the rear wheels of larger vehicles and act as a shield for debris, mud, and other projectiles kicked up by the tyres during normal driving.
Mudflaps are usually made of a flexible material, such as rubber, which absorbs the impact of the flying material without sustaining much damage itself. Their shape varies according to the vehicle and owner's preference, but most mudflaps are rectangular sheets or moulded lips.
Custom mudflaps made in more aerodynamic shapes are available for some vehicles. These pieces improve the vehicle's drag and thus its fuel economy whilst maintaining the protective purpose of mudflaps.
Types of mudflaps
In addition to their basic design and different patterns and personal aesthetic touches, the way in which a mudflap attaches to a vehicle varies. There are three main types of mudflaps, each of which fits onto a vehicle in a slightly different manner.
Universal fit mudflaps
As the name implies, a universal fit mudflap attaches to most vehicles of a certain class or size. Generally, this applies to smaller passenger vehicles such as pickup trucks or SUVs. However, their "universal" fit does not mean that all of these types of mudflaps look the same. Buyers can choose between different designs and styles as well as lengths for a more personalised aesthetic.
Custom moulded mudflaps
The opposite of the universal mudflap, custom moulded mudflaps are designed to fit a vehicle's make, model, and even year. Custom mudflaps are those installed by dealers upon purchase and other OEM options as well as specialised aftermarket selections made to exact specifications. Getting this perfect fit often comes at a price. Not only to custom mudflaps cost more money, there are usually fewer aesthetic choices outside of custom-made items.
Because many buyers install mudflaps as an aftermarket addition, they are wary of the damage they might do with traditional installation, which involves drilling into their vehicle's wheel well. Instead, no-drill mudflaps have custom-positioned pre-drilled holes that are designed to line up with holes that already exist inside the wheel well. As such, they are a type of custom mudflap.
How to install mudflaps
Before deciding on the type of mudflaps that are best for a particular vehicle and owner, understanding the steps it takes to install the traditional and no-drill versions is important. Whilst neither process is particularly difficult, there are some clear differences between each method.
Installing traditional mudflaps
Begin by double-checking fit and clearance. Not only should the mount fit snugly beneath the wheel well, the flap itself should not touch or brush the surface below. Next, clean the wheel well surface to remove any dirt or grime using traditional soap and a degreaser.
Once the surface is clean, use the pre-drilled holes in the mudflap as a template to determine where to drill into the vehicle's wheel well. Insert the included screws and bolts into each hole, but do not tighten them completely before checking to make sure that the fit and look of the installed mudflap is correct.
Installing no-drill mudflaps
As with traditional mudflaps, check for fit, and clean the surface of each wheel well. Then, locate the pre-drilled holes on the underside of each well. There should be screws in each of these holes. Remove them and set them aside in a safe place.
Once all the screws are out, move the mudflap into place, carefully lining its pre-drilled holes with the wheel well's holes. Use the screws just removed to attach the mudflap, but only tighten them part way. Check the positioning before tightening all the screws.
How to buy mudflaps on eBay
Shopping on eBay is a great way to locate the right mudflaps for your vehicle, your needs, and your budget. Simply use the main search bar, which is located on every page and type in a general search term, such as "rubber mudflaps" or something more specific to your wants, such as "Nissan Navara mudflaps". From there, use the filters provided to narrow the options according to important factors, such as brand, price, condition, and more. Before purchasing, peruse the seller's feedback and ratings from past customers.