Learning All About Automotive Paint

Need To Protect Your Truck's Fenders From Chips And Dings? Install Mud Flaps Yourself!

If you drive a truck or SUV, you probably have noticed how easily your wheels can kick-up rocks, road tar and other debris that can damage your rear fenders or side panels. A good way to prevent this type of harm to your vehicle as well as prevent visits to a site like http://autobodyomaha.com and add a little flair is by installing mud flaps. They are easier to install than it may seem at first glance, so don't be afraid to try it. Below is how you can install mud flaps to protect your vehicle:

Tools and materials you need

  • Mud flaps

  • Mounting template (if included)

  • Electric drill with appropriately-sized bit

  • Grease-cutting dish detergent

  • Bucket

  • Sponge

  • Garden hose

  • Small can of metal primer

  • Cotton swab

  • Screwdriver

  • Utility knife

  • Masking tape

  • Fine-tip black marker

Buying your mud flaps – a couple of considerations to keep in mind

You probably won't have much trouble locating mud flaps designed for your truck or SUV. In fact, you are likely to find several designs including factory parts as well as a variety of aftermarket mud flaps. However, whichever you purchase, be sure to take note of a couple of things:

  • Mounting method – mud flaps typically mount by being screwed to the back of the wheel wells. Some vehicles come with holes pre-drilled, but many other trucks and SUVs will require you to drill your own holes. There are a few "no-drill" mud flaps available for those who are reluctant to drill into their vehicle's body, but bear in mind their attachment points may not be as durable.

  • Material – mud flaps are made from a variety of materials including rubber, hard plastics and metal. Choose whichever you wish, but evaluate the toughness of the material if you are planning to do a lot of off-road travel. Some mud flaps are better at handling ordinary road debris than some of the really tough off-road stuff that will damage your paint and body.

Mounting your mud flaps

1. Clean the mounting surfaces on the wheel wells – the areas where your mud flaps will be attached should be thoroughly cleaned. Any remaining bits of grit or grime trapped underneath the flaps could cause abrasion and rusting.

To clean them, add a tablespoon of ordinary grease-cutting liquid dish detergent into a gallon of hot water, and thoroughly scrub the area with a soaked sponge until it is clean. Rinse away the soapy residue with a garden hose and allow the wheel wells to dry completely before moving to the next step.

2. Test fit your mud flaps – place the mud flaps up to the wheel wells to be sure they will fit properly. If you aren't able to get them to match, then verify that you purchased the appropriate parts for your vehicle. If there is a minor discrepancy, you may be able to use a utility knife to shave off a tiny bit of material on the mud flap to make for a snugger fit. Just be careful not to cut too much material or you might ruin the aesthetic or practical value of the mud flap.

3. Mark and drill the mounting holes – if your vehicle doesn't have pre-drilled holes for mud flaps, locate where they need drilled. Your mud flaps may come with a paper template that shows where they are to be drilled; if so, align and tape the template in place using masking tape.

If you don't have a template, then position the mud flaps and insert a fine-tip marker through the openings where the screws are mounted; make a small dot on the wheel wheels so that you know where to drill. Carefully drill the holes using your electric drill and appropriately-sized bit.

4. Rust-proof the mounting holes – if you drilled mounting holes, then you will need to seal the exposed metal to protect it from corrosion. With a cotton swab, dab a small amount of metal primer around and inside the holes. Allow the primer to dry completely before moving to the next step.

5. Attach the mud flaps – install the mud flaps with the screws included with your set. Be sure the screws are tight and the mud flaps are mounted level to the ground.