Are Splash Guards Worth It?

Introduction

We often get asked “are splash guards worth it,” and especially, “are splash guards for CARS worth it?”  The answer is not surprisingly, “it depends.”


What Are Splash Guards?

First, lets’ get the lingo down.  Splash guards, mud guards, mud flaps and splash aprons are all basically the same thing.  The names vary depending on the region where you live.

Regardless of what you call them, these accessories are protective guards that can be attached behind tires to prevent rocks, water, snow and mud from being projected upward onto the car while driving.

Splash guards have four main purposes.  They:

  1. Protect paint from being chipped by flying debris.
  2. Prevent dirt and other grime from getting into vulnerable parts of vehicles.
  3. Protect pedestrians when driving on streets with road debris.
  4. Keep cars cleaner, requiring less frequent washing.

Vehicles with large tires and deep treads (e.g., knobby SUV tires) are more prone to spraying debris.  Trucks and SUVs are the biggest segments for guards, although they are becoming increasingly common on cars.


What are Common Types of Splash Guards?

There are many ways to categorize splash guards.  Below are the most helpful in our opinion when shopping for guards.

  • Fit (universal vs. custom)
  • Attachment (requires drilling vs. no drilling)
  • Material (rubber vs. plastic vs. carbon fiber vs. metal)
  • Shape (flat vs. molded).

Unlike say, car covers, there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in price between universal and custom fit models.


Are Splash Guards Worth It?

As far as auto accessories go, splash guards aren’t that expensive. Good quality guards are available in the $30-$70 range.  At that price, avoiding one trip to the paint repair shop or even 2-3 trips to the car wash, will more than pay for the initial cost.

When determining if splash guards are worth it for you and your situation, consider the following questions:

  • Do I live in a climate with a lot of rain and snow?
  • Do I frequently drive on roads with loose gravel and other debris?
  • Does my particular car model (and its fender wells) allow dirt into the engine and other interior parts?
  • Do guards look good on my particular car / truck / SUV?
  • What is the value of my car, and are the costs of paint repair expensive?
  • Is going to the car wash tedious and expensive for me?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, splash guards are probably a good investment given their affordable price point.


Are Splash Guards for CARS Worth It?

The biggest market segment for splash guards is unquestionably trucks and SUVs.  Why?  Off road use and larger tires that spray more debris make mud flaps practically a necessity for these vehicles.

That said, splash guards are becoming more common on cars.  We’re not talking about low hanging, rubber mud flaps here, but rather stylish, low profile, molded guards.  Notice in the photo below how unobtrusive the added splash guard is on a new model Corvette.

Splash guard on Corvette

In terms of value and ROI, we refer you back to the previous section.  If you answer ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you should consider splash guards even if you drive a car.


What Are the Leading Brands?

In addition to OEM models, aftermarket brands are very popular.  Husky and Weather Tech are the most well. Top brands include:

All of these are quality brands although some offer narrow product ranges, e.g., for trucks only.


How to Install Splash Guards

Installation varies somewhat depending on whether or not you purchase splash guards that require drilling.  However, virtually all models are easy to install these days.

Manufacturers know that easy to install products sell better, and they make the process as simple as possible. Usually a screwdriver, pliers and sometimes a drill are all that’s required.

The first step is removing the fender liner.  For most cars, this means taking out a handful of screws and push pins.  Washers are then placed over the push pin holes.

Next the splash guard is positioned over the holes and the push pins/screws are re-inserted.  Note: some screws require a drill.

That’s it for simpler models.  The process is much easier than most people expect.  The video below shows an OEM installation on a Dodge Challenger and is very typical of most installations.


Best Aftermarket Splash Guards (Trucks & SUVs)

As we noted earlier, some of the biggest aftermarket brands are Dee Zee, Husky, Weather Tech.  The table below outlines solid choices from these manufacturers for trucks and SUVs.  Note: these are custom fit models so be sure to match your model to the right part.

We did not rank these on price as all are available for less than $50.

Splash GuardBrand & ModelVehicle TypeFitAttachmentMaterialASA Rating
Weathertech
No Drill
Trucks and SUVsCustomNo DrillPlastic4.8
Husky Liners
Mud Guards
Trucks and SUVsCustomDrilling NeededRubber4.4
Dee Zee
Custom Splash Guards
Trucks and SUVsCustomDrilling NeededPlastic4.6

Best OEM Splash Guards

OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer.”  While this is a mouthful, it simply means that for an aftermarket OEM part, the company that makes your car (or its subsidiary) also makes the part.  So for example, a Honda OEM splash guard is made by Honda.

We generally prefer OEM parts.  They are guaranteed to fit and usually offer great quality with solid warranties.  For cars, the variety of OEM splash guards is much greater than from aftermarket providers.

The links below are to OEM splash guards for select major car brands.  Note: you need to select the guard that is made for your car’s make and model.


Conclusion

If you live in messy climates, drive on roads with debris, or just simply like the look, splash guards are an auto accessory that provides a great return on investment.  They protect your paint, keep your car cleaner, and save you money…all for around $50.

As far as value propositions go, those are good ones.  If you haven’t considered splash guards before, they’re worth checking out.

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