Mud flaps were a common part of a vehicle, and they were beneficial for a vehicle in plenty of ways. Then why does it leave? Why don’t cars have flaps anymore?
Mud flaps are still an essential part of adventure-type vehicles, while city vehicles don’t have them anymore. The reason is that city vehicles don’t need much protection against mud, and rocks, while flaps create drag and negatively affect the performance of the car. It is also useless for lower bodies.
Read on to know details about not installing mud flaps on a modern vehicle and decide whether you should use them or not.
Why Don’t Cars Have Mud Flaps Anymore?
Mud flaps are commonly used on classic vehicles to protect them from dirt, mud, and debris spread by the tires. It also protected the paint of the vehicle from being scratched or chipped by debris.
But, now a day’s, consumers and carmakers no longer find it essential for their trucks and cars. Even if they find the mud flaps have some negative impact on the car and its performance, they don’t install this accessory on their vehicle anymore.
The reasons for not using mud flaps on the vehicle anymore:
- Negative impact on fuel economy
- Create drag
- Create more damage than prevent
- Need regular maintenance
- Can’t protect from flying rocks
Let’s discuss this briefly!
Negative Impact on Fuel Economy
The extra weight of mud flaps reduces fuel economy. The mud flaps also obstruct airflow to the car’s engine, which decreases the car’s performance as well as fuel economy. If you are concerned about the amount, the mud flap gives a fairly small hit on fuel mileage, which is hardly noticeable unless you drive at triple-digit speed.
Drag is a concerning issue in the automobile industry. It’s a force that is applied in the reverse direction of the vehicle’s motion direction and slows down the vehicle by causing air resistance.
Hence, the vehicle requires more power to overcome this, which isn’t desirable. Installing mud flaps in the vehicle reduces the airflow around the wheels and creates an eddy current.
It increases the power consumption of the vehicle to ensure efficient airflow. Using more power means increased fuel consumption, which directly affects average miles per gallon readings.
Apart from that, drag also increases exponentially by increasing the speed proportionally.
Create More Damage Than Prevent
If you don’t install mud flaps properly, they will wipe against the wheel continuously and create debris. The debris can eventually damage the wheels and end up causing a blowout. Compared to the protection it gives against dust and debris, the damage the mud flap makes will cost you much more.
Likewise, if you place the mud flap properly, it’ll keep the vehicle’s metal parts and undercarriage rust-free. Otherwise, the mud flap itself will cause rust in the same area if it is installed in the wrong size or incorrectly.
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Need Regular Maintenance
Installing mud flaps means adding an extra part to the vehicle that will have to be cleaned regularly. In addition, mud flaps can also become filthy on the vehicle, which may need to be hosed down to avoid making mud cakes. So it’ll cost extra effort for maintenance.
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Can’t Protect From Flying Rocks
Though the main intention of attaching a mud flap to the vehicle is to protect it from rocks, mud, and debris, it only shields against the particles that come from the kick of the tires. Otherwise, mud flaps can’t protect the car from flying mud and rocks. In this case, you can replace your mud flap with customized mud flaps for complete protection.
Hence mud flap is no longer a standard feature on trucks and cars. If you still want to protect the paint of the vehicle, you can use mudguards.
Can You Drive Without a Mud Flap?
Apart from the drawback, you can ignore the benefits of installing a mud flap on a vehicle. Though the mud flap is considerably expensive, its impressive design still makes the accessories so much more popular.
When it comes to the use of mud flaps, you can’t decide based on your preferences or compare the pros and cons of mud flaps in certain states. The reason is that you can get charged with several offenses if you drive a vehicle without mud flaps, particularly in the rain.
According to Section 66.3 of the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario, every trailer and vehicle must have mudguards, or fenders to effectively repel water or wheel spray from the roadways. Otherwise, the driver can charge $85.
It means the vehicle must have mud flaps or a tire well that extends over the tires. to avoid the danger of debris and rocks hitting other vehicles.
Should You Install Mud Flaps On Your Truck?
When it comes to state law, federal regulations don’t make it mandatory to install mud flaps on the vehicle. Though every state has its own regulations, many states don’t have such rules. However, state rules change frequently. Hence, it’s better to talk to the Department of Transportation of the individual state periodically to avoid fines.
Apart from that, attaching mud flaps brings lots of benefits to the vehicle, including protecting the car’s paint, preventing rust, and ensuring safe driving in snowy, rainy, and sandy environments, as well as on gravel roads. Let’s dig into detail:
The key benefit of installing mud flaps is that they ensure the protection of the undercarriage of the vehicle from rocks, pebbles, and dirt. This way, the cable or tube of the vehicle remains dent or leak-free.
The stones and grime can also damage the paint underneath the vehicle and expose the bare metal to water and oxygen. It can damage the metal and cost expensive repairs.
Also Read: Know About Auto Repairs
Mud flaps also prevent the undercarriage from coming into contact with rain and water. Though water splash isn’t a big issue for the metal part, continuous splashing can cause corrosion and damage the part. Hence, if you often need to drive the vehicle in rainy or humid weather, you should install mud flaps on your vehicle.
Driving Rough Terrain
Though modern vehicle owners stop using mud flaps, off-road vehicle owners don’t. Since these vehicles mostly travel in uneven terrain, they always need protection from twigs, sand, gravel, and rocks. In addition, mud flaps reduce the cleaning and maintenance effort of these off-road vehicles.
Helpful for Towing
Apart from protecting the undercarriage, mud flaps also protect towing property like trailers and boats from getting damaged by getting pelted with rubble.
1. Do mud flaps affect insurance?
A mud flap is a car accessory, and it’s not just needed by law. Despite this, it needs to be installed if it didn’t come with the vehicle from the factory. Hence, this accessory isn’t covered under insurance, even though it may cost thousands of dollars to replace.
2. Why do German cars don’t have mud flaps?
German or luxury cars are entry-level sports cars that are mostly used in summer. Hence they don’t come with mud flaps. And for the same reason, these aren’t suitable for driving under heavy rains or on flooded roads.
3. Are mud flaps and a splash guard different?
Though mud flaps and splash guards mean the same thing, their names vary depending on the region. In the west, this car accessory is known as mud flaps, while it is called mud guards or splashes in the east and Midwest.
Hope you understand why don’t cars have flaps anymore. Though the mud flaps are intended to keep their benefits in mind, vehicle owners discover some drawbacks along with their usage. But it’s illegal to install mud flaps on the vehicle. So don’t follow the trend. If you find the flaps more beneficial than its error side, go for it, particularly for driving on rainy days or rough terrain.
Originally from England, I’ve been repairing cars for over 16 years and am an automotive journalist. I’ve been working on cars for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.
It is my intention to be your mechanic friend, that person who will assist you with any problem you may have with your vehicle and explain in detail how the problem can be fixed to you as soon as possible.
I produce and anchor a weekly auto news program. As well as providing insights into all things automotive, including expert analysis of the latest trends in the automotive industry, and ensuring you always know where to go for the latest automotive news, I also provide insight into all things automotive before the news breaks.
If I am not working, I am a riding motorcyclist and I do volunteer work with local charities whenever I have time. When I’m not riding my motorcycles or volunteering at local charities, you will find me at home in Portland, Oregon.