One of the easiest things you can do to protect your vehicle is to get a skid plate. There are skid plates meant for off-road driving, safeguarding undercarriage from impacts and hazards, and bumper protection.
With all vehicles being different and needing its own specific care and maintenance, there are some things that you should know about skid plates for your Ford Focus. The following five list items are things that you should be aware of before going out and purchasing your Ford Focus’s skid plates.
1. Ford Focus Comes with a Factory “Skid Plate”
Your Ford Focus comes with an engine compartment splash shield from the factory. This piece of equipment is often called a skid plate and does provide your Ford Focus’s underbelly with some degree of protection.
This being said, the factory engine compartment splash shield is only meant for keeping debris, such as gravel and mud, away from your engine. It also helps your Ford Focus’s aerodynamics for better fuel efficiency. If you would like more protection than the factory engine compartment splash shield provides, you can replace this part (for 2012-2018 Ford Focus ST, this part’s number is #6P013) with custom skid plates.
For example, ADF Custom provides an aluminum skid plate that is compatible with 2012-2018 Ford Focus ST and SE vehicles and has more durability than the factory skid plate. The factory engine compartment splash shield only weighs 2.75 lbs. where this custom replacement weights just under 11lbs.
The weight to strength ratio is great with ADF Custom’s aluminum skid plate, not being too heavy and still providing extra protection. This skid plate is meant to protect from the environment, like the factory engine compartment splash shield, along with light to moderate impacts.
It also has compartments to allow oil changes without having to remove the skid plate. If more access is needed, it is light enough that taking it down and putting it back up is no big deal.
2. Read the Fine Print of Your Warranty
If you want to keep your Ford Focus’s warranty, you will want to read the fine print of your warranty guide. According to Ford’s 2018 Model Warranty Guide, “If you decide to use non-Ford parts, be sure they are equivalent to Ford parts in performance, quality, and durability”. If the replacement part you choose is not equivalent to its corresponding Ford part, you will risk losing parts of your warranty coverage.
Ford is not responsible for repairing or replacing non-approved modifications so you may have a difficult time getting them to install or replace some skid plates. This does not mean that your warranty is void. If you file a claim and Ford declines it, it is Ford’s responsibility to prove that your custom skid plate caused the failure that your claim is regarding. If it did not cause the failure your claim is regarding, they can not deny your claim because of your skid plate.
3. Aluminum or Steel Skid Plate?
Skid plates for your vehicle’s undercarriage are typically made out of either steel or aluminum. Steel skid plates are heavier, more expensive, and provide superior strength. Under extreme circumstances, aluminum skid plates can get pierced, or even shatter apart whereas a steel skid plate would likely only be dented.
Luckily, this is not common. Some of the strength of skid plates come from the material used to make them, the other part of its strength comes from its geometric design deflecting the energy from the impact. Both types of skid plates have this feature. For a Ford Focus, the lighter, cheaper, aluminum skid plates are likely the best option. They are more than enough to protect against standard road hazards, and they will not rust because of wet, salty roads like steel skid plates will. Steel is really only necessary if you plan on off-roading.
4. Corrosion and Rust Protection
You want to ensure that whatever type of skid plate you get is protected against rust and corrosion. Like any unprotected exposed steel, skid plates made of steel will rust.
This means that you will have to make repairs and paint touch-ups as it rusts, and eventually replace it, if there is no rust and corrosion protection. Although aluminum will not rust like steel will, it is still vulnerable to corrosion.
Luckily, the corrosion that happens on aluminum usually creates an oxide barrier, stopping the corrosion from continuing. Regardless, you should ensure that there is some protection against both. One option is powder coating. Even painting the skid plate will provide you protection from corrosion and rust to some degree.
5. Preventing Bumper and Paint Damage
The type of skid plates we have discussed so far would not protect your bumper nor its paint. Instead, they can protect things such as your gas tank, air dam, and oil pan. Say maybe there is a lip at the end of your driveway and you don’t want to ruin your bumper’s paint, or your neighborhood is full of potholes, a product like SLiPLO’s skid plate could be the answer.
This type of skid plate is made out of acrylic foam and polyurethane, in a similar formulation to what is used for snowplows, making it resistant to cold and water, as well as providing protection and flexibility. This skid plate adheres directly to your bumper, meaning no additional drilling is needed and no specialized hardware is required for installation.
This type of skid plate works by decreasing surface friction by over 50%. Some bumper protection comes with a warranty. SLiPLO’s Skid plate comes with a 10-year warranty, and can be installed on any vehicle because of its flexibility, including your Ford Focus. This then protects not only your undercarrage but also your paint and bumper.
Skid plates are a great way for Ford Focus owners to protect their vehicles. Moving on roads with all sorts of hazards at high speeds means that there is a good probability that your undercarriage is getting pummeled on a regular basis. Skid plates are the answer to preventing damage from road hazards underneath your vehicle. Be sure to analyze your warranty guide, ensure there is corrosion protection, and protect your bumper as well as your vehicle’s underside.
For more info on the features, benefits, and pricing of skid plates, click here, alternatively, use our interactive map to find an authorized installer near you. If you enjoyed this article, check out our blog.