Any automobile enthusiast worth their salt is well aware of the importance of skid plates.
Due to the protection they provide to a vehicle’s undercarriage, they have become synonymous with underbody safety to many car owners. That is why, when you speak of securing your vehicle’s undercarriage from obstructions such as potholes, stones, and speed bumps, installing skid plates often tops the list.
But even as skid plates provide the utmost protection to the most crucial components of your car, there are times when these plates can themselves become damaged. One of the most common of these problems shows up when your skid plates start to drag along your drive. The issue starts with a rattling sound, and shortly be felt via a small vibration through your drive. By the time you have identified the issue, your skid plate is sliding across the road as you drive. At these times, it is essential to know what to do if your skid plate is dragging along your drive.
Fortunately, the issue is not impossible to fix. By keeping a few choice points in mind, you can easily resolve the problem of a dragging skid plate. To help you get your skid plate back to optimal shape, here are some tried and tested suggestions that allow you to diagnose and fix the issue in a timely manner.
Determine If the Skid Plate is Loose
Due to repeated impact with the road or with particularly hard objects, skid plates can face a number of issues. Loosening up from their fixture often tops this list.
Since skid plates are an extension of the car’s typical auto body, they are fixed to the undercarriage to either completely cover the underside of the chassis or to protect specific parts within it. But seeing that skid plates need to be removed for undercarriage maintenance or repair from time to time, the way they are installed against the underbody is not permanent.
This approach to easy detachment allows easier accessibility to the parts that are covered by the skid plates. However, it can sometimes result in the skid plate loosening from one or all sides of its fixture. As explained above, this mostly happens due to sudden or consistent impacts to the skid plate itself. But in some cases, it can also happen due to a badly installed skid plate. When this issue does take place, it causes your skid plate to loosen up from its point of installation and skid along the road itself. This is especially true for lowered cars, which have a lesser distance between the ground and their undercarriage than typical vehicles.
So what to do if your skid plate is dragging along due to being loose? You simply examine the undercarriage. By taking a look at the vehicle’s underbody with the help of a flashlight and some targeted prodding, you can determine if your skid plate is loosening up.
From there, you can either tighten the skid plate yourself, or fix an appointment with your mechanic to resolve the issue. By telling your mechanic of the problem beforehand, you can steer clear of wasting time in getting it diagnosed. This leads you to a timely resolution and gets your car back on the road in no time.
Check If Your Skid Plate Has Partially Detached
While some skid plates can start dragging when they loosen up, it is not always the case for all of these protective coverings. Sometimes, you cannot identify that your skid plate has gone loose until it partially detaches and drags along the road. This can happen for all types of cars, but it is especially true for cars with a higher height.
The signs of a partially detached skid plate for all cars are quite the same as a loosened skid plate on a lowered car. You first start feeling faint vibrations during your drive as well as the sound of the skid plate dragging on the road. It points out that you shouldn’t wait before tackling the problem head on. When left untreated, a partially detached skid plate doesn’t take long before falling off of your car completely.
So what to do if your skid plate is dragging due to being partially detached? Fortunately for you, checking a partially detached skid plate is as easy as it can be. All you need to do is to take a look at the undercarriage. Since a detached skid plate is not hard to detect, you are almost instantly able to identify the problem. The tricky part is finding the reason why the skid plate disconnected from the undercarriage in the first place. A few common causes include a bad installation of the skid plate, a strong impact against an obstruction, or partial damage to its material.
Once you have put your finger on a reason, you can either fix smaller issues yourself or call for help to resolve bigger problems. Typically, a detached skid plate needs the help of a professional, who can examine the undercarriage properly and identify any underlying problems that aren’t otherwise visible. If the partial detachment is due to a broken skid plate, then you will also need to invest in a replacement.
By now, it is clear that whenever your skid plate starts dragging, it always has some underlying reason behind it. Whether it is one strong hit or repeated impact, poor installation or partial damage, there’s always something that caused your skid plate to get in that undesirable state. More often than not, the issue is a bit tricky to identify. But there’s one instance where you can tell exactly what caused your skid plate to start sliding on the road: It’s the case of excessive damage.
Excessive damage on a skid plate is quite easy to identify. Any cracks in the middle of a plastic skid plate may cause it to split and drag as you drive. Whereas, any corrosion or a hard hit to a metal skid plate may cause it to break and slide along the road. Rust is a common element in steel skid plates, which can cause them to break after a few years of usage. In either case, all of these issues can lead your skid plates to drag.
So what to do if your skid plate is dragging due to damage? The best approach is to consider your options about replacing it altogether.
Plastic Skid Plates
Typically, plastic skid plates cannot be restored after they are broken. Even when you put them together, they have already lost the sturdiness that they need to protect your car. This is why, it is advised that you replace any broken plastic skid plates in order to keep your car safe in the long run.
Aluminum Skid Plates
When it comes to aluminum skid plates, replacing them depends a lot on the reason for their breakage. If your aluminum plates broke due to a hard impact and had a clear split, then your mechanic may help salvage them together. But if your skid plates lost one or more of its broken pieces on the road, then it would be best to get a replacement right away.
Steel Skid Plates
Steel skid plates are hard to break apart, but when they break down, it is often due to rust or corrosion. In such a case, you can most definitely know that they have lost the strength you need out of them. With this in mind, it is better to get new steel skid plates. Your mechanic can examine your existing plates and tell you whether or not they need to be replaced.
What to Do If Your Skid Plate is Dragging Along? Find a Credible Repair Expert
The significance of skid plates is so profound that large scale car manufacturers are now making it a point to include them in new models as underbody shields. When it comes to older cars, owners can easily find customized skid plates that are a perfect fit to their vehicle. With the help of specialized auto body experts, you can also get custom-fitted skid plates for your whole undercarriage in no time.
This paints a beneficial picture for easy installation. But it also refers to finding accessible repair solutions that are just a call away. In most cases, your current mechanic can either help you with resolving these issues by themselves or refer you to a specialist who can fix them for you. In any case, you are able to find an expert who knows exactly what to do if your skid plate is dragging.
This also helps you in determining replacement options for skid plates that have fallen prey to breakage, rust or corrosion. By taking a look at the state of your current skid plates, these specialists can help you determine whether or not you need to replace them. As a result, you can steer clear from excessive spending while driving with a sturdy pair of skid plates at all times.
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.