When Built-In Mud Flaps Become A Drag: Reducing Rust And The After Effects Of Weather

Driving your old pickup truck around is a thing of pride, until your mud flaps start to fall off and are caught under the wheels. All of a sudden, you are spinning your tires, looking for traction and not getting anywhere because the mud flaps are stuck underneath your tires. If you had been more aware of what was going on underneath your truck, you could have prevented this scenario. If you have not landed in this sticky situation yet, here is what to look for and how to fix it.

Where Rust Attacks First

The rust starts when your truck meets rough weather conditions and salt or sand in winter. The areas where rust will act quickest and destroy the most are where the connections of parts are thinnest or smallest. In the case of your mud flaps, these are the areas where the bolts and nuts secure the flaps to your truck. The flaps were attached using a high-powered drill with screw bit and intense driving force, leaving jagged bits of sheared and unprotected metal open to the elements. 

Borrowing a Repair Shop's Hydraulic Lift

To see better, you can ask a car repair shop to put your truck on the lift and into the air. With the mechanic and a flashlight or two, you both can pinpoint where the rust is starting. A thorough inspection by a qualified mechanic allows you to know if your exhaust system, your axles, your mud flap hardware and gas tank or gas line are in danger of rusting out. Although you may only want to know about one particular section of the underbelly of your truck, putting it in the air like this and examining it thoroughly forewarns you of other upcoming problems.

Preventing Rust on the Underside of Your Truck

The underside of your truck is the part of your truck that is closest to the road after the tires. Anti-rust spray can protect it for up to one year. You should coat the car just before winter such that the protection such sprays provide is at its strongest when winter roads are at their worst. Whenever something starts to show signs of rust, regardless of the number of annual/seasonal coats of anti-rust spray, you should have a car repair expert remove it, sand the rust off and re-coat it with anti-rust spray, or replace the part entirely. This includes the nuts and screws that keep your mud flaps in place. Talk to your local mechanic, such as Dean's Automotive Service Center, for more information.