Do I Need Mud Flaps on my Truck?


Mud flaps are common on trucks, trailers, and other large vehicles. These flaps offer several benefits to the owners of these vehicles and are more than a piece of decoration. For most motorists, custom mud flaps fit on the trucks better than store-bought options, but they are all beneficial to the truck. 

Do I Need Mud Flaps on my Truck?

Yes, mud flaps, also known as mud guards, have several benefits to you, your truck, and other motorists on the road. In some states, you need to have mud flaps installed on your truck as a regulatory requirement. These flaps deflect dirt, sand, and other smaller particles that might cause harm to your truck or people nearby. 

Below, I have outlined some of the reasons your truck need mud flaps. 

Why Are Mud Flaps Important?

Mud flaps are easy to install. Some flaps require drilling while others install without the need to drill. Whichever option you choose, you will have a host of benefits, which include:

Protection

Mud guards are engineered to protect your vehicle. The rocks, water, mud, and sand on the surface of roads can fly off the wheel and cause damage to your vehicle or to other vehicles on the road. The guard deflects these particles so that they do not fly off to other cars on the road and cause accidents. 

The flaps also ensure that the particles do not get to the undercarriage of the truck and cause further damage. If there are chemicals on the road such as salt and other ice melting chemicals, the flaps ensure that they do not get to the undercarriage and cause corrosion.

When you protect the mechanical parts of your truck from chemical and mud damage, you enhance their longevity. These guards hang from the trucks using special hangers that will ensure they stay on even under rugged conditions. Most of the brackets feature spring steel that allow you to adjust them to different applications. 

Advertise on the Space

If you have a company truck, you can personalize the mud flaps so that they sell your brand. You can add a logo or the name of the business to the flaps. These guards stand out and can help sell your products to people. 

Company trucks are always on the move and the simple ad on the flap can reach several people. You only need to make it colorful enough to grab the attention of people on the road.

These mud guards feature sheet metal or rubber materials, which makes them easy to add an ad on. If you need to decorate your truck using the mud guards, you can use shiny stainless steel or aluminum. If you need a durable mud flap, you can go for heavy duty rubber composite. 

Rubber is durable, weather resistant, and offers great flexibility. Whichever material you choose, you are able to protect, decorate, and advertise as you need. 

Meet Legal Requirements

Although there are no federal regulations on the use of mud guards, some states require that large vehicles install mud guards. Your truck might fall in the large vehicles category, especially if you drive a HD truck. These large vehicles take up significant road space and might be a danger to smaller vehicles. 

Many states have set out laws that govern the way you operate your large truck. Most of the requirements fall on the use of mud flaps. One of these states is Arizona, which requires all large vehicles to have mud flaps. 

In most states, the mud guard is supposed to protect other motorists from water, debris, gravel, and a combination of other smaller particles. Even if there are no state requirements, it is a good idea to install mud flaps to keep other drivers safe on the road. 

Mud flaps come in handy for lifted trucks. When you raise the body or suspension of the truck, you leave the wheels more exposed, and they will throw dirt and other particles far into other drivers’ cars. This is where the mud flap comes in handy. 

Does Your Mud Flap Meet the Legal Requirements?

Mud flaps are easy to make. You can create your own mud flap with the design, shape, colors, and material you want. However, some states have requirements that your mud flap must meet. 

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) does not regulate the use of mud flaps, but some states have very strict rules. Before you design your mud flap, you need to be aware of the rules that govern mud flaps in your state

Some of the states that have strict mud flap regulations include Texas, Arizona, Missouri, and Delaware. In these states, you can only install mud flaps that are at most eight inches from the ground. Other states, such as Alaska, require that a mud flap should hang not more than 14 inches from the ground. 

In Maryland, the distance from the mud flap to the ground should be equal to the width of the tire. For instance, if you have a 14-inch wide tire, your mud flap should hang 14 inches from the ground. In New York, your mud flap should not be more than a third of the distance from the ground to where the flap connects to the back wheel. 

There are states where mud flaps regulations are even stricter such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma. Here, your mud flap needs to be installed at 22.5 degrees tangent angle as this prevents debris from flying off the tire. 

What Does FMCSA Require of Mud Flaps?

It is challenging to keep up with the varied requirements from several states if you do interstate travel. FMCSA says nothing about mud flaps, and if you travel interstate, you need to find the best balance for mud flap installation. You will meet the requirements of most states if you install the mud flaps between not more than eight inches above the ground. 

You also need to observe the angle of installation so that you do not install the mud flap at an angle more than 22 degrees. There are also states that require you install mud flaps on the rear part of your truck so that you can keep off debris from hitting small vehicles. If you have to remove your mud flaps temporarily for any reason, always ensure you meet all the state requirements. 

Which Vehicles Need Mud Flaps in Different States?

Your truck is a workhorse, and it only makes sense if you install mud flaps to protect other drivers on the road. In Louisiana, trucks that carry agricultural or forest products need to have mud flaps. In other states, only commercial vehicles need to install mud flaps, and even then, they have to be of a certain size to need mud flaps. 

In Utah, Alaska, Connecticut, Washington, and Montana, all truck drivers need to have mud flaps installed on their vehicles. In Utah, however, you only need mud flaps on your truck if you alter your fender. Other states such as Louisiana and Montana require both a fender and a mud flap installed on your truck. 

Washington is lenient on their requirements for mud flaps for trucks older than 40 years and those viewed as collectors’ items. If you have such a truck, you do not need to install mud flaps. Before you design a mud flap, ensure you check the state laws. 

Can You Customize Your Mud Flap?

Yes. It is easy to customize your mud flap with metal sheets or rubber materials. Almost all states will need you to have mud flaps, and even if your state doesn’t, you may want to drive to another state soon. 

If you do not have the materials to make DIY mud flaps, you can customize that from the manufacturers online. Some mud flap manufacturers allow you to choose the size, colors, writings, and material of the mud flap you need to create. 

You can also buy a plain mud flap and then add the content you need on your flaps. 

How To Install Mud Flaps on a Truck

Mud guards keep off the water and debris from vehicle tires. You can screw these guards into the vehicle, or you can drill them onto the vehicle, depending on the option you choose.

When installed right, these guards minimize the amount of water and debris that a vehicle sprays out. 

Installing No-Drill Mud Flaps

It is easy to install a no-drill mud flap as all you need is to screw it into the vehicle. As you follow the method I outline below, you also need to consider the instructions offered by the manufacturer. 

The first thing you need to do is clean the area where you will install the mud flaps. Ensure the area is free from debris, mud, and any other dirt to make it easy for you to install the flap. 

Check the placement of the flaps by holding them against the available space to ensure that they fit perfectly. The flaps will have the letters RH and LH to indicate which side each flap goes. If you buy flaps designed for your model, it should be easy to fit them on your truck. 

Your truck should have holes already drilled in the wheel well when you should install the flaps. Once you locate these holes, remove the screws that are already in the space. Place your flaps in place and screw it in to the pre-drilled holes. 

Do not fully tighten the screws until you adjust the flaps and ensure they fit perfectly. If the flaps fit, and you are good with how they look, tighten the screws. If you have any extra screws, nuts, or bolts, you can now install them and your flaps will be good to go. 

If the flap comes with a hex nut, you need to install it between your wheel well and the mud flap. 

Installing Mud Flaps That Require Drilling

Mud flaps that require drilling add an extra step in the flap installation process. However, every other step remains the same as above. Start with cleaning the wheel well so that you can see where to drill and test the placement of the flaps. 

After cleaning, ensure you turn your wheels such that there is sufficient space between the wheel well and the tire. This space comes in handy when you start drilling. Check the flaps for placement by holding them up and checking them against the space available. Place the left flaps to the left and the right ones to the right. 

As you check for placement, mark where you need to drill the holes. The mud flaps will guide you on where to mark. After marking, drill holes large enough to fit the screws and nuts provided. Place the flaps so that the holes on them match the drilled holes and screw them in position. 

Adjust the flaps’ positions until you are sure of their fit and then tighten them. Ensure you place the hex nut appropriately if the manufacturer provided one. 

Even as you follow the instructions above, still consider the instructions that come with the mud flap. Some special mud flap designs come with special instructions that you must follow. If instructions are not available, the above steps should help. 

Closing Thoughts

The bottomline is; you need mud flaps for your truck. There are several factors to consider when shopping for mud flaps, including the size, material, and fit. 

The best way to shop for mud flaps is to go for the exact flap designed for your truck. This way, you will have no problem fitting it. However, you have to consider what your state requires of mud flaps on the length and width. 

If your truck already have drilled holes with nuts in them, it is easy to install mud flaps. If there are no holes, you can drill them at home or take your truck to a professional. Installing the flaps will not cost you anything more than $10, and you are sure the work is done perfectly. 

I recommend that you get mud flaps even if your state doesn’t have these requirements. It is your duty to protect other motorists on the road and protect your truck’s undercarriage from damages.

Kern Campbell

I've had a passion for four-wheel-drive vehicles since I was a kid riding in the back seat of my Grandfather's Jeep Grand Wagoneer. I have owned a lot of vehicles over the years. They each have their pros and cons and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you so you can find the vehicle that's just right for your needs.

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