Your Toyota Tacoma may be built for off-road mudding. Even so, you may want to keep it as neat and clean as possible when you are driving on city roads or the highway.
The mud flaps behind your back tires help you achieve this goal. Learn why mud flaps are an important part of the Tacoma's outer body and what you can do to make them last longer on your own truck.
What are Mud Flaps?
Mud flaps are simply rectangular sheets of rubber that are placed behind your truck's back tires or wheel wells. They work in conjunction with your back fender to protect you, your passengers, other cars on the road, and pedestrians from mud and debris that come into contact with your rotating tires.
Most mud flaps are inexpensive and available for less than $50 apiece. It is not uncommon to find trucks with mud flaps that are decorated with logos, advertisements, or the silhouette of a person or animal.
They are flexible by design and aerodynamically shaped. They also have louvers or vents to enhance the flow of air and resist drag.
Most states do not require that you have mud flaps on your Tacoma. However, a few states do have mud flap laws on the books. States that mandate the use of mud flaps are:
You can find mud flaps for your Tacoma at any licensed Toyota parts store. You can also find them for sale online.
How Do Mud Flaps Wear Out?
For all of their flexible and aerodynamic design, mud flaps can wear out just like any other car part. You can protect yours by knowing what causes them to become damaged.
Some of the more common risks to mud flaps include:
-rough road conditions
-car accidents especially rollovers and fender benders
-debris like large rocks, traffic cones, or branches in the road
-normal wear and tear
Any of these factors can cause significant damage to one or both of your mud flaps. Because you cannot control the conditions of the roadways or avoid debris that might be lying directly in your path, you should inspect your flaps often for signs of damage.
Signs of Mud Flap Damage
How can you know for sure that your mud flaps are damaged and need replacing or repairs? You should look for tell-tale signs like:
-cracks or splits
warping or bending
Of course, if you see that the mud flap is hanging loose on one side behind the tire or wheel well, you can also know that it is damaged and either needs to be fixed or replaced.
As noted, you can buy new mud flaps for a relatively low price. Many new Tacoma parts stores have them in stock for less than $50 apiece. You should buy yours from a licensed Toyota parts dealer rather than a big box store or a discount parts retailer to ensure you get the best quality mud flaps for your truck.
How Can You Protect Your Tacoma's Mud Flaps?
Protecting your mud flaps from damages is relatively simple if you take a common sense approach to your truck's cleanliness and maintenance. This careful attention can help these parts last longer and look their best regardless of how often you drive your Tacoma.
First, you should keep the mud flaps clean. Despite their name, they should not be caked with mud and muck. This debris can take its toll on even the most durable of rubber flaps and cause them to warp, bend, crack, and split.
Use a garden hose to wash away the mud or go through a drive-thru car wash that offers undercarriage cleaning. By washing your mud flaps at least once a week, you help them last longer and look better.
While you are washing them, you should look them over for signs of damage. If you see any cracks, splits, discoloration, warping, or bending, you should consider buying new mud flaps.
If they are loose, you should try to tighten or adjust them if you can. If you do not know how, you should take your truck to a licensed Toyota mechanic who can take care of this task for you.
Given their design, the material from which they are made, and their price, it would not be wise to try to repair them. In fact, it would be cheaper and easier to buy new ones.
If you can, you should take care with what route you drive each day. Your Tacoma is built for rough driving.
However, after so many times of plunking through potholes or driving over unpaved roads, your mud flaps may finally wear out and need to be replaced. Driving over smooth roads can ensure their long life.
Finally, you should park your truck in a covered car port or a garage if you want to protect the mud flaps from vandalism. Vandals may try to steal the flaps or cut them up with a knife if you leave your truck parked on the street or in your driveway.
If you do not have a covered port or garage, you might consider installing an alarm system in your Tacoma. The alarm will sound if someone touches your truck or attempts to vandalize it.
Mud flaps are designed to protect your truck, the people who ride in it, other cars on the roads, and pedestrians on the street from mud and muck. These durable rubber rectangles can last for years with proper care.
However, at some point they may have to be replaced because of damages or wear and tear. Use these facts to know when to invest in new mud flaps.