Getting Skid Plates for your Jeep Wrangler
Off-roading is always an exciting and adrenaline-inducing affair; however, there is a downside. Navigating through rocks, mud and downed trees is prone to cause damage to your precious Wrangler, dampening your spirits once it occurs. This fear prevents many Wrangler owners from taking their vehicles off-road. Nonetheless, there is a solution, in the name of skid plates.
Skid plates are made from steel and are fastened directly to the vehicle to safeguard essential components from damage. It acts as an armor around parts like the oil pan, steering box, gas tank, transmission and T-case. There is a wide variety of skid plates to choose from allowing you to enjoy your off-road adventure knowing that everything is well protected.
Choosing Skid Plates for Your Wrangler
Before replacing factory skid plates, you should consider the purpose of your Wrangler and amount you are willing to spend on the new skid plates. Factory (stock) skid plates are generally designed for a quite friendly terrain. If you love off-off-roading escapades then, you have no option but replace or install new skid plates. You should consider the addition of a transfer case, oil pan, and transmission skid plate. The rocky and muddy terrains have multiple unavoidable obstacles that may cause severe harm to your Wrangler’s underside.
A full replacement skid plate system is not advisable because it’s quite expensive and very heavy. Increase in weight will result in a sagging effect on a vehicle’s suspension lift and height. The weight also interferes with the vehicle’s handling characteristics. It is advisable to buy the skid plates independently and when additional protection is a necessity.
Types of Skid Plates
Some skid plates come already installed on the Wrangler by the manufacturer. However, they can be replaced by many aftermarket ones when opting for more protection to your Wrangler.
- Front Air Dam
The Front Air Dam is a plastic shield that is installed on the bottom of the front bumper. The Front Air Dam is the first deflection point of sand, snow, and ice and it also helps your your Wrangler run over obstacles. This skid plate also protects the electronic sway bay assembly in the Rubicon models.
- Transfer case and Transmission Skid Plate
The Wrangler’s transmission and transfer case consists of many moving parts, which makes them very fragile. These vital parts require a protective cover since any damage to these parts will definitely paralyze the movement of the vehicle. The transmission and transfer-case skid assist in protecting these delicate parts. These plates are tied into the cross member along with the oil pan forming a solid armor that can deflect and withstand direct impact from trees and rocks.
- Differential Covers
In Jeep Wranglers, the front and rear differential are among the lowermost contact points. The rounded steel-cast cover protects the differential gears from damage, by deflecting and sliding off obstacles on the road. The covers installed by the manufacturer can be replaced by heavy iron covers that add more protection to sustain direct rock impact.
- Gas Tank Skid Plate
Fuel plays an integral role in your vehicle, and fuel leakages from a damaged tank can lead to catastrophic consequences such as fires. The function of the gas tank skid plate is to enclose the gas tank preventing any possibility of a fuel leak. It is designed to deflect away any foreign object that could puncture or dent the fuel tank.
- Oil Pan skid plates.
This skid plate holds up to snow, sand, and some ice impacts protecting your oil pan from road damage. They are however vulnerable to hit by a rock or tree stumps. For an incredible amount of structural support, these plates are to be attached to the Jeep’s frame and cross member.
- Steering Box Skid Plates
This skid plate protects and ensures the steering box of your Wrangler stays alive for a longer time. The steering box is highly exposed to the hazards of the trail being due to its location on the Wrangler. These skid plates help you tackle all obstacles on the terrain.
- EVAP Canister Skid Plate
The EVAP canister is enclosed in a thin aluminum cage. The EVAP is, however, exposed with little additional structural support meaning that a substantial impact from a rock can cause harm.
- Control Arms
Lower control arms and the differential are the lowest contact point for a Wrangler. Protecting them from the rugged path is mandatory. Simple angled skid plates can be welded over the bracket to protect the arms from damage from rocks and tree stumps.