Van Protect the Vital Organs on Your Adventure Van with Skid Plates
You’ve invested in the performance upgrades to make your van an off-road machine but what about protecting that investment? Exploring the open road and pushing hard means your van is often in contact with hard surfaces and elements that can damage critical components. Skid plates are designed to close the vulnerable gaps while protecting the most important mechanical parts of your rig.
What happens with hard contact?
Driving in the city, country and off-road all have risks for hard contact. Potholes, exposed rebar, sudden curbs, speed bumps and rocks or other hard objects can all do damage. The shock of sudden impacts can punch holes through metal, rattle mounts loose, break bolts and do all kinds of damage.
It’s easy to overlook or disregard skid plates as a necessity. Human nature tends to deal with problems after the fact. Think of skid plates as preventative maintenance and drive knowing they can save you the costs of ruining vital components in the van.
Unintended Shock Absorption
One thing rarely associated with skid plates is shock absorption. You really shouldn’t have regular contact with the plates but when it does happen, they actually absorb shock and assist your suspension.
When you bottom out, it also means your suspension has likely traveled to its maximum. The plates take a brunt of force, helping to stop the blow and return to normal ride conditions.
Again, you shouldn’t have regular har impacts on the plates but they can help with shock in addition to preventing punctures and fending off debris and rocks.
Understanding Your Exposed Organs
The undercarriage on most stock vans does not have skid plate protection. This means a few major components are constantly exposed and while they won’t receive much contact with regular city driving, going off-road and exploring increases the risk.
Looking beneath a van might show what appears as a skid plate but they are typically thin pans used for aerodynamics. Skid plates are thicker, using aluminum or steel for rigid protection. Steel is stronger but also a bit heavier while aluminum is lighter but still great for protecting the van.
Skid plates are designed to take the blows that would otherwise hit your:
- Oil Pan
- Fuel Tank
Punching a hole in any of these could cause sudden or gradual fluid loss that leads to mechanical failure. If you’ve ever lost a transmission or anything else major, you know the repair costs are very high. Beyond the repair costs, you will first be faced with the breakdown that may or may not happen in a remote area.
Add skid plates and the headaches and costs can be avoided. It’s one of the best unseen investments you can make in a van or any other off-road vehicle.
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