Have you ever wondered what keeps your engine safe from debris and other damaging external elements? If yes, the engine splash shield is what does. Also known as the engine splash guard, lower engine cover, or skid plate, the panel is located underneath the engine.
Is your engine splash shield hanging? If yes, why is the splash shield hanging? If you don’t know: the answer is that; it could be that some of the bolts, screws, and washers that keep it in place have fallen off. Apart from that, the panel could have torn itself apart, causing the affected area to hang from the rest of the panel.
Causes of a Hanging Splash Shield and Solutions
1. Fallen or Loose Fastenings
The engine splash guard is often fastened securely by a set of fastenings including bolts, screws, and even washers in some cars. Over time, some of these items may fall off or become loose due to potholes that cause the vehicle to shake.
The affected areas of the panel will then detach from the engine, causing the splash guard to hang. If that’s what’s causing yours to hang, replacing those fasteners will solve the problem.
But how do you know the right fastenings for your splash guard? It’s very simple, just use the existing fasteners.
2. Torn Splash Guard
Splash guards are often made of different kinds of materials including plastic and metals such as composite aluminum. Most plastic guards and aluminum guards aren’t sturdy enough to resist tear when the car hits the panel on a hard object like a rock or a highly raised bump.
Consequently, the torn area will hang from the rest of the panel, causing the entire panel to require immediate attention. The best way to fix a torn skid plate panel is to replace the entire panel.
Can I Drive With My Splash Shield Hanging?
Of course, you can as the guard only serves to prevent debris and water from getting into the delicate areas of your engine.
Since a hanging shield doesn’t mean a faulty engine, the vehicle will still move even though you’ll be exposing your engine to serious damage. That’s why it’s not recommended to drive with your engine splash shield hanging.
Something else is that your car’s drag coefficient will be affected negatively if you are driving with a hanging skid plate. The problem will affect the car’s aerodynamic efficiency, slowing down the car to some extent.
That may mean using more fuel as you step harder on the gas pedal to overcome the slight wind resistance that slows down the car.
Also, putting your engine through harder work due to reduced aerodynamic efficiency being caused by the hanging lower engine cover can affect the lifespan of your engine.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace the Splash Shield?
For the part alone, the cost can vary between $20 to $200, depending on various factors including the material used in the shield and where you buy the product.
Labor will cost between $35 to $160, contingent upon where you take the car for the replacement. In general, you can expect to pay between $55 and $360, depending on the factors mentioned above. That’s at least according to carparts.com.
Is It Hard To Replace the Splash Shield?
The short answer is no. Replacing the lower engine cover is one of the easiest car maintenance tasks you can ever undertake.
All you need is a set of wrenches to fasten the new splash shield securely into the engine with the appropriate fasteners. You’ll also need a hydraulic jack to lift the car a little bit so that you can work beneath it.
What Type of Splash Shield Is Better to Use?
Different types of splash shields are available, depending on the materials used to make them. For example, we have shields made from rubber, rubber composite, polymer plastic, stainless steel, or diamond plate/tread plate/checker plate.
Of all these splash shields, rubber is the best as it offers more advantages and fewer disadvantages. For example, rubber is lightweight and hence it won’t slow down the car.
What’s more, the material will not rust and tear due to long-term exposure to water and debris, unlike some other materials. Also, rubber is cheaper compared to some of the other materials. The only slight drawback to it is that it will wear out over time.
The skid plate is an accessory that plays a very important role in the engine. This panel blocks debris, water, and other damaging elements from reaching the delicate parts of the engine that can easily get destroyed by those elements.
Now, a splash shield may sometimes hang from the engine due to one problem or another, leading to several issues such as exposing the engine to harmful risks and affecting the vehicle’s aerodynamics.
The good news is that a hanging shield is very easy to fix. All you need to do is refasten the panel securely to the engine or replace it altogether.
The best shield is one that’s made of rubber as the material is lightweight, rust-free, and cheaper compared to other materials.