ATVs are a brilliant investment thanks to the endless hours of fun and exhilarating driving they provide. The ATV community is a great place to make friends so buying your own ATV is more than worthwhile if you are dedicated to this sport and hobby. However, due to the tentative terrain that you encounter during your off-road driving, ATVs are prone to damage.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to minimize the damage and protect your ATV or UTV. One of the best ways that you can protect the undercarriage of your vehicle is to use a skid plate. If you have never heard of skid plates before or need more information, keep reading this article to find out everything you need to know about ATV skid plates.
What are ATV skid plates?
ATV skid plates are a form of protection for your vehicle. You can get a front skid plate, a side skid plate, or an underbody skid plate. They can be made from various materials, but aluminum skid plates are the most robust.
They are made mainly for off-road vehicles, so if you are used to riding your ATV or UTV on off-road terrains, you will want to consider getting an ATV skid plate to safeguard your vehicle from debris and corrosion.
What do ATV skid plates do?
Skid plates protect your vehicle. The main areas they are designed to protect are your ATV’s fuel tank, radiators, or transfer box, amongst other things. They are built to provide an additional guard layer to the undercarriage and front bumper of your vehicle. They also avoid mud from fully coating your ATV.
Off-road driving poses a lot of additional threats to the safety and integrity of your vehicle that you do not necessarily have to worry about when driving a car on tarmacked roads. Driving at high speed on dirt tracks means rocks, dirt, and sand can hit and severely damage the underside of your car. Skid plates are installed to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable ride.
Is a skid plate necessary?
Installing a skid plate is necessary to drive safely and have peace of mind when going on off-road adventures. Many people think that because ATVs and UTVs do not come with skid plates already installed, it means that they are unimportant and optional. However, in reality, by installing skid plates you can extend your vehicle’s life.
If you can’t afford to buy new aluminum skid plates, you can purchase aftermarket skid plates since this add-on absorbs any hit your vehicle would otherwise directly receive. Getting a skid plate package is essential if you want to ensure that you are riding the safest possible vehicle. ATV driving is already dangerous as it is, so you do not want to put yourself in any additional danger by not installing a skid plate and having something break mid-ride.
Do I need to install skid plates on my ATV?
No one is going to force you to install skid plates on your ATV. However, we cannot stress enough how much we recommend getting one for your ATV. You do not want to be the person pushing their vehicle alongside a trail, or worse, getting injured.
Skid plates are installed for protection and safety reasons. We therefore suggest thinking about investing in skid plates before investing in other products that are used to personalize your ATV for aesthetic reasons. The safety benefits that a skid plate affords far outweigh the aesthetic advantage of other products.
You should see it as an investment. ATVs are already expensive so it’s normal for people to be hesitant to fork out the additional money needed to install an aluminum skid plate. However, it is a worthwhile investment that will save you a lot of money down the line. For example, if you damage your vehicle’s undercarriage, it might end up costing you more than the skid plate would have. Frame damage or damage to any integral operating part can be extremely costly.
Moreover, investing in an ATV skid plate will increase the value of your ATV if you ever want to put it up for sale. People will be willing to pay extra for it depending on its condition and material!
How much do skid plates cost?
The cost of skid plates varies from $ 100 to $ 600 depending on the type of skid plate package you want to buy. The type of ATV you own also plays a role in the price since certain brands cost more than others and are not compatible with “no-name” items.
If you want a full-body skid plate, you can expect to pay anywhere between $ 400 to $ 600. This is the most expensive package you can get as it virtually covers the entire undercarriage of your vehicle, offering you optimal protection. You will get 2 rear and 2 A-Arm protective guards, a 2-piece floorboard skid plate on each side of your ATV, as well as a skid plate for the frame.
Alternatively, you could get just the arm guards, which would set you back around $ 200. You could also just get a swing arm skid plate for around $ 120, which is for a specific type of ATV, so make sure your vehicle is compatible. Finally, certain skid plate packages offer a bumper, which affords additional protection. These packages cost around $ 200 to $ 300 and protect the front, middle and rear sections of your ATV.
Costs differ depending on what sections you want to protect. Some drivers prefer to save money and get smaller skid plate parts to protect what they consider the most important parts of their ATV. However, we suggest getting a full package that protects the entire undercarriage of your recreational vehicle.
What material are skid plates made of?
There are different types of materials that can be used for ATV skid plates, but the two most popular on the market are:
- Aluminum skid plates
- Plastic skid plates
Aluminum is the best material for ATVs on the market for a variety of reasons. Aluminum makes for a brilliant protective guard thanks to the durability of the material. Aluminum is highly resistant so aluminum skids are extremely good at absorbing impacts.
Aluminum skid plates are also beneficial when it comes to cost and pricing. Thanks to the fact that it can be repaired fairly easily, you do not have to worry about buying a whole new plate if something happens to it. The main con of using aluminum is its sheer weight. Nevertheless, the thickness of the plate means it is not prone to rust and erosion.
Plastic skid plates
Plastic skid plates have become a popular choice in the world of ATV driving for a few different reasons. Since plastic is not as stiff as aluminum, it is more flexible and therefore bends with the movement of the ATV which means it does not catch on things as often as aluminum might. However, plastic skid plates can also sometimes overheat your ATV because they trap in the heat, which is not ideal for those warm riding days where the sun is out.
Personalize your ATV
ATV skid plates are a must if you want to make sure you are driving the safest possible vehicle. They are the best investment when it comes to personalizing your ATV. Depending on the type of terrain you prefer, certain modifications can accentuate the feel of the ride.
ATV riding is not a cheap hobby, but the thrill that you get when you are on stunning trails across the world makes it more than worth it. You should not hold back when it comes to personalizing your vehicle as it will ensure you enjoy to the fullest, whether that is because you installed a suspension lift kit or wheel spacers.