Question: I'm thinking about getting a vehicle with skidplates, but I've heard they can trap mud, dirt, salt, water, etc., which can lead to damage to important components. Is this true? I hear they can also make servicing a vehicle harder, thus more expensive, especially if they happen to be bent or rusted. Is it hard to keep them clean?
Answer: There are pros and cons to almost everything, and all the skidplate downfalls you're pointing out are true, to a point--the severity of each depends on location, driving conditions, climate, maintenance, and more. Skidplates do add a few more bolts and a little extra work to a repair job that requires their removal. But I don't see additional labor time, if any, to be significant. Corrosion can be a factor over the long run, especially in a damaging road-salt environment. And cleaning can be a project involving a power washer applied from uncomfortable positions--followed by compressed air to get water out of the nooks and crannies. The additional risk of corrosion is there, but if you're not in a road salt area and not digging through a mud bog on a regular basis, it's probably a moot point. The general purpose of skidplates is to protect the drivetrain and undercarriage from impact by objects during off-road use. So if that's not in your driving plans, in my opinion, you don't need them. Don't let the skidplates affect your decision on buying a truck. If you're not a four-wheeler and the potential adverse effects are a worry, simply remove the plates.
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