All About Skid Plates

skid plates

  • Understanding Plates
  • Types
  • Who Needs It
  • How to Choose
  • FAQs

Off-roading vehicles are built tougher than conventional vehicles as they require additional strength to manoeuvre around tough terrains. Amidst a number of additional driving and safety features, skid plates hold a significant position. Skid plates are positioned underneath the engine bay to protect major car components. 

Let’s take a closer look at the skid plates, their uses and what they bring to the table for the off-roaders. 

Understanding Skid Plates

An off-road vehicle can cross rough terrain, which includes sharp rocks, tree branches and ditches. That said, an additional protective layer is required to safeguard the engine, transfer case and other components present beneath the car. This is when a skid plate becomes an essential off-road modification.  

The skid plate is made from a tough metal, generally from aluminium or steel, that works as a shield. Following are some common types of metal compositions used in skid plates. 

  • 1/8th Steel: The 1/8th steel configuration provides enough strength to skid plates and is also cost-effective. 
  • 3/16th Steel: The 3/16th is thicker, making it more durable. These skid plates are capable of bearing the hardest hits.     
  • Aluminium: The aluminium grade skid plates are often proffered for their strength and lightweight. However, the material is more expensive than steel. 
A vehicle off-roading on a rocky terrain
Skid plates work as a shield and protect cars from damage while off-roading on rough terrain

Types of Skid Plates

Now that you are aware of how skid plates work, let’s move towards different types of skid plates used in vehicles designed for off-roading adventures. 

Front Centre Skid Plates

The front centre skid plate is positioned at the front of the vehicle from the front of the bumper. It protects the car’s radiator, main frame, hoses and the engine. The front centre plates are generally made from 1/8th steel and weigh around 16 kg, contributing less to the overall weight of the car. Moreover, the front centre skid plates use a bolt system which makes it easy to install and uninstall. 

Full Belly Skid Plates

As evident from the name, the full belly skid plates cover the whole body, providing additional protection. It covers from bumper to bumper, protecting all the components, including the engine bay and axles. Since vehicles come in different shapes and sizes, full belly skid plates need to be customised for each vehicle. Furthermore, it is more difficult to install and uninstall full belly plates. 

Front Suspension Skid Plates

The front suspension skid plates are specifically designed to protect the car’s suspension system. The protective layer works as a barrier against debris, rock and other materials that can damage the suspension while off-roading. 

Who Needs Skid Plates

Skid plates are a must-have for all off-roaders; besides, skid plates can also be used in other vehicles. 

  • Lower Height Cars: Vehicles with lower height are close to the road and are more prone to damage in case of an accident. That said, a skid plate is necessary to protect the car from unnecessary damage. 
  • Sports Car: Sports cars are lower in height and have higher agility, exposing them to pebbles, dust and road debris. All of these components can cause significant damage to car components. 
  • SUVs: SUVs that are frequently used for mild off-roading also need an additional protective layer. 

How to Choose Skid Plates

Choosing an appropriate skid plate according to the terrain is necessary to avoid causing additional strain on the vehicle. Here is how to choose a skid plate according to the type of terrain. 

  • Rocky, Gravel and Dirt Terrain: These types of terrain are rough and have rocks and other types of debris, making vehicles prone to damage. Therefore, while off-roading or overlanding on these terrains, durable skid plates are required regardless of their weight. 
  • Sandy, Muddy, Clay Terrain: In such terrain, cars need more throttle power and therefore, overall vehicle weight should be less. That said, in these terrains, lighter skid plates are preferred. 
A mechanic checking the car for skid plate installation
It is necessary to take the proper measurement of the car and customise the skid plate for a proper fit


What is the use of a skid plate?

Skid plates are used to protect the car components present underneath the engine bay, which includes the transmission, axle, oil pan, radiator and others. 

Are skid plates worth it?

Yes, skid plates are worth it if you are a regular off-roader. Off-roading without a skid plate can cause serious damage to the vehicle that will cost you a fortune to repair. 

Can skid plates cause overheating?

Skid plates are not directly related to overheating, but they can be a reason for overheating. The plates will cause overheating when it is not installed properly; dirt and debris accumulate in them or are not of the proper size. 

Can skid plates damage my car?

Skid plates accumulate dust and debris while off-roading, and if not cleaned on time, they can cause wear and tear to the vehicle. 

This was all about skid plates and their significance in off-roading vehicles. For off-roading, a different set of vehicles are required that have stronger engines, rugged exteriors, durable transmissions and many other features. If you are planning an off-roading trip, you can also learn about auto lift kits that help increase the vehicle profile. Browse through these used cars for sale in the UAE and choose an off-roader from an array of options. 

Besides, here are some off-roading trails near Dubai that you can visit for a thrilling experience. 

Stay tuned to dubizzle’s auto blog for more information on off-roading car essentials.