Australia is renowned for its harsh climate and extreme weather conditions, from the coast through the hinterlands and into the desert. As you can imagine, nobody wants to get stranded in the bush so a lot of preparation and planning is needed whenever we drive off-road. Whether you’re traveling to a remote holiday destination or tackling some 4WD tracks, it’s vital that you protect the most important components of your 4WD which are located in the driveline components.
Most factory 4WDs have basic underbody protection but if you’re planning on doing any serious off-roading, then it’s strongly advised that you upgrade your underbody guards to something more substantial. Simply driving over a rock or a stump has the potential to puncture your fuel tank or gearbox, so instead of being stranded for hours along with facing expensive repairs, the practical option is to invest in adequate underbody protection for your 4WD.
To give you some insight into underbody protection, today’s article will provide you with a detailed overview of the different types of underbody guards available so you can make an informed decision.
Sump guards are very popular considering they offer protection to the most crucial area of a 4WDs engine. Sump guards reduce sump damage and oil loss and can prevent very expensive repairs.
Transfer Case & Gearbox Skid Plates
Given that the transfer case is generally positioned in the lowest area of the driveline, it’s very susceptible to damage. It’s recommended that any off-road 4WD has some sort of transfer case protection.
Another vital area in the driveline is the gearbox which can easily be damaged by rocks, stumps, or other obstacles. Installed below the transmission, gearbox skid plates are strongly recommended for automatic 4WDs that have oil pans and hydraulic lines that must be protected given their size and location.
Front Skid Plates
Front skid plates essentially protect the steering and suspension components (drag link, panhards, tie rod) which are positioned between the bumper and differential. This allows 4WD vehicles to climb or slide an obstacle without damaging the suspension or steering.
Radiator Guards, as the name suggests, offers protection to both your 4WD’s radiator and intercooler.
Where 4WDs have the steering rack and tie rods in a susceptible area, vehicle specific steering guards can offer protection from frontal impacts. Often, steering guards are incorporated into radiator guards.
Fuel Tank Guards
While most factory 4WDs contain basic fuel tank skins, it’s advised to either add fuel tank guards or invest in a high-quality, long range fuel tank at a minimum.
What factors should I consider when purchasing underbody protection?
Most underbody guards are vehicle specific so you’ll need to find protection that fits your vehicle’s design and driveline components. The reason for this is that each protection plate has carefully positioned holes which allows mud and dirt to easily be removed, enables access for servicing and changing fluids, and allows adequate air flow. Furthermore, the bolts that are used to install underbody protection should have protection rings or be recessed to make sure they can be readily removed when required.
There is a range of underbody protection available and the best combination of protection plates for your vehicle really depends on your vehicle type and driving style. Some vehicle’s driveline components are more vulnerable than other vehicles so it’s best to do some research online and speak with professionals about what underbody protection is best suited to your vehicle.
TJM Underbody Guards
TJM Australia have been designing and manufacturing the highest quality underbody guards for over 15 years. All our underbody guards are manufactured from 3mm thick steel and finished with superior electro coating for ultimate durability and performance. With each underbody guard strategically pressed and folded to offer optimal strength, you can be rest assured that our range of underbody protection will withstand the impact of any hazard and ensure your vital underbody components are completely protected.
If you have any further questions about underbody protection or you just need some friendly advice, get in contact with the team at TJM Dandenong by phoning 03 9792 1116.