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Today, most vehicles come out of the factory with some form or skid plate or undertray. But if your vehicle doesn’t have any, it may be worthwhile to add some underbody protection for several reasons. Not only does it maintain the health of your car, but underbody protection can also improve your driving and ownership experiences over the long term as well.

Keep that driveway (or garage) clean!

Add underbody protection on a new car
New VW getting underbody protection at the factory | Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

Keeping your garage or driveway clean is hard enough. Road grime, rain, and fluids can all make your floors look awful, even if you’re meticulous and keeping them tidy. Adding underbody protection to your vehicle can help rein in oil and fluid leaks to keep your driveway and garage floor looking their best.

And if you’re as fastidious with vehicle maintenance as you are with your floors, catching any fluid leaks likely won’t be a problem.

Underbody protection can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy

Drag is the enemy of efficiency, and the underbody of your vehicle is essentially a big parachute. The myriad air channels between the engine, transmission, exhaust, and bumpers create a lot of turbulent air that slows your car down.

In a racecar, that means a lower top speed and slower acceleration. But in a road car, that drag means less fuel efficiency. Adding underbody protection can smooth out this airflow and help you get a few extra mpg out of your car, so you can save at the pump.

American roads are getting worse – underbody protection can prevent significant damage

The reasons are different everywhere, but there is no denying that American roads are worse than ever. Those rough bumps, ruts, and transitions coupled with lower-riding modern sedans means that it is easy to bottom out your vehicle and cause damage. Even worse, more and more modern cars have plastic oil pans that are easy to break with even just a minor bump.

Adding the right underbody protection puts a layer between the ground and sensitive components beneath your vehicle. It may not protect from big hits, but it will add an extra layer of defense against major repairs.

Ward off rust and keep your car healthy

Of course, underbody protection is also good for keeping rust at bay. By reducing how much water can splash up onto the floor, frame, and even suspension components of your vehicle, you’ll enjoy greater longevity and fewer worries about potential rust in the future.

It can also knock debris away from important components, once again providing an extra layer of armor between your car and the hazards of the road.

Enjoy a quieter cabin

Finally, adding underbody protection to your vehicle can enhance your daily driving experience. By smoothing out airflow and keeping debris from hitting the floor and frame, you’ll enjoy a quieter, more comfortable drive. It’s a small change, but one that can add a sense of luxury to your drives.

Finding aftermarket underbody panels for your car

Not every new vehicle has built-in underbody protection, and most older vehicles aren’t going to have any either. Fortunately, there are plenty of aftermarket solutions to help bridge the gap. These typically run between $200 and $500 depending on the vehicle and material. However, it’s well worth the money when compared to dealing with rust, poor efficiency, or just a noisy ride.