Wednesday, January 8, 2020

DIY Body Colored Splash Guards Mud Flaps

For wet weather and snow driving, I think it is an absolute must to have some decent mud guards on the car. Just on the drive from the Tesla delivery center to back home, it was apparent that the lower part of the front doors and the rear quarter panel took a beating from road dirt, grime, road construction and other road gunk. I could only imagine at that time, what impending rain, snow and slush would do and not to mention chips occurring over time.

Luckily, I found these body color matched mudflaps listed on amazon for $35:
Body color matched low-profile mus flaps with har
Not sure why this is not a factory option offered by Tesla, but then I guess most people in warmer states like CA would never need these. I have always but OEM ones on all cars. Installation was a breeze. Overall the color is almost the same, but hard to tell the difference, at least on blue, and it does require 1 hole to be made in the plastic under-body which was not a big deal. The profile was low enough to not increase drag. The instillation was done as follows:

I used remaining 3M double sided tape in addition to the hardware provided for with the mud flaps. This would also ensure that no rubbing occurs and body paint does not get affected over time.
Additional 3M tape used for better adhesion and paint protection
I started with the rear, cleaning all surfaces with rubbing alcohol first. removed 1x 10mm bolt from behind each of the rear wheels.
Only 1 bolt required to be removed and reinstalled to attach rear flaps.
I dry fitted the mud flaps and made note of where they made contact with the body prepared the rear mud flaps with 3M tape along the edges and used a hair drier to warm everything up nicely so it was tacky.

Rear flaps prepared with 3M tape 
Once the 3M tape was warmed up, placed snapped the mudflap in place at the top and replaced the bolt at the bottom.
Great fit against the rear panels and good color match
Taking a picture from the front of the vehicle and lining the camera up even beyond a straight line shows that with the rear flaps in place they do not cause the body line to be extended out thus not increasing drag.

Rear flaps in place, cause no additional drag
Next up were the front flaps. Again, I dry-fitted them first and used the existing hole as a guide to drill a hole into the fender plastic. It is much easier to do by first turning the front wheels in the direction of the side being installed  and then using a 3/16" drill at a low speed and not going too deep to avoid hitting the body behind the wheel well liner.
Turn wheels in the direction of side being installed and make small hole in plastic.
Again used 3M tape in the mud flap and then installed them after cleaning all surfaces with rubbing alcohol and a hair drier to warm up the 3M tape and surfaces. Repeated on the passenger side front wheel.
Drivers side front flap installed.
Overall the car does not look noticeably different with the flaps installed. Again, I wonder why Tesla did not make this a standard OEM accessory. I am also glad I went with the color matched ones rather than plain black. The fit and finish was exception, specially for the price.
Looks good with mud flaps installed.
So how do they function?
Well it did not take much time after that when the snowy weather hit and the rear did a great job of protecting the rear quarter panel from tons slush, snow, ice and mud.
Rear mud flaps doing a good job
 But what was more impressive was that the front flaps do a better job of protecting the door from a giant streak of stuck on mud and slush as I see on so many other Model 3's driving around.
Front flaps doing their job  
 No mud, snow, ice, etc. on front door and even in the warnmer months, I am thinking aboiut how much road gunk and grime will be prevented from hitting the door and saving the paint.
Mission accomplished: Front doors protected.
Gotta love practical DIY projects that have positive result which can be measured!