Hooniverse Asks- Do Mud Flaps Need to Make a Comeback?

As cars have become more wind-cheating and fuel efficient, marching ever closer to their inevitable ultimate bar of soap or cat turd shapes, vestigial appendages like rain gutters, door handles, and the subject of today’s attention – mud flaps – have fallen by the wayside.
The mud flap has a long and illustrious career keeping rockers and rear bumpers from of the detritus of driving. They have also over the years, offered an opportunity for personal expression, often featuring a threatening Yosemite Sam advising followers to “back off!” So multifaceted an automotive value were they that it’s a wonder that they seem to have fallen out of favor.
Here’s the thing though, there’s still plenty of opportunity to fit your car with aftermarket flaps, and today we want to know if you think that we all should do just that. Do you think that mud flaps are a feature that needs to make a resurgence? Would you go so far as to even fit the little mid-car flaps that Saab used to think were the bee’s knees? What do you think, should mud flaps make a come back?
Hat tip to Sjalabais for today’s topic suggestion.
Image: Rally Armor

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  1. LEROOOY Avatar

    Yes, were everything not so jellybean-shaped. This may be the third time I've posted this car to Hooniverse; and no, I will never stop.
    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/7lYKnJC.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker


      1. LEROOOY Avatar

        I agree. Instead of looking at the new Honda Pilot and getting sad, I'm going to stay on this page.
        <img src="http://i.imgur.com/516r5Ot.jpg&quot; width="500">

        1. HTWHLS Avatar

          Damn! IMSA meets Darth Vader!!

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Perfect installation to cover your tracks in light snow. You never know who might be following.

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        <img src="http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100605135058/headhuntersholosuite/images/7/7d/Obi-Wan_Kenobi_002.jpg"&gt;
        sand people always ride double flap, to hide their dually tracks

  2. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    Did they go away?
    I was thinking about flaps for the wombat actually…

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      It struck me like lightning when I went to the city the other day. Driving behind the third i3 on an errand run, I noticed the massive spray of salt-polluted water on my windshield. Here's why:
      <img src="http://s9.postimg.org/3kn5tmzf3/image.jpg&quot; width="600">
      Then I noticed it's the same with almost all post-2000 cars. All these SUVs that have the same ride height as 1990s vehicles, just that they lack mud flaps. My consumption of windshield fluid is exhorbitant.

      1. Rover_1 Avatar

        You want them to have mudflaps as well as a spare Porsche 911 996 tucked away?
        Just like big brother BMW I8. A Porsche for the rear foglamps
        Is there room?
        <img src="http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–Y8tsFO6X–/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/lzgk8qxinshct1jnjrrs.jpg&quot; width="400">

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Haha, I could live with that.
          Saw the image on Jalopnik the other day. Oh, the symbolism!

  3. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    No. Not that I mind them, but there isn't anything for them to protect. The bumper cover extends forward to complete the wheel arch, and is, in effect, its own mudflap. The area of bodywork that mudflaps are there to protect doesn't exist anymore.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      If not to protect ones own car, I see good reason to protect other people's cars from road spray, small, windshield-chipping stones etc.

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        I saw your reply to Jeff, and will concede the point. Although you are putting an awful lot of faith in the general public caring about the rest of the general public.
        "I don't care if no other car has mudflaps, but the car in front of me at this moment certainly should."

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Haha, excellent point. Actually, I just assume that this issue is becoming worse and worse the more individualized our societies become.

  4. windbüchse Avatar

    I prefer the molded rock/mud guards over the flaps:
    <img src="http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii311/morrodds/Rx924_zps6e8f969f.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://i267.photobucket.com/albums/ii311/morrodds/BRZside_zps18ed4b9a.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. Kiefmo Avatar

      Yes! These make a car look ready for action, but look better integrated into the bodywork, especially when they are painted body color.

      1. datsunofmine Avatar

        I dunno, i kinda like em black even on my white car. Would look weird white i think…
        <img src="http://i.imgur.com/PFFtzGqh.jpg"&gt;

        1. Kiefmo Avatar

          Eh, we'll say it's a matter of personal style, then. And probably on a car-by-car basis. What works for one won't necessarily work for another.

  5. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
    PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

    I've always liked them, especially on smaller hatchbacks. I think because I equate road driving closer to rally racing than any other form of car racing. How else can you explain the potholes, varying conditions and people driving around with their brights on despite oncoming traffic?

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      Some people think that their morning commute is closer to a rally race than others. Your analogy just reminded me of a jackass in an older Impreza wagon that I see heading the other way a couple of times a week. It's not that he's driving like he's racing, but he always has that infernal LED light bar on his hood illuminated. (maybe he doesn't have it on all the time, and we actually cross paths every day, but I only notice the few times a week when he's got it turned on)
      It doesn't even affect me. It's a divided highway at dawn, so it's not like it's blinding me, but it fills me with a disproportionate rage that makes me want to turn around and follow him to his destination just to rip that fucking light bar off of his car as a "service" to everyone he's ever been behind.

      1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

        Driving at night a while back, I flashed my brights at this bastard coming at me in a jacked-up truck with his brights and his fog lights on.
        He responded by turning on his light bar.
        Had I not been so blinded (and also not had my kids in the car), I'd've chased the f***er down and beat him to death. As it was, the kids got a lesson in how to out-cuss sailors. Lesson ended when my daughter very sweetly started singing "Let It Go."

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Fantastic! Kids sometimes are pure gold.
          I blink at every fog light imbecile on my way to and from work. Unfortunately, that means I flash lights up to 30 times for 22km…

          1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

            A former roommate of mine was convinced that his Colorado was just designed with poorly aimed headlights from the factory. He’d say that he could always tell another Colorado from a distance because the headlights always look brighter than any other car on the road, and that several times a day if driving at night, someone would flash their lights at him.
            Then, one day, I was out in the driveway when he came home at night and noticed that he had his fog lights on.
            I told him that that was a likely reason that people were flashing their lights at him all the time. His response? “Everyone drives with their fog lights on.” “Anyway, it helps me see better at night.”
            “Think about that that last statement for more than a second, and then ask yourself why oncoming cars might be bothered by it.”
            "Everyone drives with their fog lights on."

          2. PotbellyJoe ★★★★★ Avatar
            PotbellyJoe ★★★★★

            Strangely, in my Ford Lightning, I got flashed more when the fogs were off than on. I think people assumed that my pretty decent headlights were the brights when the fogs were off. I think it's an issue for trucks in general, just being higher off the road your lights are at eye-level for many drivers.

  6. buzzboy7 Avatar

    I'm conflicted. I like what they do as I've got plenty of rock chips in my front end and windshield.
    However I love the aggressive look of showing the rear tire. The mean look from the rear is one of my favorite things about how my BMW looks.

  7. muthalovin Avatar

    I was thinking that mud flaps would look pretty cool on the Fiesta.
    <img src="http://blog.modbargains.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/fiesta-st-cobb-fmic-turboback-st-coilovers-024.jpg&quot; width=550>

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      Cool. I was thinking about a set for the Focus.

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        In the dark recesses of my mind, I want red ones (on Green Envy, mind you) and would paint the calipers painted red as well. A whole Christmas theme going on.

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          Wasn't that an option on the Fiesta ST? It was on the Focus- Rado Grey wheels and painted calipers.

    2. Lokki Avatar

      Am I the only one who sees Darth Vader in that pic? I guess I need to talk to my Shrink again.

  8. Feds_II Avatar

    Yes. Bigger the better. Limiting straps too:
    <img src="http://jaos.co.jp/upload/image/products_master/1344226099_1.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      Wow, I've never seen limiting straps before.

      1. karonetwentyc Avatar

        Over the years, I have found probably a couple dozen torn-off JAOS mudflaps out in the desert. One came off in such a way that not only was the limiting strap still attached to it, but a chunk of bumper plastic was also attached to the limiting strap at the end where it had been screwed into the bumper.
        They're one of the aftermarket manufacturers who definitely appeal to a form-ahead-of-function crowd.

  9. karonetwentyc Avatar

    Realistically, if mudflaps enjoy a resurgence in popularity, it could mean a return to the automotive landscape of this iconic design:
    <img src="https://i.imgur.com/qmD10TI.jpg"&gt;
    I can see the bolt-on rally-look WRX crowd going insane for these once one person does it.

    1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

      I have long found it funny that the constellation Cassiopeia is in the same pose as Mudflap Girl.
      <img src="http://i.imgur.com/aNTmblM.jpg&quot; width=450>

      1. JayP2112 Avatar

        Jonny Lieberman?
        Edit- I'd be derelict if one of these thumbups isn't Jonny.

    2. HTWHLS Avatar

      Hells Yeah!!

  10. Vavon Avatar

    No. They might be useful, but I think they look horrible. I don't like them at all… No, not even on this!
    <img src="http://blogs.hommell.com/classic/files/2014/04/peugeot-205-turbo-16.jpg"&gt;

  11. frankthecat Avatar

    SAAB loved mudflaps so much, they put three sets on my car.
    I'm not even joking, look up "SAAB 900 snow flaps."

    1. karonetwentyc Avatar

      Oh, are these the ones that are set under the body to the rear of the front wheels?
      If so, great idea – but they can make overtaking in the rain difficult for other traffic. There's something about the combination of aerodynamics and the way that they can direct spray at certain speeds that necessitates putting the wipers on full blast midway through the overtaking manoeuvre, then dropping them back down to whatever speed was initially appropriate for the conditions once past. Not a huge deal, but I still reflexively get my hand ready to crank up the wiper speed if passing a Saab in the rain.

      1. frankthecat Avatar

        Yeah, those ones. I've had a couple people at the gas station ask wtf is hanging from underneath my car.
        They do work really nice as a way to let me know I'm about to scrape really expensive stuff on the ground if I'm not careful. I've probably ground an inch off of them by driving over tall speed bumps. I really wonder what they're actually for.

    2. david42 Avatar

      I just checked a SAAB forum, and even they seem confused about what they're for. Some think it's to keep snow from building up in the REAR wheel arches.

  12. RedRex Avatar

    Pros: Great as curb feelers
    Cons: I need every inch when autocrossing

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      There's no need for mud flaps to act as curb feelers; a proper race car should have both.
      <img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7445/16511784305_acb614874e.jpg&quot; width="500">

  13. Nizlehop Avatar

    I have the pictured Rallyarmor brand ones in a more subtle black on black color on my Mazdaspeed3 and I love them I'm sure they don't help the mileage, but I'm happy to not be picking bits of tar and road debris off of the white paint.
    I think they look good on some cars, but goofy on others.

  14. Wildcat_445 Avatar

    I still prefer them to keep the road rash off of the lower sides of my cars. Bad as Michigan roads are, we need all the help we can get. I haven't even replaced my windshield since my current one has multiple cracks and chips, from about five separate incidents of chunks of our crumbling roads being thrown up at it from trucks and big SUVs.

  15. Taylor Avatar

    I've got mudflaps in all four corners on my VW bus as I've taken it off road in groups a few times and don't want to be the cause of added dings and chips with my friends.
    I also love how they look on a sport Subaru. So yeah, more mudflaps!!

  16. Alcology Avatar

    I've been meaning to pick up a set for my Fiesta. Haven't done it yet. Some lady backed into me at a red light and then a bunch of snow fell of the roof and ruined my hood. So by the end of winter I might not even have a car left to put flaps on.

  17. Tiller188 Avatar

    My WRX wears a set of Rallyarmors (albeit in a more subtle color scheme than the ones shown in the lede), and I like having them. Honestly I got them as much for looks as anything else (because rallycar wannabe), but then again, when I first bought the car, before I put the flaps on, I noticed that just driving along damp roads was enough for me to end up with roostertails circling all the way around my wheel arches, such that the end of the spray trail actually pointed forward. I dunno if it's just the tread on these particular tires or what, but the flaps definitely do catch a fair bit of spray and debris. (Or at least they will, as soon as we get some more rain here in California.)

  18. JayP2112 Avatar

    Picked up a set of cheep flaps for the Mustang. Got tired of rubbing the rubber off the flanks after track weekends.

  19. Preludacris Avatar

    It's unfortunate they have to be so big to be effective. I've considered putting on bigger ones to cut my rooster tail on the wet highway (and, you know, actually protect my paint). But anything big enough to do so would add drag and look pretty goofy on a Honda.
    <img src="http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z313/ndrwhrnr/F4AFADE8-8D70-46BE-93A5-3030D0A50F8F_zpsr5qku1x2.jpg&quot; width="600">

  20. HTWHLS Avatar

    Mudflaps never went away. Weathertech has great ones and they are matched to the car body and install without drilling. Now, if Weathertech would add Mudflap girl to theirs, I'd have a set on every vehicle I own.