Mud flaps are a fantastic option to help your truck stay cleaner, avoid rock chips, and they also offer a unique avenue for some extra customization. Not only do they protect your ride, but they protect cars and pedestrians behind you from flying rocks and debris that you might kick up.
If for nothing else, they break up the curves and lines of your truck and add some extra dimensions to your ride. Which mud flaps are best for your Ford Ranger? Let’s learn a bit about them, take a look at some styles and options, and get you the best ones that work for you.
Front and Rear
Mud flaps are known for being seen behind the rear tires in vehicles, especially big rigs, but on passenger vehicles, they are very common up front too. On big rigs and box trucks, they are pretty much designed to just stop rocks from hitting cars behind them, but on passenger vehicles, they mainly help protect your ride.
Rocks can be kicked up and easily chip away at the paint on your fenders, doors, bumpers (rear), rocker panels, and running boards/steps. With mud flaps extending below the end of the wheel well both front and back, they will help deflect what your tires might kick up.
Despite mainly offering protection to you, your higher ride height over that of a car can be less fortunate for those behind you if you are to kick something up. While standard size mud flaps won’t assure complete protection to any car too close behind you on the highway, these will help cut down on any rocks or debris that your tires may throw behind you.
Drilling VS Non-Drilling
When it comes to the installation of mud flaps, it could be plug and play, or you may need to drill a couple holes. This will depend on the kit that you get, and the trim level of your truck. If your truck came with OEM splash guards, you could luck out depending on the kit that you get. Other kits have mounting brackets to make things easy. Regardless, each reputable kit that you get will come with detailed instructions so you don’t have to worry about messing up.
The material that a mud flap is made out of is key. They are designed to be beaten by rocks, mud, and dirt, so they have to be strong. The most common material mud flaps are made out of is rubber. Rubber can be thick and dense, but when hit, the material will rarely chip or crack. It will absorb the energy of what hits it, and deflect the debris away.
Another good reason for rubber is flexibility. If you have longer mud flaps and you plan on doing off-roading, you want something that will not snap off when crawling over a rock. Over time, rubber flaps may get brittle depending on quality.
Mud flaps can also be plastic, but if they are, they should be shorter, and of a higher quality material such as a polymer. As I mentioned about the flexibility, a long, plastic mud flap could have a tendency to snap if under the correct conditions. This leads me to my next category…
Mud flaps can be really short, or longer. Typically from the factory, most vehicles come with short mud flaps generally referred to as splash guards. Visually, they are more acceptable to a wider audience. Keep in mind that not everyone buys a truck because they intend on using it as a truck. Short flaps don’t offer as much protection, but they are better than nothing. They can offer a nice color contrast while not being too obtrusive to the lines of your truck.
Longer mud flaps are best when you plan on driving on rougher or dirt roads. They offer more protection to your truck, as well as to the people and vehicles around you. They also offer more versatility for customization which I’ll talk about now…
With the right size and material, you can get some serious customization done. Laser engraving, chrome plates and silhouettes, text, and more. The most common would be brand names or logos, truck make or model names or logos, and of course the stereotypical “trucker” look of a chrome silhouette of an attractive woman.
Weighed vs Non Weighted
Weighted mud flaps offer a metal piece on the bottom of a rubber/flexible mud flap to keep them hanging down. This is beneficial because when your truck is in motion, a flexible mud flap might tend to rise up in the wind, which would remove a good amount of protection. A weight helps avoid this.
Popular Options for the Ford Ranger
Now that you know almost everything about mud flaps, let’s dive into available mud flaps for the Ford Ranger. This is by no means a complete list, but just some of the popular ones found on forums, Facebook groups, and based on what our customers say. Hopefully this will help get you pointed in the right direction.
If you want to keep things looking and feeling as factory as possible, then you’ll want to invest in the OEM front and rear splash guards from Ford for the Ranger. On Ford’s site, you have to buy these individually (front pair and back pair) for $53 each for a total of $106. The front ones are a clean and sleek design. The rear is as well, but with the Ford logo etched into the flap. Since these are OEM, you won’t have to worry about fitment issues!
Husky has been protecting all types of trucks inside and out for years, so they know what they are doing! When it comes to their mud guards, the same applies. For $67 you get a kit consisting of front and rear guards that do not require drilling. There is a section of double sided tape to assist in mounting while avoiding drilling, but that does come with some mixed reviews. The guards themselves are made of plastic, and powder coated black for a durable finish.
Like Husky, WeatherTech has been in the business for years protecting rides. While not as highly rated as the Husky ones, this complete kit allows you to purchase front, rear, or both flaps. Both would run you $100. There is no need to drill, and they claim to mount in minutes. The flaps are constructed from a proprietary thermoplastic resin to ensure long lasting durability, and if you had any doubts about that, they do come with a lifetime warranty for the original purchaser, and original vehicle installed on.
If you have the cash and want something really over the top, you can get these Gatorback splash guards on the Ford Parts store for $339 for each pair. That’s $678 in total! These guards are made out of premium heavy duty rubber, and are weighted down with a plate that says “RANGER.” These require no drilling to install, and are backed by a lifetime warranty. While these can take a beating off-road, I personally think these would be more at home on your highway queen compared to your rock crawler. Let’s face it… Getting a ding in your $60 plastic mud flaps will hurn much less compared to scratching the metal plate on your close to $700 ones.
All in all, mud flaps are a good investment to protect your truck and those behind you. Find what you and your wallet likes, and start modding your truck!
Ranger with Mud Flaps - Courtesy of truck Hardware
Ford OEM - Courtesy of The Ford Store
Husky - Courtesy of Amazon reviewer Ryan
WeatherTech - Courtesy of Amazon reviewer Robert Howley
Gabtorback - Courtesy of The Ford Store