Why Your First Upgrade Needs to be a Skid Plate

Can-am Maverick Sport A-arm Guards

So, you’ve just bought a RZR, Maverick, Talon or another UTV and you are trying to get a solid answer on what accessories you should be purchasing first. There are endless amounts of accessories out there for side by sides (SxS), and they do dozens of important things. It’s reasonable to feel confused and overwhelmed, so we are more than happy to advise you what you should do first.

Upgrade your UTV skid plate.

If you are going to do one thing with your new UTV today, make it purchasing a new skid plate. Convinced yet? That’s okay, we are here to give the reason why we find this part is the most important to upgrade early in the life of your vehicle.

Your stock side by side UTV skid plate does a few simple things— but it doesn’t necessarily do them well. It protects your fuel tank, your battery, sometimes your transmission, and then small amounts of your front and rear differential. That’s a lot of really expensive parts I just listed. Not only are they expensive, but they are also not optional. You need those parts to work for your vehicle to keep going. The issue with your stock UTV skid plate is that very, very thin and only covers small amounts of your chassis.

If you were to look under your vehicle right now you would see that it is pretty flimsy looking, and in coverage, it can be lacking. 

That’s why we want you to make sure that it’s the first thing you upgrade. Your UTV is going over crazy things in every terrain from sand, rocks, mud and more. Once it breaks you could be looking at all of those important, expensive mechanical parts being damaged with it.

When you are looking for your new UTV skid plate, one of the first questions you are going to have to decide on is what material you are looking for. There are three major materials used in this field so I’m going to talk a little about each one.

Steel Skid Plates

This was originally the most commonly used material for ATV’s and UTV’s, but it’s losing its favor as we find more alternatives. Steel is heavy, but the problem is that heaviness doesn’t lend itself to better protection. Steel lack general integrity. It is easily damaged, dented, and when it’s gouged it rusts. It’s also very loud, even if you have secured it properly.

Aluminum Skid Plates

These are rapidly becoming a widely used choice. Aluminum is cheap and much lighter than steel. It doesn’t rust, but it needs to be made much thicker than a steel skid plate. Just like steel, it’s an incredibly loud material even when it’s installed perfectly. Aluminum dents similarly to steel, and once it is dented it can be difficult to repair. 

Plastic Skid Plates

Not just any plastic, but ultra-high molecular weight UHMW plastic! Plastic UTV skid plates aren’t as cheap as their metal counterparts but with good reason. They are light and flexible, so they can handle terrain better. They don’t lose their shape when with their flexibility. These UTV skid plates are also incredibly hard to dent or break. They are much easier to fix than the metal skid plates.

So, now you know what the different kinds of skid plate materials are. When you look at the pros and cons of each one we feel that it’s easy to say our stamp of approval goes to plastic.

We also want to recommend that you take a look at Trail Armor when you are purchasing your UTV skid plate. Their skid plates wrap around the entire bottom of your UTV, they don’t leave anything unprotected, which will keep you and your vehicle running for far longer than you would be  able to with your stock plate.

Skid plates take a beating every time you go out in your UTV, and as we said above when that part breaks you’ve already done damage to more than just your skid plate. That is why it’s easy for us to say that when you are looking for your first upgrade, you should make it a Trail Armor skid plate. (insert links to products as needed)

Video ThumbnailWhere we talk Industry, New Products, New Platform Features while keeping you up to date. Here at American Off-Roads we always get asked what is the first thing to upgrade on a UTV/Side By Side? We always say skid plate because if you wait the damage could be worse.

UTV Skid Plate FAQ

What is a UTV Skid Plate

The side by side skid plate is the cover underneath your UTV, traditionally bolts to your bottom frame rails and protects your engine, transfer case, battery, fuel tank and front differential.

Why do I need to upgrade my UTV Skid plate?

Stock side by side skid plates do not cover from edge to edge front to back. They focus on the most vital areas to cover, where aftermarket skid plates traditionally cover the complete undercarriage.

Are Certain Skid Plates better?

The main function is protection so the thickness of the skid plates along with there durability are the main focuses. Some skid plates include rock sliders that wrap up and around your rocker panels to product the sides.

What materials are used to make a skid plate?

The three primary materials used for UTV skid plates are: 1. Steel, traditionally heavy and not used often. 2. Aluminum, lighter weight but soft metal bends. 3. UHMW Plastic, light weight and flexible to take impact from objects on the trail.

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