An engine splash shield sometimes called a lower engine cover or even a skid plate, is a layer of protection between your engine and the elements. You will find this shield located on the underside of your vehicle, just below the front end where the engine is mounted.
Particularly useful on vehicles that go off-road, an engine splash shield can keep dirt, water, and other undesirables away from damage-prone areas of your vehicle. Further, an engine splash shield can sometimes help with the aerodynamics of your vehicle, thus improving fuel economy.
Even better, some of the more advanced splash shields can actively redirect air so that it will help to cool various components of your engine.
The price for a replacement engine splash shield starts at around $50 for most vehicles. Some larger trucks or SUVs may be more expensive, with original manufacturer parts priced from $50-$125.If you have it installed professionally, you’ll also have to pay for labor, which may be $80-$125.
Nationwide mechanic rates vary drastically, but regardless, it should not take any competent mechanic more than an hour to do this simple replacement. In the end, hiring a mechanic will cost you the price of the parts and one hour of labor at the going rate in your area.
- Vehicle-Specific Engine Splash Shields
- Installation Costs for an Engine Splash Shield
- Factors Affecting the Cost of a Replacement Engine Splash Shield
- What is an Engine, Splash Shield?
- Do I really need to replace my engine splash shield?
- When Should I Get My Engine Splash Shield Replaced?
- How Do You Replace a Splash Shield?
- Buying Guide
Vehicle-Specific Engine Splash Shields
The price for your replacement skid plate may vary based on the make and model of your vehicle and whether you choose an aftermarket or OEM replacement.
Let’s take a look at some sample prices for specific vehicles to get a better idea of what to expect for the cost.
|Sample Vehicle Make & Model||Part Details||Engine Splash Shield Sample Price|
|BMW 330i||OEM Replacement||$100 - $120|
|Audi A3||OEM Replacement||$100 - $110|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||Aftermarket||$20 - $45|
|Dodge Ram 1500||Aftermarket||$65 - $300|
|Ford F-150||Aftermarket - Aluminum||$475 - $490|
|Ford F-150||Aftermarket - Plastic||$15 - $20|
|Honda Accord||Aftermarket||$13 - $40|
|Honda Civic||Aftermarket||$13 - $20|
|Nissan Altima||Aftermarket||$15 - $40|
|Toyota Camry x||$15 - $35||$15 - $35|
|Volkswagen Golf||OEM Replacement||$100 - $110|
|Volvo S80||OEM Replacement||$75 - $85|
|Acura MDX||Aftermarket||$10 - $35|
|Land Rover LR3||Aftermarket||$475 - $500|
|Mini Cooper||OEM Replacement||$125 - $140|
In addition to just the specific parts for your vehicle’s make and model, you also need to know whether your car has one or multiple shields.
Some vehicles have one center engine splash shield, while others have a center shield along with a driver and passenger side shield.
Other vehicles may have an upper and lower shield. Be sure that you replace the correct one or purchase the appropriate parts for your vehicle.
Installation Costs for an Engine Splash Shield
If you decide to have your engine splash shield professionally installed or replaced, you’ll need to consider the cost of the parts plus the cost of labor. The price for labor will mostly depend on where you take it and your geographic location.
The hourly rate for labor at a garage is typically between $80 and $130 per hour, though that figure may vary slightly.
Taking your vehicle to a dealership will mean that the labor charge will likely be on the higher end, while a local independent shop will likely charge a lower rate.
Either way, it should only take ½ to one hour to do the work. It should only take longer if there is more extensive repair work to do, like if your vehicle was involved in a crash.
Cost for Professional Installation of Engine Splash Shield
|Minimum Installation Charge||$35 - $50|
|Maximum Installation Charge||$75 - $130|
|Average Installation Charge||$45 - $65|
You may be able to save some money on the labor cost if you have the engine splash shield replaced at the same time that you’re having other work done.
In some vehicles, the splash shield has to be removed in order to access the oil pan, for example. So, having the work done at the same time as an oil change might help to reduce the cost.
You might even get lucky and they’ll agree to put the new one on for free, so it never hurts to ask.
Factors Affecting the Cost of a Replacement Engine Splash Shield
A new engine splash shield (or skid plate) is generally an inexpensive part to replace. However, there are some factors that can have an impact on the price.
You’ll have to consider these factors when deciding whether to replace your engine splash shield and which type is best for your situation.
Replacement Engine Splash Shield Cost
|Minimum Price||$6 - $15|
|Maximum Price||$175 - $260+|
|Average Price||$25 - $65|
The price for a new skid plate varies depending on the vehicle make and model, whether it’s a genuine factory replacement part or aftermarket, and the materials that it’s made of.
The materials you choose should be based on the road conditions where you drive and how you use your vehicle.
You’ll also have to decide if you prefer to do the installation yourself or have it installed by a professional.
It’s possible to replace your own engine splash shield, so you can save some money by doing the work yourself if you’re able.
Types of Engine Splash Shields
If the engine splash shield is going to be effective at protecting your vehicle, it has to be able to stand up to its harsh environment and withstand a good amount of wear and tear.
Most factory-installed shields are made of plastic or fiberglass. Over time, these materials can break down and become damaged. How well they hold up depends on where and how you drive your vehicle.
Plastic Engine Splash Shields
Plastic is a somewhat flexible material that’s commonly used for engine splash shields and many other vehicle components.
Fiberglass is actually a type of plastic that’s reinforced with glass fibers and resin. It’s stronger and lighter than standard plastic, so it’s a good choice for a skid plate.
Plastic engine splash shields will do the job and offer a standard amount of protection for your vehicle. They’re also the least expensive to replace.
However, they’re usually not the best choice for harsh conditions or off-road driving. A plastic shield won’t hold up with ongoing impacts from rocks and other debris and it will be susceptible to damage from heavy vibrations and friction over time.
Aluminum Engine Splash Shields
An aluminum skid plate is lighter and stronger than plastic, so it will provide slightly better protection in rougher conditions. It will hold up better against impacts and debris. However, they’re not as strong as steel shields.
Aluminum shields can still break and shatter. However, the design and quality can help to make the part much stronger.
This is where the cheapest part may not be the best option. In addition, aluminum shields are difficult to repair compared to steel.
However, aluminum is a good choice for driving on standard roads under normal conditions. It won’t rust very easily, so it may be a better material than steel for driving on salted roads.
Steel Engine Splash Shields
Steel is the strongest and heaviest material used for engine splash shields. If you take your vehicle off-road, or if you frequently drive on very rough terrain, you may want to consider a steel engine splash shield.
These plates are better designed to withstand heavy impacts and will hold up to wear and tear over time. Some people choose steel shields because they’re more easily repairable than the other types. If the steel splash shield becomes dented, it can often be repaired much the same way that standard car dents are repaired.
All in all, the steel engine splash shields will almost always last much longer than those made with lighter materials. So, while the initial price may be slightly higher, it may end up saving you money in the long run, especially if your vehicle is exposed to rougher conditions on a regular basis.
What is an Engine, Splash Shield?
The engine splash shield is sometimes also referred to as the skid plate or lower engine cover. This protective shield fits underneath your vehicle to keep impacts from rocks, debris, and other objects from damaging the underside of your engine, axles, suspension, or other vehicle components.
It also helps keep out some of the water, dirt, dust, and debris that comes off the roads and can cause problems for your vehicle. Engine splash shields can be made of plastic or metal. Most vehicles that come with a stock skid plate have a plastic shield.
Over time, the plastic can become cracked or broken, or the fasteners that hold it into place may wear out. If this occurs, you may need to replace the shield. If your vehicle didn’t come with an engine splash shield, you may decide that you want to add this extra layer of protection.
If you live on a dirt road or drive in harsh conditions, investing in this simple add-on can help prevent future problems. An engine splash shield can help keep your vehicle’s underside components in better condition and reduce wear and tear damage.
Do I really need to replace my engine splash shield?
Because of where engine splash shields are located, they are prone to becoming damaged. They will often contact the ground when the car bottoms out.
Eventually, the shield will break and hang off the vehicle. Interestingly, the destructible nature of these shields is an intended aspect of the design.
It is thought that it is generally better than an engine splash shield should fall off rather than stay attached in situations where the shield would cause damage to other parts of the car. An example of this would be if the engine splash shield got somehow stuck on an immovable object.
In that instance, it would be better for the shield to fall off rather than staying connected and tearing off other parts of the vehicle. It is because of the destructible nature of this car part that many people assume it is not important.
Unfortunately for their vehicle, they are wrong. There are several reasons for which the engine splash shield is integral to the health of a vehicle.
The engine splash shield is a smooth surface that improves the aerodynamics of the undercarriage of a vehicle. Further, the shield is often designed so that it actively directs airflow to areas of the engine that need to be cooled.
Besides mere water and dirt, the splash shield protects you from anything that may want to slam into your engine. Think rocks, branches, or curbs.
When your splash shield is hanging off your car, realize that the damage that caused the shield to break would have injured your engine if the shield had not been there.
Avoid corrosion and rust
Although it is inevitable that your engine will corrode and rust over time, an engine splash shield effectively extends that time. With a splash shield intact, your engine will still come in contact with moisture and corrosives, but only at a fraction of the rate, it would without the shield.
Avoid repair costs
In the end, replacing the engine splash shield when it is damaged will save you money. There is any number of ways for your engine to become damaged. The splash shield prevents many of these hazards.
You can either replace an inexpensive splash shield, or you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars fixing numerous other engine parts in the future. The choice is yours.
When Should I Get My Engine Splash Shield Replaced?
In most instances, vehicle owners replace the splash shield when it has suffered noticeable damage. Usually, the bolts attaching the shield to the vehicle will come loose or break, and the shield will wind up dragging under the car. This will happen to most drivers at least once in their life.
However, depending on how you use your vehicle, you may want to consider upgrading your engine splash shield to increase performance. You could purchase a more customized splash shield that will more effectively redirect airflow for your specific make and model.
Alternatively, if you tend to drive off-road, it may be in your best interest to purchase a more solid splash shield made from thicker metal.
How Do You Replace a Splash Shield?
An engine splash shield is often simple to replace in your own garage. The task may be more complicated if a bolt head was sheared off or if somehow the body of your vehicle is damaged, but in general, most people can do this job.
One thing worth noting up front is that since you will be under the car while doing the replacement, it is especially important to wear goggles, as debris will be falling on you from above. As for other tools, you will likely need a socket wrench or screwdriver, a prybar, a flashlight, and rags.
Basically, to replace your engine splash shield, you would first need to lift your car. Next, you remove the old shield by unscrewing the bolts and attaching them to the car. You then install the new splash shield by attaching it with new bolts.
Finally, you lower your car and give it a test drive. Each vehicle may have a slightly different procedure, so it is always good to review the car manual and the instructions that come with the new engine splash shield. In the end, however, replacing the shield is a straightforward DIY project.
Type of Material
The stock engine splash shield for most vehicles is constructed from light material such as plastic or fiberglass. In most instances, this is the best option. These shields are inexpensive, effective, and lightweight. They may be more prone to damage, but they cost less to replace.
On the other hand, aluminum or other metal shields can offer much more protection. The downside is that these shields cost and weigh more. The altered weight can actually change the balance of your car.
Further, depending on the metal, this type of shield can rust. If left unattended the rust can travel from the engine splash shield to the body of the car.
First, it is important to realize that stock splash shields do not equal universal splash shields. Every make and model of vehicle has an engine splash shield specifically designed for it.
The grooves and slots engineered into the shield are located for your specific engine. Another shield could leave your engine unprotected or overheated. Splash shields are commonly replaced so you should not have a problem finding a new one for your specific car.
You may find splash shields that claim they are universal, but if the shield doesn’t specifically mention fitting your car, you should be wary.
An engine splash shield is an essential component of your vehicle and should be replaced when it becomes damaged. It is an inexpensive part that can be easily replaced by most vehicle owners as a DIY project. Failing to replace a damaged engine splash shield can result in costly damage to your engine.
So the question is: Do you want to pay as little as $60 now to replace a simple part, or do you want to spend hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in costly engine repairs later? The answer is likely obvious for most vehicle owners.