Talk to a Sales Tech
M-F 8:30A-11P, Sat-Sun 8:30A-9P
Logo Image

Protecting Your Tacoma’s Underside with Skid Plates

Protecting Your Tacoma’s Underside with Skid Plates

We all need to protect what’s down under. No, not on ourselves; on our trucks. The Tacoma is an off-road favorite all over the world and is subjected to some serious abuse. Sure, the suspension and body are going to take on some serious whacks and bangs but they’re not the only part of the truck that’s getting beat. Underneath, rocks love to grate crucial points like the oil pan and control arms, which can cause some life ending issues for your Tacoma. This is why skid plates are so important for off-road trucks.

Shop Tacoma Skid Plates

Skid plates serve one purpose: to protect your Tacoma's vitals. Skid plates are designed to take abuse where your gas tank, oil pan, and other parts can't. If you plan on off-roading in some rocky terrain, investing in a set of skid plates will ensure you make it back home.

Shop Skid Plates >

What is a Skid Plate?

Skid plates are used in all sorts of vehicles and make a big difference in the maintenance and upkeep of an off-road vehicle. Think of skid plates like shields of armor that protect the vehicle’s vitals.

These are hard barriers that stop stumps, logs, rocks, and boulders from smashing into the goods. When something comes in contact with a skid plate the design helps them pass over the surface of the plate rather than stopping dead on it. These units sit below the vehicle covering everything the bumpers cannot.

Toyotas Equipped with Skid plates from the Factory

Toyota knows very well that buyers of the Tacoma would be using it for off-road adventuring. In fact, the factory equipped Pre-Runner and TRD Tacoma come with skid plates to help protect the truck’s guts.

These units are aluminum and protect the underside of the engine from any rocks or stumps that can bang things up. It is a smaller skid plate than what may be appropriate, but if the manufacturer deems the use of a skid plate worthy, you should too.

Factory Skid Plate Construction

  • Aluminum
  • Protects underside of the engine

When to Consider a Skid Plate for Your Build?

Skid plates serve a purpose, but are an additional expense. The factory may slap a skid plate on TRD trucks, but that doesn’t mean every owner is going to put it to use. If you’re lifting a truck up simply for the look and don’t intend to abuse the thing, you don’t have to buy one for your build.

Any time you’re building a Tacoma that will see some off-road action, it’s never a bad idea to throw one on there. Sure, you can get lucky with some trails, but if you know you’re headed out to rough it on a trail with big rocks and lots of stumps at high speeds, do not skip it.

Skid Plate Materials

Shopping for skid plates is a very straight-forward process. Really all that needs to be taken into consideration is what you are trying to protect and how much abuse you need it to take. Skid plates are constructed from metal and naturally, you will have some choices in the type of metal used.

You have steel, case hardened steel, aluminum, and water jet aluminum. As far finishes go, you will primarily have two choices: bare metal and powder coated. Powder coated should be the choice for those who have longevity in mind because it is a thick durable coating resistant to rust that won’t easily strip away. 

Steel: Steel is an obvious material for a shield. It can take a lot of abuse before needing to be replaced and is considerably cheaper than aluminum. 

Aluminum: Aluminum is a great lightweight option for skid plate material. They may not stand up to the abuse that steel will, but considering both will eventually need to be replaced, sacrificing longevity for weight savings is deemed worthy by many. 

Case Hardened Steel: This steel finish is separated from standard steel as carbon is introduced to the outer layer of the product. This gives added strength to the already rugged material. 

Water Jet Aluminum: Water Jet Aluminum isn’t separated from standard aluminum in terms of material strength. It is simply a reference to the way that the aluminum is cut. 

Upkeep of Skid Plates

Skid plates have a lifespan and will need to be replaced after hard use. If you’re driving your Tacoma over minor obstacles taking hits every once in a while you won’t have to be too concerned with replacing them.

Though, big hits may destroy a skid plate in an instant and will need to be replaced. It sounds like a pain and an expense, but it’s better than the drivetrain or undercarriage from taking that hard of a blast.

Where and How to Install a Skid Plate?

Skid plates come in many different shapes and sizes and don’t only work to protect the engine they can be used to cover the transmission, transfer case, and even the entire undercarriage of the truck.

Of course budget is a factor, but in the long run buying these units can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. As far as the installation process goes it’s very straightforward. They require no modification to the Tacoma for installation, and this is a task you can do by yourself.

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro