Keeping the underside of your car protected is more important than you may think; even on your daily driver. Most “rotted out” vehicles you see started rusting in the underbelly of the car or truck. These are the areas that weren’t protected properly from the factory or had a poor coating that broke down from year-round driving. On 4×4 and Off-Road vehicles the risk of road salt isn’t as bad as the damage caused by driving over “stuff” (that’s the fun of it right?). Your factory coatings aren’t going to hold up to the rock chips, brush, etc dragging under your vehicle. The truth is, no coating can withstand some of the extreme conditions seen when rock crawling or off-roading. Think about it, if it damages the metal, NO coating is going to be able to withstand that sort of impact. But there are some coatings, or combinations of coatings that can hold up better than others. I put together a list of a few of my favorites below.
1.Powder Coating– Let’s face it, there aren’t many if ANY coatings that can withstand the abuse that powder coating can. It can bend, flex and take a good impact without chipping down to bare metal. There are a couple things that make it so strong, including it’s bonding/curing process to metal. A properly prepped part and cured powder will take a HUGE impact before it will start to peel off. Unlike spray paint it will chip, but the surrounding area won’t start to crack or peel. The other reason is that powder generally has a thicker film build so it takes more to get through to the base material. I highly suggest using powder anywhere you can, especially suspension, steering, and drivetrain components that will see regular debris. Be realistic though, if you drop the front of the truck off the edge of a rock or the trail and set it down on a boulder, rock, etc., the powder won’t stand a chance. But I can assure you there will be far less damage to the coating than traditional liquid coatings!
2. Chassis Black Paint– We’ve worked hard over the years perfecting a chassis paint that holds up AND looks good. We offer a few different versions all ranging in durability. For off-road vehicles we suggest to use the 2K Ceramic Chassis Black is about second to powder coating. The ceramic coating will far exceed any 1k spray paint and is easy to blend back in if you do get a chip. The extra cost is worth it when you’re undercarriage is exposed to extreme conditions like a off-road rig.
3. Undercoating- Unless you’ve got friends in high places and can powder coat your entire vehicle, you can only really powder coat small to medium sized parts and you’re still left with a need for a way to protect the underside of the body of your vehicle. Undercoating is best used for wheel wells and the floors/underside of the body of your truck. Just remember not all undercoatings are made equal! Many of the cheap department store undercoatings are asphalt based and while they may be black and go on heavy all the same, the rubberized version will far outlast the cheaper stuff. Rubberized undercoating doesn’t much care what is underneath it, so I like to apply either a good primer or our Rubberized Rust Encapsulator over any bare metal to assure if the undercoating is penetrated there’s a base layer for extra protection. Just a coat or two under the rubberized undercoating can make a big difference!
4. Heavy Duty Anti-Rust– Have an area you can’t get to easily for proper paint or powder, but still may be exposed to sand, dirt, rocks etc? The Heavy Duty Anti-Rust is a water-tight, flexible coating that can be shot into hidden or hard to reach areas. Because it is water-tight moisture and the elements won’t harm the base surface and it will slow down any present rust. The best part for the harsh off-road world is that it is “self-healing” and it will fill back in around itself if damaged by a stray rock or debris. Use the aerosol with our exclusive spray wand and treat tailgates, boxed frames, rockers, etc.
5.Elastiwrap– Need a coating that works sort of like rubberized undercoating, but not so permanent? We’ve found Elastiwrap to be a great solution for rockers, leading edges of front end sheet metal, and wheel arches to resist damaging the paint on off-road vehicles. This is great for weekend warriors that may drive their off-road vehicle to work on Monday or take a gal on a date in the truck and don’t want it looking like a hillbilly farm truck. Apply 4-6 or more coats and it will have a high build quality with the protection similar to rubberized undercoating. Removing it is as easy as pulling a vinyl decal off! Use the clear elastiwrap for discreet protection if you want to keep the vehicle all one color. Try it, we know you’ll be impressed!