Ingenious adaptations of the mudflap that go to great lengths, and widths, to keep the track debris off the front of your trailer.
Years ago, I watched a bloke doing circle work in the sand on a station outside Broken Hill. He was driving a Nissan GU Patrol and towing a camper-trailer. It would have been less amusing if we hadn’t realised what he was trying to achieve with his antics.
He’d broken a window in the back door of the Nissan and had wound down the rest of the windows in an attempt to ‘pressurise’ the interior and stop the dust coming in. Of course, all he achieved was to fill the car with sand.
How had he broken the window? A stone had rebounded off the vertically-mounted spare wheel on the trailer’s drawbar and gone through the Nissan glass. Very common.
How could this have been prevented?
Well, the circle work probably couldn’t have been, knowing the chap in question, but the stone damage? You have a few options when it comes to minimising the risk of damage due to track debris. In part one of our guide on how to keep the track debris off your trailer, we look at the vehicle first.
All mudflaps are not created equal. And I am reasonably confident that not all new cars come with four as standard, but it’s likely (and legal) that your rear wheels are equipped with some sort of mudflap. As well as your own duco, mudflaps are to look after motorists behind you, not primarily your caravan. But it’s a good starting point.
If you drive one of the main players in the market then it’s likely you can buy some heavy-duty rubber mudflaps, or you can be creative and make your own – you won’t be the first.
The preferred design attributes are thick and tough enough to last in the environment, while not fouling the wheels in any way, especially while reversing.
THE BRUSH OFF
Not the follow-up text from a first date that never comes, we mean the next line of defence; a brush-style barrier. This design usually lives rearward of the vehicle’s mudflaps and run from side-to-side in one unit. The heavy-duty brushes are mounted to the towbar rig by your method – talk to your local accessory fitter, unless you’re a DIYer – and perform the barrier duty while not being a wind trap because air rushes through but not the road debris. The Rock Off Towing Brush Strip is one example, while Mudflaps Australia (click here) can supply another version as well as other mudflap solutions. This kind of accessory is often mounted to the towbar set-up, so it’s a near full-time or permanent installation. Another option is to mount brush strips under the van, too, to protect the suspension (more on that in part two).
SOLID FLAPS, FURTHER BACK
While your standard mudflaps work well at keeping the crap off your vehicle, limited surface area means they’re not that effective from eliminating debris further back. As we all know from our windscreen inclusion in our insurance policy, it’s as easy to cop a stray bullet travelling behind a Yaris as it is from a Kenworth going in the other direction.
That’s where a more substantial barrier like the Rock Tamers comes in. The protective part in this design is oversized solid flaps, mounted rearward but not forming a complete, side-to-side barrier, that would act as an air brake. However, there is an appropriate Rock Tamers mesh insert available that fills the gap between the two large flaps. Rock Tamers also manufactures the Towtecter brush installation system that does run the complete vehicle width (up to 96 inches/244cm) for dual-rear-wheel pick-up trucks. Watch an installation video here
So, there we have four methods to consider adding to your vehicle. In part two, we will look at the protection that applies to your caravan or camper directly and nets that hang in between.