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It is often suggested that skid plates are only necessary for off road vehicles or lower cars. While it is more likely for an oil pan to be damaged during off road exploration or scraping the city streets, the underbelly of a car is constantly at risk from standard road debris, animals, etc.

"Skid plates offer a lot more than just protection."

Volvo skid plates offer a lot more than just protection. Some plates are designed to help catch leaking fluids, which can save drive ways and finished garage floors from being stained. They also protect the underside of the engine from splashed up water or kicked up road salt.

However, the most effective difference of a skid plate, though seldom considered, is how it improves aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. Underneath the engine bay are a bunch of hoses, pipes, pans, and more. Air passing by all of these components creates turbulence from the angles and disrupts the smooth flow of air under the car. This will cause an excessive floating feeling at highway speeds.

While I personally consider aluminum skid plates a necessity for all cars, the factory plastic splash shield is sufficient enough for stabilizing air flow and providing protection for belts and hoses.

There are multiple aftermarket aluminum skid plate options, including a Genuine Volvo part, each coming with different suggestions for installation. This may require installing rivets, drilling threaded holes, or simply tightening basic screws. The following is an alternative installation method for the basic DIYer; this can replace the thin screws included with the plastic splash shield or even support the weight of the metal plates.

Necessary Tools:

  • ramps or jack and jack stands
  • socket wrench and ratchet, size will vary depending on the plate being installed and its included hardware

Some aftermarket skid plate installation instructions may suggest a rivet gun, drill, tap and die set, etc.

Skid Plate / Splash Pan Installation:

Step 1

Safely park the vehicle on ramps or securely rest the vehicle on jack stands.

Step 2

Remove these little red screw caps. If you have a factory splash shield installed, the screws will be threaded into these caps. Removal may require prying with a flat head screw driver or pliers. There are 5 of these caps under the car: 3 towards the front near the radiator and 2 near the back by the torque mount. The rear caps pictured were white.

Here is what the back of the caps look like, once removed.

Step 3

Some skid plates will provide specialty bolts for direct installation into the rectangular holes. If your plate did not come with these style bolts, you can easily use carriage bolts with the heads shaved down by an angle grinder.

Step 4

Insert the bolt into the opening and rotate it 90 degrees so that it hangs without falling out.

Secure the bolt in place using a washer, lock washer, and nut.

Step 5

Once all five bolts have been secured, position the skid plate and secure it using more washers and nuts.


The only downfall to this installation method is that the bolts will be one of the lowest hanging points on the car. If your car is significantly lowered, these will likely scrape on the road and break off. However, this alternative installation option makes the bolts easy to replace and also easy to cut off in the event that the bolts rust or seize in place.

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Written by :
Michael Hallock

Michael lives in Dahlonega, GA where he works full time as manager of an accounts receivable department. Despite a bachelors in New Media Arts, his true passion is in modifying and maintaining the cars that he and his wife own; Volvo for life. Many in the Volvo community might recognize his screen name, MyNameIdeasWereTaken.

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