Ark Engine Splash Guards: Better Protect Your Engine Against Debris On Daily Commutes & Weekend Adventures
If you have owned your 4Runner for more than a couple of years, you’ve probably realized by now that the OEM engine splash guards aren’t much thicker than a piece of cardboard. If you’re like me, you looked one day only to find pieces of them left, clinging to your frame.
There are a plethora of options out there for replacements ranging from OEM to Amazon specials. I originally replaced what was left of my OEM splash guards with the ones from Rad Rubber Design and have nothing but good things to say about them.
Although the ones from Rad Rubber have performed flawlessly, they do leave a little gap above/behind the front shocks that I wanted to cover up. Que the ARK Engine Splash Guards. Ark provides full coverage with their synthetic rubber blend for a thicker, higher durability guard. These things were designed to take abuse.
Find It Online:
- Ark Engine Splash Guards: Check Price
Ark Engine Splash Guards Overview
The shipping was prompt, and the packaging was good. I bundled these with the Rear Mud Flap Deletes, which saves you a little money. They both came together in one box, with all the required fasteners (plus extras), instructions, and a sticker!
- Flat head screwdriver
- Plastic pry tool (optional)
- Needle nose pliers (potentially)
Ark provides new clips with their Engine Splash Guards, so you don’t have to worry about saving the ones off of your existing splash guards.
Step 1. Remove Front Wheels (Optional)
Although not required, if you have the ability to safely jack up your 4Runner and remove the front wheels, it makes the installation (and particularly the removal of the old splash guards) much easier. If you choose not to remove the front wheels, you may find that turning the wheels in either direction helps to gain access to all of the clips.
Step 2. Remove OEM Splash Guards & Hardware
The OEM splash guards will have plastic clips just as you would find on many of the other plastic pieces on the 4Runner. You will need to remove these in their entirety in order to install the Ark splash guards. If you have a plastic trim removal tool, this would be a great use for it. If not, you can use a flathead screwdriver as I did.
Simply force a flat head screwdriver under the head of the clip and twist the screwdriver. This will pop the head of the clip up enough in order to be removed.
If your clips are old or stubborn, you may find they don’t come out as easy as described. In this case, grab a pair of pliers and pull to remove. You may have some that break or don’t fully release (as you can see in the image above). In this case, they are broken, so just yank them out with a pair of pliers. Don’t sweat this as Ark provides plenty of clips to install the new ones!
Once all clips are removed, the OEM splash guards (or pieces of them) will be free to be removed. This is a good time to clean your frame and in/around your shocks before installing the new splash guards if desired.
Step 3. Install Ark Engine Splash Guards
With the old splash guards removed, start placing clips and installing the new Ark Engine Splash Guards! Ark provides good directions on this, but the basic idea is to secure the top left corner first, followed by the top right.
The last clips go in the bottom left/bottom right, finishing up with the one that wraps in front of the shock just under your upper control arm.
The fit/finish of these are top-notch, and the added coverage is a great addition.
Other Ark Products
ARK also offers Rear Mud Flap Delete kits for the 5th gen 4Runner as well. These are a great alternative to cutting up your OEM mud flaps (as I did) and give a much cleaner and protected look. Installing the Ark Rear Mud Flap Delete kit is easy and straightforward, took less time than cutting my OEM mud flaps.
This kit looks like it came from the factory when installed, and you can’t even tell that it’s an aftermarket product.
Two things stand out to me about the Ark Engine Splash Guards. They are the added coverage and the thicker material. If you’re upgrading straight from OEM, it is a massive upgrade (especially if yours are already falling apart). If you’re upgrading from another aftermarket brand, the added coverage from the Ark ones is a nice peace of mind.
The added coverage and more durable material of the Ark Engine Splash Guards are a great addition, whether it’s for your daily commute or weekend adventure. Many people underestimate how much debris gets thrown up into this area, especially when driving on forest roads. Larger debris like gravel is what tears up the OEM engine splash guards, which are paper-thin.
Everything about the installation was straightforward, and I expect these splash guards to last a long time. The plastic clips will likely break first, and those are easily replaced.
I have been monitoring engine temps out of curiosity, and have seen no increased heat from lack of airflow, etc. The only thing to note is that splash guards do have a bit of a chemical smell initially, and will persist for a few weeks, especially when the engine is hot. However, this smell will fade with time. If you’re looking to replace your engine splash guards, Ark should be at the top of your list!