I always hear people talk about how much the factory skidplates suck, how inadequate they are and how important it is to install heavy and expensive aftermarket replacements. And, truth be told, I just don’t get it. I mean, I’m totally on board with protecting vital parts on your Jeep that come with little to no protection at all, such as the oil pan on all JK’s, the automatic transmisson sump pan on 2011-up JK’s and even a very exposed transmission cooler line on 2012-up, but I simply have not seen any need to replace what you already get for free from the factory. Sure, things like your gas tank, transfer case or automatic transmission skid plate may get beat to all hell and may not look real pretty after a lot of wheeling but, in the over 5 years we’ve been punishing the 4 JK’s we’ve owned, I have yet to see any of them fail. In fact, I have yet to see or hear of any factory skid fail on any of the JK’s that join us on our runs or, even online for that matter.
Having said all that, I’d like to take a moment and give some love to the under-appreciated factory skidplates. They are provided for FREE from the factory, do not add extra weight, do not hide leaks that you want to see, don’t trap in excessive amounts of heat like aftermarket skids do, are easy to remove and because of it, allow for easy access to service your transmission and transfer case. Again, I would be the first to recommend protection of vital parts on your Jeep such as your oil pan and transmission on newer JK but, only because they come with little to no protection at all.
I’m sure there will be people out there who will go on and on about how wrong I am but, I’m the kind of guy who prefers to go off of what I’ve seen and not what I imagine will happen.