Be careful with factory splash guards/mud flaps -> rust magnets

neonglh

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Location
East Coast
TDI
2011 Golf TDI DSG
My Golf TDI came with the "Golf Protection Package", which comprises rubber winter floor mats, a hatch organization system, and the factory splash guards. I though this was fantastic, and I never minded the looks of them. Here is what they look like:



Yesterday, my friend Dan and I were talking about his truck, and how the similar designed splash guards on there had rubbed through the paint. This got me thinking about mine, so I decided to pull them off last night and look. Sure enough, it was not pretty. My car has just 39,7xx miles on it, and was built in late 2011.

Here is what was under the front-passenger side:



Then I cleaned it up with some Opti-Clean to get rid of the dirt, revealing a decent amount of scratches and light surface rust:



Next, I used a Meguiars clay bar and some Nanoskin lube to clay the area, which removed about 75% of the rust:
 

neonglh

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Location
East Coast
TDI
2011 Golf TDI DSG
The drivers side was more of the same:


This is actually a really neat shot. The Opti-Clean beads up where my car is sealed with Hydro2, and does nothing where the splash guard was, unsealed.





Finished removing the fronts:



If this was left unnoticed for more time, it certainly would have led to rusted out fenders on a car that is otherwise flawless. I am glad I discovered this problem, and removed the guards. I am going to do what I can to remove the remaining surface rust, and then seal that area of paint. I plan on removing the rear splash guards next, but since the rear bumper is plastic, I am not as concerned.

I like both the look of the splash guards as well as the function of preventing rock chips and sling, so I will likely be cutting my own to fit in the wheel well, and not wrap around the paint.
 

Bulldogger

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2011
Location
NY
TDI
2012 Golf killed by the dealer. 2014 Beetle given as replacement
They should have applied the 3M protectant film on the car prior to mud flap install. You can get it off ebay. Cut it to size where the mud flaps touch the paint, then reinstall the mud flaps. I did this to my wife's Beetle.
 

meerschm

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Location
Fairfax county VA
TDI
2009 Jetta wagon DSG 08/08 205k buyback 1/8/18; replaced with 2017 Golf Wagon 4mo 1.8l CXBB
may want to pull the wheel well liner out to check behind, on the back side of that sheet metal.

this location is well known to pack full of crud, which will keep the back side full of salty water.

couple minutes with a torx screwdriver will gain good access.

easier if you put that corner on a jack stand and pull the wheel off.
 

Henrick

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Location
Ireland
TDI
Golf VI TDI, 77 kW (CAYC)
Yep, this is true.
Splash guards indeed help protect rocker panels and the underbody from rust in humid / salty climate areas. However, OEM guards suck.

I have made my own ones. I went to a market and bought generic ones. They looked similar to this:


Then I have cut out the required shape and shortened them to desired length. I used the factory bolts (2) to mount them plus I drilled a hole on the inner side for one more screw. So mine are secured with 3 screws. I have done this in my previous Mk5 Golf, as well as the new Mk6. (It's a pity I haven't taken off the ones from my Mk5 before I sold the car as I could have reused them for Mk6 but that doesn't matter now).

Long story short, the guards perform their function and do not rub the paintwork like OEMs do. Besides, they do not look that ugly as OEMs do as they don't have the wide rubber on the side.
 

Henrick

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Location
Ireland
TDI
Golf VI TDI, 77 kW (CAYC)
Wow. I wish I had this template ~6 years ago. It would have saved me a few hours.
I did mine without any templates, was taking measurements and cutting the rubber by eye. Came our really good.
 

neonglh

Veteran Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2012
Location
East Coast
TDI
2011 Golf TDI DSG
Yeah, I detail cars, I will be using IronX paste for this on a small applicator. Anything that doesn't come off with that I will abrade off with my Rupes Mini.
 

clacker

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2000
Location
Oxford Mills, Ontario, Canada
TDI
2015 Golf Wagon TDI DSG Trendline, 2000 Jetta TDI auto, 2008 Mercedes R320, 2006 smart fortwo cdi
Even a couple strips of electrical tape or hockey tape go a long way to protecting from that abrasion, and it is easy to replace each spring cleaning. I did not go with the factory mud flaps when I saw the amount of contact area, too much contact. I will design my own this summer, I like it to stick out a good inch to keep the lower doors protected also.
 

Henrick

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Location
Ireland
TDI
Golf VI TDI, 77 kW (CAYC)
Well, I think this one will be the first time I am going to break the forum rules and do a double post. However, I think it's worth that.

VW Golf (no difference from VW Jetta, though) has got sound deadening foam under the front fenders.
Mk6 has got even more of the foam. The foam acts like a sponge. It absorbs road water, salt and debris and stores inside. The water evaporates really slowly and causes rust.

On Mk5 Golf, the foam also rubs the fender edge, causing really fast and premature corrosion. If you are not going to remove the foam, at least cut the edge of it, ~1 cm, to stop it rubbing, as per official VW TSB.

Mk6 is no different! It has got the eactly same foam that rubs and damages the paint. In addition to that, Mk6 has got MORE FOAM for sound deadening properties between the fender and A pillar.

My car was not driven for a week. It was stored under a roof but not in garage - it was exposed to wind and atmosphere but no water/rain. After sitting a week, the foam between the pillar and the fender was soaked. After a week of time!!!



Trust me. My Mk5 Golf has rusted away, that was the main reason I had to sell it. The rust was everywhere and the spots shown in pictures rusted first!

Remove all the foam under the fenders if you care about your car.

You can read more here: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/wiki/fender-and-wheel-well-arch-rust-tsb-and-repair-on-vw/
Although it is more focused on Mk4, but in fact Mk5 and Mk6 are no better! Mk6 is even more because of the fact, that it has got additional foam.
 

Henrick

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 24, 2010
Location
Ireland
TDI
Golf VI TDI, 77 kW (CAYC)
Open your driver's (or front passenger's, it doesn't matter) door. You will see the foam between the fender and the A pillar. If your hand isn't big, use your fingers to reach the foam at the very bottom, where it meets 3 points - rocker panel, A pillar and the fender. Touch it. Unless you are living in a desert where it last rained 3 years or so ago, the foam at the very bottom will be soaked wet.
 

frugality

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 19, 2003
Location
Spring Lake, Michigan
TDI
none, 2016 GTI
Isn't there a 12 year corrosion warranty on rust?
Yep, but you have to wait until it's rusted through to make a claim on the 'rust perforation' warranty.

Mk4 Jettas had something like this, with a sound pad that collected water at the top of the wheelwell arch. And VW paid to fix a lot of Jetta fenders.
 

b1jackson

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2005
Location
Prince Edward Island, Canada
TDI
2012 Golf - Gone in BUYBACK. Replaced with 2015 Golf
Mk4 Jettas had something like this, with a sound pad that collected water at the top of the wheelwell arch. And VW paid to fix a lot of Jetta fenders.
Yeh, mine included. I know about the bottom door corner foam on the golf but by the looks of that photo it's still under the fender at the top of the arch.

Slow learners VW?
 

binsr

New member
Joined
Jan 30, 2019
Location
Philadelphia
TDI
'12 Golf
Thanks for the post. I opted from the factory ones because of it. I bought these instead
SR Mud Flaps

Or do you suggest running without them completely? I'll get water or snow splashing up to my window sometimes.
 

13blackblack

Member
Joined
Feb 16, 2019
Location
Cincinnati
TDI
2013 Jetta Sportwagen
If you’re going to install mudguards put 3M clear paint protection film under the guards. You should be able to buy a small amount at sign shops or businesses that do car and truck advertising graphics.
 
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