Land Rovers are known for their high quality design and exceptional performance standards. Unfortunately, like all vehicles out there, auto mechanics are near impossible to perfect and this can take a toll on vehicle wear and performance at some point. One issue that Land Rover drivers experience is fuel tank shield or fuel tank skid plate corrosion and rust. This is a concerning issue, as it can greatly compromise your safety and your vehicle’s performance. In this article, we’ll give you some background information on why the fuel tank skid plate is an important part for your car, how to spot signs of corrosion, and what you can do to prevent or address the issue in your own Land Rover.
Why is the fuel tank shield important?
All cars’ fuel tanks are shielded by a skid plate of sorts that is designed to house and protect the fuel tank. Since the fuel tank is often in a vulnerable position beneath the car in Land Rovers, it’s important to keep the fuel tank protected from road debris or other threats. Unfortunately, the fuel tank shield can run into its own problems that compromise its ability to perform its job adequately.
What to look for in a compromised fuel tank shield
A fuel tank that is compromised will exhibit a few outwardly concerning symptoms that you should be aware of and address immediately. Here are the most common signs that your fuel tank shield is beginning to degrade:
• Any amount of visible rust on the exterior of the shield
• Patches of rust surrounding drain holes
• Visible rust stains on the ground beneath your car
What can cause the fuel tank shield to corrode?
Your Land Rover specialist will want to perform a differential diagnosis to determine the original cause of the issue; this way, the problem will likely not occur again once the issue is remedied. Here are the most common reasons for fuel tank skid plate corrosion:
• Poor drainage
• Consistent exposure to excessive moisture
• Road and salt spray
• Location climate and conditions
• Vehicle age and mileage
• Lack of maintenance
Some of these issues are due to design and engineering issues with the vehicle itself, which necessitates that your automotive shop get a little creative with their solutions. For instance, replacing the part with the same original part may lead to corrosion in the future if the design of the part is the problem in the first place. Otherwise, there are things you can do to prevent this from occurring, which we’ll go over in a moment.
How to address the issue
Addressing the issue of fuel tank shield corrosion or rust is a process that involves several steps. Depending on what information your automotive specialist collects in the initial diagnostic process, they may decide to take a few different routes of addressing the problem. Usually fixing the issue requires replacing the part, but if the problem has not progressed substantially it may be able to be cleaned and restored.
How to prevent fuel tank shield corrosion
There are a few things you can do for your Land Rover to ensure that the fuel tank shield does not corrode at a rapid pace that goes beyond repair. Here are a few suggestions:
• Hire a trusted automotive professional specializing in Land Rover cars
• Perform frequent, ongoing inspections of the undercarriage
• Perform ongoing cleanings and detail work to the undercarriage components
• Keep your car parked in a covered area not exposed to water or humidity
• Avoid driving through large puddles (even though it’s tempting with your Rover’s specific capabilities)
What we can do to help
At Star Motors, we service Land Rover vehicles from all over San Juan Capistrano, CA and other Southern Orange County areas. We are proud to be named South Orange County’s premier European auto repair facility by our patrons, and continuing our three decades of award winning service is our promise to the community. Dealing with a corroded fuel tank shield in a Land Rover is something we’ve addressed countless times, and we’re familiar with various treatment approaches depending on the severity of the issue. If you would like to have your fuel tank shield inspected for corrosion, please contact us today to schedule an appointment.
* Land Rover Defender 90 image credit goes to: typhoonski.