Winter is beginning to turn to spring across Great Falls and our fair state.  I've heard of gophers being spotted and even some light sprouts in certain areas that are trying to peak through from the last year of fall leaves.  We'll soon be inundated with the sounds of birds chirping and the clunk of front ends falling in potholes.  We also enter into a lovely season across Big Sky Country with rocks.  Not the climbing kind, but the throwing kind.  From out tires comes a seemingly non-stop barrage of tiny pellets being hurled at our beloved vehicles.

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Fenders, Splash Aprons, Flaps Required On Certain Vehicles - The Code

In the state of Montana, the code 61-9-407 can be summarized as follows:

(1) A person may not move, or permit to be moved, a vehicle, except a motorcycle, quadricycle, motor-driven cycle, or farm tractor, as defined in this title, upon the public highways without having first equipped the rearmost wheels or set of wheels of the vehicle with fenders, splash aprons, or flaps. The fenders, splash aprons, or flaps must be designed, constructed, and attached to the vehicle in a manner that arrests and deflects dirt, mud, water, rocks, and other substances that may be picked up by the rear wheels of the vehicle and thrown into the air...

There a separate sub-sections that also follow under this code, several of which apply to the general population and most of the vehicles on the roads that we see everyday:

(d) If the vehicle is 8,000 pounds or less gross vehicle weight or rating, the fenders, splash aprons, or flaps must extend downward to a point that is not more than 20 inches above the surface of the highway when the vehicle is empty.


(a) when measured on the cross-sections of the tread of the wheel or on the combined cross-sections of the treads of multiple wheels, the fender, splash apron, or flap extends at least to each side of the width of the tire or of the combined width of the multiple tires; and

(b) the fender, splash apron, or flap is capable at all times of arresting and deflecting dirt, mud, water, or other substance that may be picked up and carried by the wheel or wheels.

What Does All Of This Mean?  It's Really Pretty Simple!

Put mudflaps on your vehicle!  It's really that simple!  If you look down either side of your vehicle and can see the tires sticking outside of the fender well?  You need mud flares!  Put a 6" lift with 33's and spacers on?  You need both of them!  Flares and flaps!  When in doubt, it's probably going to need mudflaps on it.  Think of it this way, you don't want those same rocks flying at your vehicle, why cause the person in front or behind you the same headache of having to run up the insurance rate because of a random rock from a mud tire?  What say you?  Hit us in the comments or as always you can email me here.

Montana Laws

Montana laws on the books, that are... interesting.

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