VW Jetta Under Engine Cover Function

My 2003 Jetta recently lost it’s under engine cover on a country road. My friends advised me that most cars do not have these covers. Sure enough, I’ve looked under many cars and they do not have a cover. Does the under engine cover serve a special function in VW Jetta’s that would warrant my spending the money to replace (probably over $250)?

It may be an aerodynamic aid, or it may be a splash shield. If you start having electrical problems while driving on wet roads or hitting puddles you’ll know why it was there.

Whatever its purpose, it’s hard to believe the VW engineers put it there for no reason whatsoever.

You could try to find one in a junk yard, which would probably save you quite a bit of money. Or, if you still have the cover you could reattach it.

I agree–as I frequently do–with mcparadise. On a modern car, nothing is put on a car that cannot be justified to the bean counters who govern expenditures. Thus, you have to assume that the under-engine shroud serves a purpose–whether that is to aid aerodynamics (thus aiding fuel economy), or to shield components from road spray, or…who knows.

The reality is that the engineers who designed the car felt that this usually unseen part was necessary, so you should get it replaced. Mcparadise’s suggestion of using a junk yard is a good one.

The belly pan does two things. It reduces water splashes and it also reduces noise. You can buy a new one, but they don’t come cheap. You may do without one. Chances are you will never have a problem, but then again you may.

The third solution is buying a Panzer plate. It is a heavy duty (and heavy) steel or aluminum plate that takes the place of the original plastic one and provides physical protection for the parts above it.

You need to make provisions to do oil changes if you replace the plastic cover with the metal one as removing and replacing the metal one is a pain.  

 I have a Panzer plate and I use a vacuum system to change oil and I don't mind a little more noise with the metal plate.  Your mileage may vary.

 The original one may have fallen off or someone decided not to bother putting it back on after changing oil. 

  There is no right or wrong decision here.  I like mine because I am in the snow belt and my NB has little clearance and I don't like damaged oil pans.  

  So replace it, add a metal version or ignore it, you car will not likely suffer an serious effects from any of the three options.

The under cover could aid in wind noise and keeping water off the belt among other things. You may never notice a difference, time will tell. It is possible that this cover is included due to over engineering, I am not saying it is, I am saying it is possible.