The new mid-engine Corvette has had its problems. Some have called it the “Corvette curse.” Adding to the curse is a new one that has cropped up getting lots of attention on the C8 Corvette Owners (And Friends) Facebook group. Those side openings on C8 Corvette fascias are there to take in air for the AC condenser. The condenser cools off the refrigerant as it passes through the AC system. Images show them getting pelted with rocks and debris. So C8 Corvette owners; does your AC condenser have this bad rash too?
Damage being done to the thin cooling fins
Based on the responses on the C8 Facebook page this is an issue with many C8 owners. The images supplied by poster Ron Harris shows the concern is the damage being done to the thin cooling fins. Harris gave MotorBiscuit permission to run these images. The fins help direct air around the tubes that flow refrigerant. Because there is little protection for them they can get damaged in just a few hundred miles.
Besides looking bad the damaged fins can get crushed and impede the airflow. Much of the discussion is around the need for more protection and the damage being caused by less airflow to the condenser. You can see how much damage has already occurred.
If the Corvette is driven regularly on gravel roads that could be a cause
The problem with the images is that the Corvette is not the poster’s car. So there is no information on what circumstances occurred that resulted in this damage. From what poster Harris told MotorBiscuit, the Corvette is not driven on gravel roads. That would be one obvious cause. Though we should also add that this should be considered normal use.
Because there is a slight pattern to some of the damage some posters wonder if it occurred from using a power washer. But what pattern there might be could have been caused by how debris is deflected off of the plastic honeycomb veil. And since more of the damage is at the lower portions of the condenser it makes more sense that road debris is causing the damage.
Another reason for the damage would be driving too close to cars ahead
Another reason for the damage seen here would be driving too close to cars in front of them. However, wouldn’t debris making this kind of damage be doing likewise to the painted surfaces surrounding the vents? It should also be noted that while some are seeing this kind of damage many others with significantly more miles on them have seen virtually no damage.
Because this Corvette is in Texas the assumption is that Texas road debris is the culprit. Sorry Texans, but you know how your roads can be? The bottom line is this Corvette is not being used in an unusual manner, so this should not be happening.
Surely, during testing GM would have seen issues like this come up. However, with the exception of the mesh screen in front of the opening, there is no protection. Some aftermarket companies have begun selling stouter screens. But that raises concerns about restricting airflow.
GM told Motor1 that it is aware of this type of damage and that it is cosmetic and “doesn’t degrade the performance of the vehicle”. Just the same we would expect some sort of screen-like protection added to the fascia at some point this year. Cosmetic or not no new C8 owner wants to see damaged grilles.