Aftermarket parts provide car owners with a way to beef up their current cars and get a bit more for their money. With all sorts of modifications for cars out there, one seems to be a popular choice, but is it really a good one to pursue?
Spoilers aren’t just for race cars or muscle cars anymore. We can use them on almost any car available. What exactly does a spoiler do, and when should you use one? CarfromJapan.com explains how a spoiler functions.
What exactly is the purpose of a spoiler?
A spoiler is an aerodynamic device, installed on the rear end of a vehicle. Its main function is to “spoil” the air that flows up and over the car so it can reduce drag.
While a similar device, called the wing or airfoil, does the same thing, the two parts perform different functions. The wing will deflect the air upwards, which will then provide downforce on the back of the car. That will force the rear to grip the road easier without adding more weight to the vehicle.
A spoiler, however, breaks up the air and deflects it outward to another part of the car. This is what will eliminate any drag the wind would cause.
Another less important function is to provide an aesthetically pleasing look to the car. People have these installed to make others think that their car is more expensive, that it’s a high-performance vehicle, or it’s just a fast car when in reality it’s not.
Installing one just for looks is fine, but make sure you’re choosing one that will match your car, which will make it look like they made it that way. Getting one that’s too large or in a different tone of color will throw off the looks of the car, making it hard to sell should you decide to go that route in the future.
Using spoilers for performance
Technically, a spoiler works best when you drive the car on a highway or freeway at higher speeds. Since most people aren’t in those situations too often, spoilers may not gain you much in the way of performance.
However, they can be useful in a few other ways. Because a spoiler reduces drag and prevents lift on the rear of the car, fuel economy will get a small boost. You won’t see much of a boost, but every little bit counts.
If you decide to find a spoiler that will help with this, be sure to have someone who knows what they’re doing install it for you. Improperly installed spoilers may have the opposite effect and could decrease your fuel efficiency.
It can also improve the handling and control of your vehicle. By redirecting airflow away from the rear of the car and into a different area, the car will be a tad bit easier to control, making turns and curves slightly simpler to do.
Race cars use them for this reason because they can drive at much higher speeds and still stay in control of the car when making the turns. The spoiler is much more useful when the car travels at high speeds, so it will bring a racecar more benefit than your every day one.
Examples of how spoilers on cars can work
With all that said, there are some vehicles out there nowadays, that uses a spoiler to its advantage. Believe it or not, not all of them are super performance speedsters. One vehicle, as seen on Autobytel’s list, is the 2017 Toyota Prius.
The spoiler is aerodynamically designed to work with other components to provide one of the best fuel economy cars its class offers. Honda’s 2017 model of the Civic Si Coupe also has a spoiler on the rear. This one adds a little bit of speed, but it mostly adds to the looks.
The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R is another example of a car that can gain a little speed while maintaining its classic Mustang racer looks. Finally, there’s the Volkswagen Beetle, which not many people realize uses a spoiler. With the design of the Beetle, speed isn’t likely to be gained here. However, it can enhance fuel economy while giving a more sporty appeal.
Spoilers are beneficial to a vehicle’s performance, fuel efficiency, and its styling. Adding one to your car could not only give it that sporty look, but it might just increase your EPA rating by a tiny margin. As far as performance, however, unless you’re driving on the race track, a spoiler isn’t going to gain a whole lot of speed for you.