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Of Wheels and Wings-Improving Your Car’s Aerodynamics

February 9, 2011 by - Automotive Editor

Aerodynamics

Aerodynamics is a term once considered exclusive to racing and sports cars. Yet, today we see many manufacturers are constantly trying to improve aerodynamics on their sedans or SUVs as well. Although, they know that these decent city cars would never have to drive past the speed where aerodynamics actually get to work, not unless driven by a drunk murder suspect. So, if it’s not about the speed, how else can aerodynamics enhance a car’s performance?  Is it just about the cool looks then? Not quite.

Tests have proven that aerodynamics not only help in increasing a car’s speed, they also help in improving its fuel-efficiency. A right aerodynamic body kit for your car can help in increasing road traction and reducing drag. There are many ways to improve your car’s aerodynamics. What works best depends from car to car. Many cars we see with spoilers and wings but they do not serve the right purpose. It is often noted that sometimes they can even produce an extra drag.

If you want to improve your car’s aerodynamic don’t just settle for these cool looking kits. You must first understand what helps in improving aerodynamics and how it is achieved. Later, you must assess if a certain part is helping your car in that aspect. Let’s take a look at what you must do in order to achieve better aerodynamics and better mileage.

Ground Clearance

Your vehicle must have a low ground clearance. This reduces the effective frontal area of the car which in turn lowers the drag. To achieve low ground clearance, you must lower your car to a certain height. The most suitable height changes from vehicle to vehicle.

Downward force

Spoilers can help in producing a downward force by creating a dam at the rear. Increased downward force helps in improving acceleration. Inverted wings also help in creating downward force. They offer improved stability and cornering speed.

Cleaning the underside

The air that piles up under the car causes drag. A body pan helps in clearing the underside of the car. Body pans can greatly improve mileage. However, they are quite expensive. Instead of body pans, you can also use air dams. They can also redirect the air from beneath the car.

Smoother front

A smooth front helps in better aerodynamics. Normally, the openings above the bumpers are just for looks. Yet, they can disrupt the air flow from the front. You must smooth down the bumper by covering such openings.

Wheels

Covering the wheels helps in improving fuel efficiency. This is because it helps in air transition around the wheels.  Instead of fancy chromed wheel plates, go for racing disks. Also, tires with low Rolling Resistance, RR, can greatly help in improving mileage.

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