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Spoiler Alert-Do Spoilers Really Make A Difference?

February 8, 2011 by - Automotive Editor

Accusations can be made about everyone and everything. One of the funniest we have ever heard in automobile industry was about spoilers. They say, it is called spoiler because it spoils your car’s performance. If that is true, what exactly was the need to invent such a thing? And why exactly is everyone spoiling their car’s performance these days? To answer these million dollar questions, we must first learn what spoilers actually are and what exactly their purpose is.

What do they spoil?

Before we start with technical details, you must first know that spoilers got their name from the fact that they ‘spoil’ the unfavorable air movement across the body of a car. They are devices that are designed to improve your car’s aerodynamics by reducing the drag. Originally they were seen only in sports cars but today they are quite common in street cars as well.

Most people also associate spoilers as that thing on the rear end. However, spoilers can also be installed in the front. The front spoiler is installed beneath the bumper. Together both front and rear spoilers work to,

  • Reduce drag
  • Increase Fuel Efficiency
  • Increase Aerodynamics
  • Improve Handling
  • Improve Road Grip

What’s with the shapes and sizes?

Okay, now there are quite a few shapes and sizes of spoilers we have seen. Technically speaking, such attributes such as angle, length and height do alter the magnitude of their aerodynamic effect. However it is also true that many ‘cosmetic spoilers’ used in street cars are just for looks. They won’t improve the performance. However, some of them can even make the aerodynamics worse.

Some people might also confuse spoilers with wings. Wings are different. Along with spoiling the unfavorable air movement, wings also create a downward force in order to improve aerodynamics.

Do they improve the overall performance?

Well, we have mentioned the benefits above, but there is a serious glitch. The spoilers, both rear and front may only work in very high speed. Normal city speed limits, even the highway speed limits are not high enough to feel any difference.  In fact some people argue that at lower speeds, a spoiler may add drag. However, we couldn’t find any technical explanation for that myth.

The point is, spoilers may be the essential for a race car’s aerodynamic kit, it is not a complete ’spoiler’ (literary) for a city car. It does add cool looks to your ride and that is why you are free to spend as much money on it as you wish to.

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