It’s not uncommon to see a car driving by with an attention-grabbing spoiler on the back. But are they just for show, or do they serve a purpose beyond aesthetics? That’s a fair question to ask.
Car spoilers improve a vehicle’s performance by reducing drag and increasing traction. These benefits also lead to improved fuel efficiency overall, potentially saving you money in the long run. All these performance benefits, plus obvious aesthetic reasons, make adding a spoiler a worthwhile car upgrade.
In this article, we’re going to explore what car spoilers do and whether or not they’re worth spending on. We’ll also briefly explore the differences between spoilers and wings, two terms that people often use interchangeably by mistake.
Let’s get started.
What Are Car Spoilers and Where Did They Get Their Name?
A car spoiler is a performance accessory that attaches to the exterior of the vehicle. Its purpose is to improve the vehicle's aerodynamics and increase its overall performance. Spoilers do this by manipulating the air that flows past the vehicle, creating downforce and eliminating drag.
Car spoilers are typically attached to the rear of a vehicle, but similar accessories can be used on the front of a car by the bumper to perform the same function. While performing the same function, accessories on the front are called air dams, or very rarely, front spoilers.
Spoilers got their name from their function, which is to 'spoil' any airflow around a moving car that doesn't work in the vehicle’s favour. That includes airflow that causes turbulence (unsteady or even violent air movement at high speeds) and drag (force generated by the air going in the opposite direction).
What Are the Benefits of Spoilers?
Spoilers aren’t just for show, as they offer a series of distinct benefits. Those benefits include:
As the car moves forward and the air flows towards it, it experiences a force from the opposite direction known as drag. That drag makes it more difficult for the engine to push the car forward, resulting in reduced speeds and overall performance. The faster the car goes, the higher that drag will be.
Adding spoilers to your vehicle will help reduce drag, improving airflow around the car as it speeds forward.
Spoilers also help the airflow so that it creates downforce, particularly for the rear wheels. In simpler terms, that means the airflow presses the car down, allowing the tyres to get a much better grip on the road.
Better grip means more traction, which improves speed and increases handling, especially around corners.
As mentioned before, car spoilers reduce drag and improve traction. These two benefits lead to improved fuel efficiency as well. That's because the car can propel forward with less force and, therefore, less fuel.
Vehicle spoilers enhance a car’s aesthetics, there’s no doubt about that. Whether or not you’re worried about drag and traction, spoilers provide an opportunity to show off your individuality. Plus, if you want it to look good, you’ll want it to somewhat match the designs and colours on the rest of the vehicle.
Do Spoilers Make a Vehicle Go Faster?
No, car spoilers do not make a vehicle go faster. They are static parts attached to the body of your car and do not produce any power on their own. Simply put, they don't make your car go faster, but they do improve its performance and handling.
Wing Vs Spoiler: What’s the Difference?
People tend to get quite confused when it comes to the 'wing vs spoiler' discussion and use both terms interchangeably. However, these parts differ in both looks and function.
A car spoiler is smaller overall and is designed to match the car's shape and design. It works by 'spoiling' undesirable airflow to increase overall fuel efficiency, reduce drag, and keep the car stable at high speeds. These benefits make it ideal for cars designed to achieve high speeds by going straight (instead of turning many corners).
On the other hand, a car wing is a much larger part that extends beyond the car body's width and sometimes even its height. Wings also redirect air to create downforce, but it does so for the entire vehicle. Unlike spoilers, wings do create more drag rather than reduce it.
For that reason, car wings are more often seen on high-performance race cars in autosports that involve lots of cornering. Because wings increase drag (unlike spoilers), they’re not ideal for achieving high speeds driving in a straight line.
Are Spoilers Worth It?
Yes, whether you value performance or aesthetics (or both), car spoilers are worthwhile customisation to have on your car.
If you’re after more performance, spoilers will reduce drag and improve traction on your vehicle. Plus, it’ll also increase fuel efficiency and save you money in the long run.
In terms of aesthetics, you can find spoilers in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Plus, you can also customise spoilers to fit your style and the rest of the vehicle.
Regardless of your priorities, spoilers are a straightforward modification to make on your car. Your preferred workshop could do it for you. Still, anyone who has even the littlest experience working on their car can also take it on as a moderately challenging DIY task.
To learn more about car spoilers and other vehicle upgrades, check out the blog at Carpart.com.au. There, you'll know more about accessories and how they can improve your vehicle. Plus, you can even do some shopping on the Marketplace for those parts or request for them so that we can help you search for reputable sellers. Send us a request now!
By Ray Hasbollah