Installing car modifications is one of the most exciting things about car ownership. It allows owners to truly personalize their car and modify it the way they see fit, both in terms of aesthetics and performance.
There are a lot of modifications to choose from, but some of them can diminish the value and safety of a car. Aero parts are a rather popular upgrade among car performance enthusiasts. Manufacturers claim that these parts improve the aerodynamic characteristics of your car, and while this is true, it’s important to know how they work before we start shelling out money for parts.
A common misconception about aerodynamics is that it is meant to reduce drag at high speeds. Not all individual parts serve the same purpose, and pieces in a kit vary in function. For instance, aero parts such as trunk lid spoilers and front lip spoilers increase the drag in order to create downforce.
Downforce is important, because without it, there’s going to be an excess in lift force. While most average cars won’t go fast enough to lift off, more lift force also means less traction, as the tires aren’t going to grip the road as much. This is also the same principle behind why Formula 1 cars have really wide spoilers, both at the front and rear.
Downforce allows a car to travel faster by creating the vertical force on tires. This significantly improves traction as you travel at very high speeds. This also improves handling, which helps race cars handle tight corners. Other aero pieces like roof spoilers and spitters are meant to stabilize the car as drag and downforce rattle the car.
An added benefit in improving your car’s aerodynamics is that this also indirectly improves your car’s fuel economy. A reduction in drag means that there’s going to be less power needed to get your car moving.
Do All Aero Parts Achieve the Same Effect?
This is where variances happen. Your mileage may vary depending on the materials used to craft the aero parts you plan to buy. Aero kits are usually made of fiberglass, plastic, and carbon fiber. Some wings are even made of aluminum. While they all function the same, the effectiveness of aero parts depends on the parts they’re made of.
Carbon fiber aero parts, like these ones from Monaco Motorsports, offer the best balance over all because of how sturdy and lightweight they are. Other materials such as plastic, fiberglass, and aluminum are more affordable, but they aren’t as effective as parts made from carbon fiber. Some parts are even made from titanium, which is slowly replacing aluminum in the automotive industry.
Aero parts improve the aerodynamics of your car, and the degree to which they grant his effect depends on the materials they are made from. However, it’s important to note that aerodynamics only come into play at speeds of 50mph and above. The higher the speed, the greater the effect that the aero parts will have on your car.