If you’ve purchased a car you must have been provided with an option by the dealership to attach a spoiler on your car. No matter what car it is they’ll ask you to get a spoiler fixed. Do you really need it or is it just another way to earn some cash out of you? Read below and find out how spoilers work.
Before we get into spoilers we need to see what downforce is. It is an aerodynamic force. When you are driving a fast car the aerodynamics of the car creates something called a lift. The lift wants to lift your car up from the rear which is definitely not a good thing. This lift is generated at super high speeds so most passenger cars won’t experience them at all. Downforce is the complete opposite of a lift force. The job of the downforce is to keep the rear sticking to the ground.
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The advantage of downforce is that it allows fast cars to corner better. The downforce, however, has a negative effect. Downforce is something that pushes the car down and thus it increases the drag on the car. This drag can reduce the speed of the car. That’s why spoilers and wings need to be made with utmost calculations if they are made for a sports car or a racing car as even a single unit of speed can win or lose the race.
People usually call both wings and spoilers the same thing but it’s incorrect. They both have different jobs and different uses. The job of the wing is to create downforce. This downforce allows the car to stay on the ground while cornering and travelling at really fast speeds. Wings are mostly used in high-speed cars. There are other ways to do the job a wing does but using a wing is more efficient and faster.
Wing works by manipulating the air going through it. When air passes through a wing it creates two pressure zones, high pressure on top of the wing and low pressure on the bottom(refer to the image in the downforce section). The high-pressure air is what creates the downforce. This all sounds easy enough but it needs to be made almost perfectly as to not have any unnecessary drag on the car. That covers wings and how they create downforce.
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The spoilers job is to prevent or reduce lift. The lift as we have seen in downforce is the aerodynamic force that wants to lift your car upwards. The spoilers ‘spoil’ the aerodynamic motion and thus switch the high pressure and low-pressure zones. The high pressure which was supposed to lift your car up is now switched and harmlessly moves away from the car. The spoilers do not give your car any extra power. You can increase the weight of the car to prevent lift but this can’t be done for fast cars as increased weight means bad cornering due to more inertia the car has to fight.
Does My Car Need A Spoiler?
Unless you drive cars that are super fast you don’t need a spoiler. Spoilers at low speed do nothing at all and only work at quite high speed. You can start seeing the effects of the spoiler at over 100 kmph and you need to be consistently above this speed to see any difference. Not driving at this speed or above just hampers the aerodynamics of your car if rear spoilers are used and thus are almost useless. So if you are asked if you want to use spoilers on a car you know you won’t be driving at upwards of 100 km/h consistently just say, no thanks.