Initially designed as a racing car accessory, a spoiler can now be seen on a variety of passenger vehicles regardless of their performance capacity. So what’s actually a car spoiler? Is it any kind of utility or just a design cue? Let’s find it out.

Basically, a spoiler helps your vehicle better cut through the wind when you’re driving at high speeds. Varying in shape and mounting position, car spoilers have two main purposes. The first one is to reduce wind resistance by disrupting unfavorable aerodynamics. Moving at a high speed, your car faces air resistance and generates drag. While drag is not a problem at normal driving speeds, it can seriously affect the handling of the vehicle when you step on the gas. As a result, an enjoyable ride may turn into a nightmare. A spoiler can save the situation. Placed at the rear of a vehicle, it diffuses aerodynamics in such a way that the amount of drag generated by a flat surface at the vehicle’s back considerably abates. As a result, the speed increases while the vehicle gets more stable. Spoilers used to decrease drag are usually mounted closer to the body of the car. The slightly off-horizontal angle of a rear spoiler prevents some of the air from following the rear contour of the vehicle and creating a suction effect.

The second effect car spoilers can create is traction increase. There are several factors that determine the amount of traction a vehicle has: its weight, the kind of its tires and the type of surface. For most cars, especially when it comes to sports vehicles, less weight is better. The lighter a car is, the faster it will accelerate, but decreasing a car’s weight also results in reduced traction. Unless you want to learn how to fly your own car, you will need the spoiler to keep your ride literally down to earth. Spoilers that help press the back of the vehicle to the ground are known as wings. Thus, rear wing-shaped spoiler uses aerodynamics to generate downward force on the car’s body to increase friction and traction. Wings do not just disrupt existing aerodynamics, but they also create downforce as air passes around them. Unlike standard spoilers, wing-shaped extensions are mounted high up on a vehicle.

Traction can also be improved with the use of front spoilers, also known as air dams. In addition to directing aerodynamics, they also decrease the amount of air circulating underneath the vehicle thereby reducing aerodynamic lift.

Summing it all up, the intended function of spoilers is to increase the driving efficiency and provide stability of a vehicle in a high-speed motion. However, today many modern vehicles can be seen with this accessory due to the sporty look and feel it delivers. Decorative spoilers have little (sometimes even negative) aerodynamic efficiency, so if want your car to not just look sporty, but be so, think about replacing decorative factory spoilers with full-fledged devices. Anyway, remember that whether your gauge pointer often exceeds 100 mph or you simply love sporty vehicle design, you can find the right spoiler on