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How Easy Is It To Install a Spoiler Myself?

Many of our spoilers are considered DIY installations, requiring few tools. Here, we cover installation steps for both drill and no-drill spoilers.
Rear Spoiler

Rear spoilers are one of the flashiest (yet most cost-effective) exterior additions you can install on your ride. The right spoiler will transform a plain-Jane family car into a sports sedan, and upgrade a sporty car into a one-of-a-kind race machine.

The vast majority of spoilers we sell are designed to be installed without difficulty. By all means, if the idea of permanently mounting a body part to your new $35,000 barge gives you the shakes, then there’s no shame in hiring a professional to put it on. But even if you don't work on your car with any regularity, we encourage you to read through this article and give consideration to doing the installation yourself.

Most likely, the biggest decision (aside from spoiler design) will be whether to get a "no drill" or "drilling required" piece. The "no drill" spoilers are installed using automotive-grade adhesive tape. Cleanliness is of utmost importance to ensure the item will remain securely in place. (Most flush-mounted or "lip" spoilers mount with adhesive.)

If drilling doesn't scare you away, then the "bolt on" spoilers will remain within your consideration. (Please know that almost any spoiler which sits on pedestals, several inches above the trunk lid, will require drilling.)

A final note before we get specific: the instructions below are general in nature, and are designed to increase your comfort level with doing the job on your own. Always defer to the instructions included with your specific spoiler.

No-Drill Spoilers That Attach Using Adhesive

Tools And Supplies Needed:

1. For best results, installation with adhesive tape should be done in temperatures of 72 F or above.

2. Make sure the trunk lid is clean; wash with soap and water, dry the area, then use isopropyl alcohol or "paint prep" (available in auto parts stores) to remove any grease, wax, etc., not removed during washing.

Trunk Lid Cleaning

3. If the spoiler was shipped without the adhesive tape installed onto it, put it into place now. BUT leave the sticky part covered by its protective tape.

4. Note that some spoiler manufacturers recommend the addition of silicone adhesive in addition to the tape.

Silicon Sealant Usage

5. Position the spoiler in place on the trunk. Take your time to ensure that it's in its proper place. Use a tape measure to check that left and right sides are even. When you are 100% certain of its location, use masking tape on the trunk lid as a location guide.

(You are NOT taping the spoiler down, just placing the tape in such a way that you can remove the spoiler and put it back in exactly the same spot.)

Tape Measuring Of Spoiler Position

6. Peel back about 1 inch of the protective tape from the spoiler. If the adhesive tape is in more than one piece, be sure to pull back about 1 inch from each piece.

7. Relocate the spoiler onto the trunk lid, using the masking tape you put down earlier as a guide. Do not press down too firmly yet. With the spoiler in place, continue to pull on and remove the protective tape. Do not disturb the location of the spoiler.

Adhesive Strips

8. Once all the protective tape is removed, apply even pressure all around the spoiler, making sure that the adhesive tape is pressed against the body panel. Remove the masking tape you put down as a guide.

Spoiler Fitting

9. Most spoiler manufacturers recommend that the vehicle remain undisturbed (do not wash, wax, or drive) for 12 hours, to give the adhesive a chance to set.

Bolt-On Spoilers That Require Drilling

Tools And Supplies Needed:

Bolt-on spoilers require drilling through your trunk lid. Some of them combine bolts with the use of adhesive tape. In those cases, be sure to read through the section above regarding installation with adhesives.

The following steps are for a bolt-on spoiler which does not use adhesive tape:

1. Open the trunk to see if there is a trunk liner installed on the underside. If there is, remove it.

Trunk Liner Removal

2. Turn the spoiler upside down (do NOT do this on your trunk lid! Place the spoiler on a large towel or blanket) and place the included "locater strips" over the spoiler mounting holes. The strips should be placed perpendicular to the spoiler, so that the ends of the strips hang out over the edge of the spoiler. If necessary, use small amounts of tape to hold these strips in place.

Locater Strips

3. Position the spoiler in place on the trunk. Take your time to ensure that it's in its proper place. Use a tape measure to check that left and right sides are even. When you are 100% certain of its location, use masking tape on the trunk lid as a location guide.

(You are NOT taping the spoiler down, just placing the tape in such a way that you can remove the spoiler and put it back in exactly the same spot.)

Taping Down Locater Strips Onto Trunk

4. Using paint-safe tape, such as blue or green masking tape, tape down the locater strips onto your car's trunk. The concept is that you will be lifting the spoiler UP, leaving these strips in place, so use enough tape to ensure that these strips will not move.

5. Lift the spoiler up in such a way that you do not disturb the locations of the locater strips. If they inadvertently move, start the process again.

6. Drill the holes in the locations as indicated by the strips. Follow your specific spoiler instructions for the correct size drill bit to use. Vehicles with "double panel" trunk lids will require you to drill through both panels. In some cases, you may need to drill a larger hole from the underside to accommodate a washer and nut. Use a drill stop so that you do not drill through the outer sheet metal.

Drilling Holes In Locations Indicated By Strips
Spoiler Inner Mounting

7. Use a small, fine file to deburr the holes you just drilled. Depending on the design of your trunk lid, use either primer, touch-up paint, or silicone sealer to help prevent water ingress and rust in these areas.

Spoiler Fastening

8. Re-position the spoiler onto the trunk lid, and fasten it in place using the supplied hardware from the spoiler manufacturer.

9. Vacuum any metal from the drilling/filing, reinstall the inner liner if so equipped, and clean the area of any tape or fingerprints.

If Your Spoiler Has Built-In Brake Lights

Spoiler With Built In 3rd Brake Light

Many spoilers feature a built-in 3rd brake light which illuminates in synch with your vehicle's other brake lights. If this is the style you have, be aware that during installation, you may need to drill an additional hole to accommodate the brake light wire. (Some spoilers allow you to route the wire through one of the mounting holes.) Once the wire is routed into the trunk, find the existing brake wiring and splice into it to complete the installation.

CARiD Technical Articles

See, that wasn't so bad, was it? (OK, you've only read through the instructions, you have not actually performed the installation yet.) Seriously, we hope that these outlines help you decide whether this is a job you're willing to tackle or not, and we further hope the answer to that is 'yes'!

If you’re still in the process of deciding which spoiler to get, be sure to check out our related articles What Kind of Spoiler Is Right For You? and Why Should I Order My Spoiler Already Painted? for helpful perspective, and to see some specific spoiler products we recommend.

Whatever your decision, we’re confident you’ll love the flashy looks on your ride once that spoiler is in place!

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