What Does a Spoiler Do and Should You Get One?

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Nissan Skyline with a large spoiler/Image Credit: Erik Mclean from Pexels

There’s no doubt about the fact that a car spoiler can add some style to your ride, making you and your vehicle stand out in a crowd. But spoilers do more than just look cool; they also impact drivability, fuel efficiency, and road noise. Here’s what you need to know about the function of a spoiler and whether you should add one to your vehicle.

To Spoil or Not to Spoil: What Does a Spoiler Do and Should You Get One?

A spoiler goes by many different names: wing, fin, pedestal, lip, but a spoiler is more than just a decorative accent. Spoilers come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. They can be attached to the front or back of a vehicle, but the most common is the vehicle’s back. Based on the type, where they attach, and their primary purpose, spoilers go by different names.

Some are small, some are large, some attach to the front, others attach to the sides or top of the car, but typically, they extend across the width of the entire car and are mounted on the back above the trunk. They are typically seen on racing vehicles, which is why many people choose to add them to their vehicles to give them that extra edge and show-stopping appearance. However, spoilers aren’t limited to race cars. You can add them to virtually any vehicle.

What It Does

Forget the fact that a spoiler can make your car stand out and give it that extra edge. It can also improve the function of your vehicle, which is the primary reason why informed drivers choose to put them on their cars. A spoiler is designed to” “spoil” the air, which in the end makes your vehicle operate better, grip the road harder, and take turns easier.

A spoiler uses downward force to interrupt airflow and improve the overall aerodynamics of the vehicle. As you drive, the air flowing underneath the vehicle is trying to push it up into the air. This effect is called “lift”. A spoiler is designed to function like an upside-down airplane wing. Instead of creating lift, a spoiler is creating downforce to keep the vehicle stuck to the road. When working properly, this means better traction, less overall drag on the vehicle, and less turbulent air swooshing around to make noise.

Cars With Spoilers vs. Cars Without Spoilers

As fuel economy standards increasingly become more stringent, the pressure is already on automakers to make the vehicles they design as aerodynamic as possible. Any vehicle you buy will have been designed with aerodynamics in mind. Of course, they take other factors into account as well: weight, style, function, etc. But the thing to note is that when you add your own aftermarket spoiler to your car, you change the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle in ways the designers didn’t anticipate. That may improve performance, but it could also have the opposite effect.

Spoilers are most effective when they’re designed for the specific vehicle they’ll be attached to. It’s also worth noting that adding anything to your vehicle will increase its weight. The more weight you’re carrying, the more effort it takes to move that weight around. Particularly at low speeds, the weight you added may hinder performance more than the aerodynamics actually help. Your best bet is to find an aero package designed for your specific vehicle if the goal is to improve performance. You may even find that there are better ways to improve your vehicle’s performance altogether.

Should I Add a Spoiler to My Vehicle?

Whether or not you should attach a spoiler to your vehicle depends entirely on your end goal. If the goal is to improve performance a spoiler can help – but only if you’ll be driving the vehicle at higher speeds and you take care to ensure the spoiler fits the aerodynamic profile of that specific car. If we’re just talking about your daily driver, a spoiler probably won’t improve handling or fuel efficiency. But the good news is that it’s not likely to have a huge negative impact either.

That brings us to the second consideration: what if you just want your vehicle to look faster and cooler? In this case, absolutely! Aesthetics matter. For many drivers, a vehicle is an extension of ourselves. Whether you’re adding underglow to channel your inner Brian O’Conner or you’re fixing a new spoiler to your ride to make it look more track worthy – there’s no wrong way to express yourself! (Well, maybe there are a few wrong answers.)

So, if you want to add a spoiler to your ride, we say go for it! Just make sure that it’s installed properly by someone who knows what they’re doing. And if a spoiler isn’t enough to make your current vehicle everything you want it to be, you can find a new one in just a few minutes! Everyone deserves to live their best life and drive their BestRide.