The experts at Sportwing know car lovers and competitive racers are always looking for an advantage. Learn the difference between a rear spoiler and rear wing.
Spoilers are sometimes confused with wings. Unfortunately, the terms are often used interchangeably, which makes it even more confusing. Aftermarket spoilers are popular items for amateur racers and car lovers alike, and it's good to know what you're getting for your money.
A spoiler is an aerodynamic device designed to be installed on a vehicle. After the spoiler has been installed, it actually alters the aerodynamics of the car. Why is this important? The main purpose of a spoiler is to "spoil" unfavorable airflow as it passes across the body of the vehicle.
For passenger vehicles, a spoiler helps to reduce drag. By reducing drag, a spoiler can help increase the fuel efficiency of the car. These days, fuel efficiency is considered highly desirable and is a major selling point for many vehicles. The ability to increase fuel efficiency with a single addition to a car is obviously quite desirable, so spoilers are constantly in demand.
When placed on the front of a vehicle, a spoiler is sometimes called an air dam. In that location, it limits the amount of air that passes underneath the car. The result is a reduction of aerodynamic lift. In certain instance, lift can actually be dangerous. At high speeds, it may make a vehicle difficult to control. It could even cause a car to be more prone to flipping. The added stability and safety can be immensely valuable.
Some spoilers are used to imitate wings or airfoils, but these are mostly for cosmetic purposes. Many car lovers simply like the look of spoilers, so the spoiler isn't intended to serve any practical purpose. It's purely decorative. However, many rear spoilers are molded to match the body of the vehicle. They function as a point of transition and modify the area between the roof and trunk or rear of the vehicle. While they probably look quite aesthetically pleasing, these spoilers also help to minimize the turbulence located at the rear of the vehicle.
As opposed to a spoiler, a wing is actually used to increase drag. As such, the wing is an aerodynamic device that serves precisely the opposite function of a spoiler. Like a spoiler, in some cases the wing is used primarily for aesthetic purposes and meets no practical need.
Some wings are adjustable. The angle of the wing can be changed, and the result is an increase on the downward force located over the wheels. Regardless of whether or not it's adjustable, a wing still increases drag. In certain circumstances, this could be quite desirable.
If a car can be used to oversteer, it may receive benefit from the installation of a wing. This includes front-wheel drive vehicles. Perhaps the most common advantage is an increase in speed during turns. For rear-wheel cars, a wing may be installed to help boost speeds while turning, but generally at a sacrifice of top speeds. Depending upon the course, car, and conditions, this boost may or may not be worth the sacrifice.
Different wings, vehicles, and drive rains require different tuning in order to get the most out of a wing. As a general rule, the higher downward force on the wheels does aid in control and handling during high-speed turns. In a close race, it might make the difference between a win and a loss.
As you can see, a rear spoiler can certainly do more than simply look nice. To learn more, contact the professionals at Sportwing.