You are on page 1of 6

Spoiler (car)

A spoiler is an automotive aerodynamic device whose intended

design function is to 'spoil' unfavorable air movement across a body
of a vehicle in motion, usually described as turbulence or drag.
Spoilers on the front of a vehicle are often called air dams. Spoilers
are often fitted to race and high-performance sports cars, although
they have become common on passenger vehicles as well. Some
spoilers are added to cars primarily for styling purposes and have The Plymouth Superbird is famous for its high
either little aerodynamic benefit or even make the aerodynamics factory rear wing

The term "spoiler" is often mistakenly used interchangeably with "wing". An

automotive wing is a device whose intended design is to generate downforce as air
passes around it, not simply disrupt existing airflow patterns.[1][2] As such, rather
than decreasing drag, automotive wings actually increase drag.

1987 Audi Sport Quattro S1 with
special racing wings and thePikes
In racing cars Peak International Hill Climblivery, in
Passenger vehicles the Goodwood Festival of Speed
Material types
Other common spoiler types
Active spoilers
Other vehicles
Whale tail
Other vehicles
See also

Since spoiler is a term describing an application, the operation of a spoiler varies depending on the particular effect it's trying to spoil.
Most common spoiler functions include disrupting some type of airflow passing over and around a moving vehicle. A common
spoiler diffuses air by increasing amounts of turbulence flowing over the shape, "spoiling" the laminar flow and providing a cushion
for the laminar boundary layer. However, other types of airflow may require the spoiler to operate differently and take on vastly
different physical characteristics.

In racing cars
While a mass is travelling at increasing speeds, the air of the environment affects its
movement. Spoilers in racing are used in combination with other features on the
body or chassis of race cars to change the handling characteristics that are affected
by the air of the environment.

Often, these devices are designed to be highly adjustable to suit the needs of racing
on a given track or to suit the talents of a particular driver, with the overall goal of
reaching faster times.

Retractable spoiler on aChrysler

Passenger vehicles Crossfire
The goal of many spoilers used in passenger vehicles is to reduce drag and increase
fuel efficiency.[3] Passenger vehicles can be equipped with front and rear spoilers.
Front spoilers, found beneath the bumper, are mainly used to decrease the amount of
air going underneath the vehicle to reduce thedrag coefficient and lift.

Sports cars are most commonly seen with front and rear spoilers. Even though these
vehicles typically have a more rigid chassis and a stiffer suspension to aid in high
speed maneuverability, a spoiler can still be beneficial. This is because many
vehicles have a fairly steep downward angle going from the rear edge of the roof Toyota MR2 with a factory-installed
down to the trunk or tail of the car which may cause air flow separation. The flow of rear spoiler
air becomes turbulent and a low-pressure zone is created, increasing drag and
instability (see Bernoulli effect). Adding a rear spoiler could be considered to make
the air "see" a longer, gentler slope from the roof to the spoiler, which helps to delay flow separation and the higher pressure in front
of the spoiler can help reduce the lift on the car by creating downforce. This may reduce drag in certain instances and will generally
increase high speed stability due to the reduced rear lift.

Due to their association with racing, spoilers are often viewed as "sporty" by consumers. However, "the spoilers that feature on more
upmarket models rarely provide further aerodynamic benefit."

Material types
Spoilers are usually made of lightweight polymer
-based materials, including:

ABS plastic: Most original equipment manufacturersproduce spoilers by

casting ABS plastic with various admixtures, typically granular fillers,
which introduce stiffness to this inexpensive material. Frailness is a
main disadvantage of plastic, which increases with product age and is
caused by the evaporation of volatilephenols.
Fiberglass: Used in car parts production due to the low cost of the
materials. Fiberglass spoilers consist offiberglass cloth infiltrated with a
thermosetting resin, such asepoxy. Fiberglass is sufficiently durable
and workable, but has become unprofitable for large-scale production BMW E92 M3 Coupé with rear
because of the labor involved. spoiler (black) made ofCarbon fiber
Silicon: More recently, many auto accessory manufacturers are using
silicon-organic polymers. The main benefit of this material is its
phenomenal plasticity. Silicon possesses extra high thermal characteristics and provides a longer product lifetime.
Carbon fiber: Carbon fiber is lightweight and durable but also expensive. Due to the large amount of manual labor,
large-scale production cannot widely use carbon fiber in automobile parts currently

Other common spoiler types

Front spoilers: A front spoiler (air dam) is positioned under or integrated with the front
bumper. In racing, this spoiler
is used to control the dynamics of handling related to the air in front of the vehicle. This can be to improve the drag
coefficient of the body of the vehicle at speed, or to generate downforce. In passenger vehicles, the focus shifts
more to directing the airflow into the engine bay for cooling purposes.
Pickup Truck bed spoiler: This attaches only to the top of the truckbed rails near the rear. Used with a bed cover,
this spoiler is intended to reduce the air profile of the steep drop-of
f from the tailgate.
Pickup truck cab spoiler: This is purposed the same as above, except focusing on the drop-of f from the cab of the
truck to the cargo bed.

Active spoilers
An active spoiler is one which dynamically adjusts while the vehicle is in operation based on conditions presented, changing the
spoiling effect, intensity or other performance attribute. Found most often on sports cars and other passenger cars, the most common
form is a rear spoiler which retracts and hides partially or entirely into the rear of the vehicle, then extends upwards when the vehicle
exceeds a specific speed.Active front spoilers have been implemented on certain models as well, in which the front spoiler or air dam
extends further towards the road below to reduce drag at high speed. In most cases the deployment of the spoiler is achieved with an
electric motor controlled automatically by the onboard computer or other electronics, usually based on vehicle speed, driver setting or
other inputs. Often the driver can manually deploy the spoiler if desired, but may not be able to retract the spoiler above a certain
speed because doing so could dangerously diminish the high-speed handling qualities of the vehicle.

Active spoilers can offer additional benefits over fixed spoilers. Cosmetically, they can allow a cleaner or less cluttered appearance
when the vehicle is parked or traveling at low speeds, when it is most likely to be observed. A spoiler which hides may be appealing
to vehicle designers who are seeking to improve the high-speed aerodynamics of an iconic or recognizable model (for example the
Porsche 911 or Audi TT), without drastically changing its appearance. Hiding a spoiler at low speeds can improve aerodynamics as
well. At low speeds a fixed spoiler may actually increase drag, but does little to improve the handling of the vehicle due to having
little airflow over it. A retractable front spoiler can reduce scraping of the car on curbs or other road imperfections, while still
improving drag at high speeds.

Other vehicles
Heavy trucks, like long haul tractors, may also have a spoiler on the top of the cab in order to lessen drag caused from air resistance
from the trailer it's towing, which may be taller than the cab and reduce the aerodynamics of the vehicle dramatically without the use
of this spoiler. The trailers they pull can also be fitted with under-side spoilers that angle outward to deflect passing air away from the
rear axle's wheels.

Trains may use spoilers to induce drag (like an air brake). A prototypeJapanese high-speed train, the Fastech 360 is designed to reach
speeds of 400 kilometres per hour (250 mph). Its nose is specifically designed to spoil a wind effect associated with passing through
tunnels, and it can deploy 'ears' which act to slow the train in case of emer
gency by increasing its drag.

Some modern race cars employ a passive situational spoiler called a roof flap. The body of the car is designed to generate downforce
while driving forward. These roof flaps deploy when the body of the car is rotated so it is traveling in reverse, a condition where the
body instead generates lift. The roof flaps deploy because they are recessed into a pocket in the roof. The low pressure above this
pocket will cause the flaps to deploy, and counteract some of the lift generated by the car, making it more resistant to coming out of
contact with the ground. These devices were introduced in 1994 inNASCAR following Rusty Wallace's crash at Talladega.[5]

Whale tail
When the Porsche 911 Turbo debuted in August 1974, with large, flared, rear spoilers, they were immediately dubbed whale
tails.[6][7][8] Designed to reduce rear-end lift and so keep the car from oversteering at high speeds,[9] the rubber edges of the whale
tail spoilers were thought to be "pedestrian friendly".[10] The Turbo with its whale tail was popular.[11] It also became one of the
world's most recognizable sports cars,[12] remaining in production for the next two decades in one form or another, with more than
23,000 sold by 1989, although from 1978, the rear spoiler was redesigned and dubbed 'teatray' on account of its raised sides.[13] The
Porsche 911 whale tails were used in conjunction with a chin spoiler attached to the front valence panel, which, according to some
sources, did not enhance aerodynamic stability.[14] It has been found to be less effective in multiplying downforce than newer

technologies like an airfoil,[15] "rear wing running across the base of the tailgate
window",[16] or "an electronically controlled wing that deploys at about 50
mph".[17] (80 km/h).

The whale tail came on the heels of the 1973 "duck tail" or Bürzel in German (as a
part of the E-program), a smaller and less flared rear-spoiler fitted to 911 Carrera RS
Original whale tail as introduced on
(meaning Rennsport or race sport in German), optional outside Germany.[6][8] The
the 1975 3.0 litre Porsche 930 turbo
whaletail was originally designed for Porsche 930 and Porsche 935 race cars in
1973, and introduced to the Turbo in 1974 (as a part of the H-program); it was also
an option on non-turbo Carreras from 1975.[18][19] Both types of spoilers were
designed while Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann was serving as the Technical Director of Porsche
AG.[20] In 1976, a rubber front chin spoiler was also introduced to offset the more
effective spoiler.[7] By 1978, Porsche introduced another design for the rear spoiler,
the "teatray", a boxier enclosure which accommodated the intercooler, and was also
an option for the 911SC.[6][21]

Other vehicles
Duck tail on a 1973 Porsche 911
These whale tail car spoilers of the Porsche 911 caught on as a fashion statement,[22] Carrera RS
and the term has been used to refer to large rear spoilers on a number of
automobiles, including Ford Sierra RS,[23] Focus,[24] Chevrolet Camaro,[25] and
Saab 900.[26] Whale tail spoilers also appear at the rear oftricycles,[27] trucks,[28] boats,[29] and other vehicles.


This Ford Sierra RS Mitsubishi Lancer Mercedes CLK GTR Porsche 996 GT3
Cosworth has a factory- Evolution spoiler
installed rear spoiler

Retractable Spoiler on a NASCAR Dodge Charger

Bugatti Veyron
See also
Car tailfin
Gurney flap

1. Katz, Joseph. Race Car Aerodynamics. Bentley Robert. p. 99.ISBN 0837601428.
2. Katz, Joseph. Race Car Aerodynamics. Bentley Robert. pp. 208–209.ISBN 0837601428.
3. "Why a Spoiler for Your Car?: Fuel Economy, Styling, Value Enhancement" (
70649/ Archived fromthe original (http://www.card on 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
4. Happian-Smith, Julian (2000).Introduction to Modern Vehicle Design (
c+benefit). Elsevier. p. 116. ISBN 9780080523040. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
5. "Jayski's Silly Season Site - Past News Page"( 2005. Retrieved
6. Dempsey, Wayne R. (2001). 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911 (
&pg=PA198&lpg=PA198&dq=spoiler+whale+tail&source=web&ots=11LHhnoA8p&sig=hvX jGHcdKNxnymwrWlj5-gUr
_qc). MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 198.ISBN 0-7603-0853-5.
7. Anderson, Bruce (1997).Porsche 911 Performance Handbook. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 16.ISBN 0-7603-
8. Morgan, Peter; Colley, John; Hughes, Mark (1998). Original Porsche 911: The Guide to All Production Models, 1963-
98. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. pp. 144–160.ISBN 1-901432-16-5.
9. Lewis, Albert L.; Musciano, Walter A. (1977). Automobiles of the World. Simon and Schuster. p. 660. ISBN 0-671-
10. Paternie, Patrick (2005).Porsche 911 Red Book 1965-2005: 1965-2005
. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 45.ISBN 0-
11. Faragher, Scott (2005). Porsche the Ultimate Guide. Krause Publications. p. 50.ISBN 0-87349-720-1.
12. Paternie, Patrick (2005).Porsche 911 Red Book 1965-2005: 1965-2005
. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. reface.
ISBN 0-7603-1960-X.
13. Anderson, Bruce (1997).Porsche 911 Performance Handbook. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 16.ISBN 0-7603-
14. Dempsey, Wayne R. (2001). 101 Projects for Your Porsche 911: 1964-1989. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 200.
ISBN 0-7603-0853-5.
15. Post, Robert C. (2001).High Performance: The Culture and T
echnology of Drag Racing, 1950-2000. JHU Press.
p. 229. ISBN 0-8018-6664-2.
16. Sturmey, Henry; Staner, H. Walter (1986). The Autocar. Iliffe, Sons & Sturmey. p. 6.
17. (2006). BusinessWeek European Edition: 86.EBSCO Publishing
18. Batchelor, Dean; Leffingwell, Randy (1997).Illustrated Porsche Buyer's Guide. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 84.
ISBN 0-7603-0227-8.
19. Faragher, Scott (2005). Porsche the Ultimate Guide. Krause Publications. p. 49.ISBN 0-87349-720-1.
20. Leffingwell, Randy (2002).Porsche Legends. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 144.ISBN 0-7603-1364-4.
21. Faragher, Scott (2005). Porsche the Ultimate Guide. Krause Publications. p. 52.ISBN 0-87349-720-1.
22. O'Rourke, P.J. (2000). Holidays in Hell. Grove Press. p. 207.ISBN 0-8021-3701-6.
23. Robson, Graham (2001).The Illustrated Directory of Classic Cars. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing. p. 228.ISBN 0-
24. "Car Style First Products used on this Ford Focus"(
b129143cad628ca37b951df4f4). This month's featured car. Car Styling. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
25. "Rear spoilers" ( Showcars Bodyparts. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
26. "Classic Saab Whale Tail restoration" ( (PDF). Saab
Commemorative Edition Website. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
27. "Hannigan Trikes" ( Retrieved
28. "Universal Whale Tail Truck Spoilers" (
e-1538.html). Archived fromthe original ( 2008-09-07.
Retrieved 2008-07-26.
29. Perry, Bob. "Classic Swan" (
e/classic-swan). Dominion Enterprises. Archived fromthe original (
rticle/classic-swan) on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-07-26.

Retrieved from "


This page was last edited on 22 July 2018, at 15:01(UTC).

Text is available under theCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License ; additional terms may apply. By using this
site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of theWikimedia
Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.