Do Spoilers Increase Friction

Do Spoilers Increase Friction? (In-depth Info on Aerodynamics)

Spoilers are mostly utilized in professional racing as safety features. They are less commonly utilized on vehicles that do not top posted road speeds. But, when they are utilized in these instances, they are considered more of an aftermarket modification to improve aesthetics. Whatever the case may be, it is crucial to know everything about these automobile accessories before having them installed on your vehicle.

Do spoilers increase friction? Spoilers are designed to add more downforce (pressure) to the rear-end of the vehicle. This process improves the acceleration, gain speed more quickly, and traction (grip), by forcing the vehicle’s tires down onto the pavement. So, when it comes to aerodynamics, spoilers do increase friction.

Spoilers are aftermarket automobile accessories that are available in a broad range of designs. To work properly, spoilers must be constructed of lightweight materials, such as ABS plastic, fiberglass, carbon fiber, and silicone. Most manufacturers will opt for ABS plastic or fiberglass but it is still not unusual to see spoilers made of silicone, and carbon fiber. When everything is broken down, it is all about economics and speedy production for most manufacturers.

What Are Spoilers?

Spoilers are available for both the front and rear of the vehicle. But, most applications call for the spoiler to be installed on the rear of the vehicle. The aftermarket front spoiler, also known as an “air dam”, is installed just below the front bumper. In professional racing, the front spoiler controls the air in front of the vehicle, resulting in more downforce or better drag. When utilized in passenger vehicles, front spoilers help direct airflow into the vehicle’s engine bay to aid in cooling and reducing drag.

The rear spoiler is specifically designed to increase the downforce on the vehicle’s rear-end, resulting in better traction and increased speeds in shorter distances. The best way to describe what a rear spoiler does is it prevents lift by stopping the airflow that travels down and around the vehicle’s rear-end. Spoilers are also installed on pickup truck cabs and beds to control airflow from the cab to the tailgate or from the cab to the cargo bed.

Before Investing

Before investing in any type of aftermarket spoiler, wing, side-splitter, or side skirt, it is crucial to do your homework. If you utilize your vehicle for professional racing, you need to know the regulations associated with these accessories. Professional racing organizations, such as Nascar and Formula1, have stiff regulations when it comes to aftermarket vehicle accessories to improve aerodynamics. In fact, some racing organizations do not permit teams to utilize one or more of these components. Knowing in advance will prevent unnecessary expenses and a lot of grief later on down the road.

Rear Wing Versus Rear Spoiler

Many people are confused with the rear spoiler and rear wing. While these two automotive accessories may appear similar, they are very different. The functions of the rear spoiler are provided in the article above. But again, the spoiler is designed to increase drag. The rear wing, on the other hand, decreases lift while increasing drag. Most experts describe the rear wing as “an upside-down wing of an airplane”. This design controls the airflow at the top of the wing, forcing it down toward the rear-end of the vehicle. This process causes more downforce on the vehicle’s wheels, resulting in better traction. Unfortunately, this leads to more drag and wind resistance.

Ford Mustang with a rear wing

Front Spoiler Versus Front Splitter

It isn’t unusual for newer passenger vehicles to have a front splitter. Many manufacturers will opt to utilize the front splitter because it increases downforce at the front of the vehicle. In most cases, the front splitter has an aesthetically-pleasing design. So, it is not going to stick out like a sore thumb. When the vehicle does not have front spoilers, it will most likely have front splitters, which can be found along the bottom of the front bumper. To give the front splitters more stability, manufacturers will install metal rods between the bumper and splitter. Most front splitters are constructed of carbon fiber or another lightweight, durable material.

Side Skirts

Side skirts are also utilized in vehicles to improve aerodynamics. The side skirt is utilized to control the air traveling underneath the area between the rear and front wheels. Side skirts can also be utilized for aesthetics as well. This is especially the case for aftermarket brands because they give the impression that the bottom of the vehicle is closer to the pavement.

Experts recommend side skirts not just because of aesthetics but also because of improved fuel mileage and better stability at high speeds.

Pros Of Car Spoilers

Ultimately, there are many pros and cons associated with car spoilers. The pros will usually outweigh the cons but it is best to know about both before moving forward. Below, you will learn more about the pros of car spoilers.

Reduces Lift

First and foremost, you should know that a car spoiler is going to reduce the lift. Even better is the fact that it is going to achieve this purpose without adding too much weight to the vehicle. What does this mean? Well, the spoiler will ensure that your vehicle is able to remain stable at higher speeds. If you have a spoiler on your vehicle, your car is going to be much easier to control at faster speeds.

Improved Appearance

Another thing to note is that spoilers can add more flare to your vehicle. As long as you get one that matches your vehicle’s exterior, it’ll look much cooler. The only problem is that it can be tough to find matching accessories. Still, there is something cool about a rear spoiler.

Reduces Weight

The spoiler is not going to reduce the weight of the vehicle. However, it isn’t going to add much weight either. These accessories are made with the lightest materials. This means that you’ll be able to boost your vehicle’s performance without adding too much weight to the vehicle. On top of that, the spoiler will improve the downforce and that can simulate the weight being reduced.

Increases Visibility

You’ll also like the fact that the spoiler can increase the visibility of your vehicle. You do not want to get rear-ended. Well, you won’t have to worry about it when you add a spoiler to your vehicle. People will spot the spoiler and see your car from a further distance. In return, you’ll be much less likely to get hit in the rear.

Reduced Drag

Finally, the rear spoiler is capable of reducing drag. This will save you a lot of money since it is going to enhance your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. You may not notice the difference when you’re behind the wheel. However, you’ll find out when you have more money in your pocket at the end of the month.

Spoiler Cons

Spoilers have a few cons that should be noted. One of the most notable is the cost. They’re not the most expensive modification but they’re still doing to take a chunk out of your bank account. Another thing to note is that the installation process can be difficult. If you do not get it right, your spoiler is going to look horrible and everyone will notice. Another bad thing about spoilers is their durability. Sadly, they can be damaged very easily.

Even the most durable spoilers can be broken without much effort. Some spoilers do not look great either. They will not match your vehicle or they might be ugly. You have to take extra care to ensure you get a spoiler that is going to match your vehicle’s exterior design. Otherwise, it will make your vehicle look goofy and odd.

Installation Types

One thing to note is that there are many types of spoilers. The biggest difference between them is the installation procedure. Some spoilers are going to be attached to the vehicle using adhesive. Others will be attached using bolts. Below, you will learn more about both.


First and foremost, you have the adhesive spoilers. To install this type, you will need some alcohol, rags, a tape measure, masking tape, and some caulk. It is best to wait until the temperatures are 72 or higher. This will ensure that the adhesive tape is most effective. Before getting started, you’ll need to take the alcohol and clean your trunk lid.

The adhesive will not stick if dirt or grease is left behind. Make sure that the lid is completely cleaned and dried before moving forward. It is best to add a little silicone adhesive to the spoiler. While the adhesive tape is going to help, it may not be enough on its own. Therefore, you should use a little silicone too. Spread some on the bottom of the spoiler.

Getting the position right is pertinent. For the best results, you should take the tape measure and mark each side of the truck. This will ensure that you’re able to get everything even. After that, it is time to remove the protective tape and install the spoiler. Take your time and make sure that the position is perfect.

Silicone Adhesive


Installing a bolt-on spoiler is slightly more difficult. To get it done, you’ll need a power drill and a few drill bits. You’re also going to need some hand tools, masking tape, a file, and a primer. Some of these spoilers will also use adhesive. For the types that do not, you’ll want to start by opening the trunk and removing the liner. Close the lid and grab a sheet or blanket. Place the sheet on top of the trunk lid and flip the spoiler upside down.

Now, you need to use the strips to find out where the mounting holes need to be drilled. Be careful and take your time. Once you’ve done that, you should use paint-safe tape to make your spots. Use the tape to secure the marker strips to the car. Now, you’ll be able to remove the spoiler and the strips will remain behind. This will give you the ability to drill the holes in the correct spots without any trouble.

After that, you may need to use a file to smooth the edges. You can use a primer or silicone sealer to protect the holes from rust. Finally, it is time to install the spoiler. Grab it and position it onto the trunk. Hold the spoiler down while opening the trunk and securing the bolts. You’re almost finished. You may want to use a vacuum to clean the trunk’s interior.

Bolts, More Difficult but worth it


Do spoilers increase friction? The goal of the spoiler is to create more downforce for the rear wheels. This is why spoilers are used for race cars. The spoiler ensures that the vehicle’s back wheels are able to have better acceleration and traction. If you’re dealing with a front-wheel drive, there is a good chance that the spoiler isn’t going to help much. Therefore, this is a good modification for rear-wheel vehicles but not front-wheel vehicles.

Related Questions

How Much Will You Pay For A Vehicle Spoiler?

One of the best things about vehicle spoilers is the fact that they’re inexpensive. This is one of the cheapest modifications you can add to your vehicle. On average, you’ll pay a few hundred bucks for the spoiler. You may be required to pay someone to install it for you. It depends on the type of spoiler you buy and your experience level. If you’ve been working on the vehicle your entire life, you won’t have any trouble installing the spoiler. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay a mechanic or friend to do it for you.

How Are Spoilers Attached?

Ultimately, there are many different types. Therefore, the attachment system will depend on the type of spoiler you’re working with. Some will require you to drill a hole into your trunk. Then, you’ll need to bolt the spoiler to the vehicle. Others use adhesive. The adhesive is easier but you have to be concerned about its longevity. It is best to go with the bolt-on spoilers but they’ll be a little more difficult to install. Either way, both types can last for many years.