In the world of body kits, Spoilers, Wings (yes, there’s a difference!) and side panels, there’s a ton of choice on the market.
Every option going is guaranteed to transform the look of your vehicle, but with so many to choose from, how do you go about selecting the right additions for your car?
Sure, you could focus on buying pieces to enhance the car’s unique visual appeal. But while having your car look great might be your main ambition, we believe that knowing which parts will optimise your driving experience should be the focus of your selection process.
To help you out, we’ve compiled an introductory guide to the performance benefits provided by each type of addon below.
Also known as front valance, lips or air dams, commonly fit to the front of the bumper, or sometimes replace the bumper.
These are designed to reduce the amount of air flowing under a car. Reduced airflow here helps reduce drag caused by the array of parts placed on the underside of the vehicle, and forces more air to travel around the sides and over the car, which in turns creates lower pressure underneath to draw the vehicle close to the ground to provide better traction.
These work in together with front spoiler and essentially create downforce at the front of your vehicle.
It’s not uncommon to have adjustable splitters, allowing you to fine-tune the amount of down force here and maintain an aerodynamic balance, dependant on the street/race conditions.
Canards fix to the corners of your front bumper, in front of the wheel arch. They direct air upward to provide added downforce on the bumper and especially effective on front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles.
That being said the effect is usually negligible on road cars, but they certainly look fierce!
(And if you’ve invested in these front end parts you should also consider the advantages of side skirts and rear diffusers, read more below...)
Rear Spoilers obstruct air flowing off the roof, slowing it to create an area of high pressure over the back of the vehicle, in turn providing downforce.
What’s more they can change the aerodynamics of a vehicle to actually reduce drag. Highly recommended for vehicles when the roof slants dramatically off toward the boot, a spoiler improves the overall airflow around the vehicle.
The term Lip is given to the more discreet rear spoilers, often designed to complement the contours of the vehicle.
Though more subtle in shape, they’re equally capable of improving performance compared to the more aggressive designs available.
These are more prominent design features than conventional spoilers, and are designed based on the same technology as airplane wings.
Instead of creating fast air above the vehicle back end, rear wings are reverse engineered and create downforce by making a low-pressure vacuum as air flows underneath the wing.
It’s worth bearing in mind that wings can adversely increase drag (that’s bad!), for professional racing drivers the pro outweighs the con on this, as the downforce they create provides better traction on the road for improved handling when cornering at high speeds.
These typically mount on your rear spoiler, acting as a further extension to create even more downforce on the rear.
They can again generate negative drag so you should weigh the pros and cons for the style of driving you’ll be using your car for.
Though your front spoiler and side skirts aim to channel air away from the undercarriage inevitably some flows under it. Rear Diffusers provide channels to help slow air to the same speed as that travelling over and around the car, which reduces turbulence as the two airflows meet.
So if you’ve invested in a front spoiler and side skirts, this should definitely be the next item on your wish list.
Roof spoilers improve the aerodynamics of hatchbacks, station wagons, and sport utilities, where the rear of the vehicle ends abruptly (no trunk edge), proving lesser drag and some downforce at the rear of the vehicle to enhance stability.
Side Skirts/Rocker Pannels
If you’re adding a front spoiler, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment purchasing side pieces too. They aid preventing airflow from reaching underneath the car in the same vein.
Furthermore they give the visual appeal of your car appearing lower to the ground, but you will have to be more tactical negotiating speed humps with these on your car (speaking from experience!!).
So, there you have it, a brief overview of terms. The common aspect is that the performance benefits won’t necessarily be felt unless you’re driving at high speeds, that being said even the smallest of modifications like a rear lip or canards can have an impact.
What’s more, most parts are easy to fit and we can’t deny that the addition of body kits can add some serious aggression to your vehicles look.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful in getting to grips with the basics of body kits. Keep checking back to our blog as we’re planning future articles to give you more in-depth knowledge about the products we offer.