How fast to you have to be going for a spoiler to be of any use?
Are spoilers anything but a way for guys to identify a car as sporty? I ask because my friend (a guy) is convinced that they give a driver more control by forcing the back end of the car down onto the road. I agree but say that you'd have to be going a lot faster than 65 mph for it to have any effect. Am I right? -- Gwen
RAY: Of course you're absolutely right, Gwen. On a racing car going 220 mph around a curved track, a spoiler helps keep the rear end of the car on the ground. But at 65, or even 75 or 85 mph, a spoiler is like a big sign from the manufacturer saying: "Our market research showed that guys think our car is wimpy. ... We hope this piece of plastic helps."
TOM: It's purely a fashion statement, Gwen. It's like wearing hiking boots around the city. It serves no useful, mechanical purpose whatsoever on a street car.
RAY: It's not unlike naming a cheap, Korean subcompact the "LeMans," or calling a two-door version of the Dodge Dart the "Swinger."
TOM: Both of which were done, by Pontiac and Dodge, respectively, by the way.
RAY: Spoilers tend to be a cheap way to make a not-so-sporty car appear sportier. And you'll notice that, in most cases, the truly good-handling cars don't have them because they don't need them.