Can Brad just go ahead and rip off that air dam?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 2010

Dear Tom and Ray: So the air dam on my '91 Chevy C1500 has taken a beating and is starting to come off. Rather than try to rig it back on or replace it, I want to simply remove it and be done with it. The truck is my only vehicle, used primarily for driving to and from work. However, I do take it "off road" on a farm from time to time, even though it has two-wheel drive, and that is where the damage comes from. I've been warned that the air dam is not simply a cosmetic piece but that it serves several functions for the truck. I'd love to get some advice on the pros and cons of not having one. Thanks!

-- Brad

TOM: You can tear it off, Brad.

RAY: It has three purposes. One is cosmetic, but I'm guessing that's not a major concern on a 1991 truck that you use on a farm.

TOM: The second purpose is that it decreases the turbulence of the air that goes under the truck as you drive, and therefore helps to increase the mileage a little bit -- a very little bit. The dents in the side of the truck probably are doing more, these days, to disrupt your air flow and mileage than a missing air dam would.

RAY: The air dam's third purpose is to fall off after about 80,000 miles and create a road hazard.

TOM: In case you're interested, it would cost you about 14 bucks to buy a new one on the Internet. But I'm guessing you'd rather invest that in half a tank of gas these days, and you can do so with our blessing, Brad.

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