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Distinguish Between Aero Parts and Exterior Cosmetic Parts

There is a very large selection of aftermarket exterior styling parts on the market these days, some of these products can enhance your car’s appearance and at the same time deteriorate on the performance, and some on the contrary – enhance performance but deteriorate on the looks, which is a personal opinion. Whether you are after “aerodynamics” or the “impression” when attaching racing inspired exterior add-ons, it is very important to distinguish aero parts from parts that are intended solely for cosmetic enhancement, and not get deceived by the claims of many aftermarket manufacturers that their products generate some or at least any aerodynamic improvement.

In the world of motorsports racing (mostly flat surface racing) aerodynamics is KING! Simple as that. So, unless you perform in some kind of racing events where you drive at significantly fast speeds, aerodynamics will not affect your cars performance. If your weekly driving consists of nothing more than a regular commute to your place of work or school, slapping a wing intended for performance on top of your trunk will not make the car “perform” better under any circumstances, and is an utterly silly thing to do. Aerodynamics enhancements are utilized at high speeds, where vehicles become more unstable and substantial amount of drag is created, so something like a rear wing will make your car look out of place, and my personal opinion is that it does not look attractive when it’s full performance potential can’t be utilized.

When shopping around for exterior parts and aerodynamics is your primary or solely concern, you should emphasize on the manufacturer Рhe makes the difference.  There are tons of manufacturers that claim their body kits have effect on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but yet they lack certain parts in their line-up that are primarily for aerodynamics, thus proving that their products do not provide any performance enhancements and are solely for cosmetic purpose. Parts like rear diffusers, vortex generators, cancards, front wings, front wind splitters and wind splitter rods are only some of the example that must be offered by legitimate  manufacturers of aerodynamics, if these parts are not offered, and instead only body kits are offered, such as rear bumpers, front bumpers, hoods, trunks, spoilers and side extensions, there is a big chance that all the products are solely for cosmetic purpose and provide none to minimal amount of aerodynamic altering of you vehicle.

Price is another factor that plays a major role when purchasing aero parts. Remember, aero parts are always quality parts and quality parts are always more expensive than any average parts – ‘You Get What You Pay For”. There is no way you will be able to purchase a full 5 piece aero kit for your vehicle for under 1500 dollars, and if you think you have done so, then guess what? You have purchased an exterior cosmetic parts solely intended for “looks” instead of “performance”

All F1 cars and even some production sports cars shares the same building process – contrary to regular production vehicles. Aerodynamicist comes up with the outer shape of the vehicle, that would make the fastest and most efficient car, and only then the other engineers have to fit the vehicle with components such as the engine – aerodynamics dictates the shape of the car. With so much emphasis on aerodynamics, the following questions arise. What is the only genuine way of designing an aerodynamic vehicle? What do all self respecting auto manufacturers of sports cars have where they test their vehicles? What do most top F1 team invest into? – up to 50 million dollars and consider it a prudent investment? Wind Tunnel!¬† It is a must in the world of aerodynamics, and any reputable aero parts manufacturer must have one. You can see if the aftermarket brand owns a wind tunnel or not just by visiting their official web page, they should provide some data and pictures from prior testing of their products in the wind tunnel. If you don’t find such information on their website, the parts sold by that manufacturer will most likely provide minimal, if any at all, aerodynamic enhancement.

Materials are also very important aspect when distinguishing parts with aerodynamic capabilities from exterior styling parts. Most aftermarket manufacturers of quality aerodynamic parts use only carbon fiber (CFRP) and polyurethane in production, they tend to stay away from fiberglass as it is considered an inferior product when it comes to the other two. Fiberglass is a cheap composite, which exhibits low weight but is not very durable, or tensile, instead rigid and tends to crack and chip on a moderate impact. So, if a manufacturer offers fiberglass parts, his products surely should not be considered top quality no matter how good the claim of their innovative fiberglass formula sounds, the end product will never be better than urethane or carbon fiber.

All these factors should help you in purchasing top quality aftermarket aerodynamic parts for your sports vehicle. All the information is derived from long term experience in the industry and should not be interpreted as dogma. The purpose of the article is to help novices make the right purchase in a very competitive market flooded with an array of counterfeit and low quality products