Car Splitters: What are they?

 

If you are thinking about giving the front of your car a sportier look, you have probably thought about installing an aftermarket car splitter. There’s something about a front splitter that screams “race car”. That’s why it is one of the most popular exterior car mods on the market.

Beyond improving a car’s exterior aesthetics, a front splitter also helps to improve a car’s aerodynamics. Let’s take a closer look at car splitters to see what they’re all about, and how they work.

WHAT IS A CAR SPLITTER?

A car splitter is a flat piece of bodywork that extends forward from the bottom of a car’s front bumper. Positioned parallel to the ground, it may be held in place by thin, metallic rods that are anchored in the front bumper.

A car splitter should not be confused with a front chin spoiler. Chin spoilers are smaller and does not extend outwards as much as a front splitter does. A chin spoiler also has an angled upper surface, and a flat lower surface. This design enables it to ‘spoil’ the air that flows over it, pushing it upwards and over the front of a car.

This is different from a front splitter, which is thin and flat on both sides, and also extends outwards considerably.

WHAT ARE CAR SPLITTERS MADE FROM?

Because of their design, and how they’re positioned, splitters have to be able to endure numerous curb scrapes — so splitter materials need to be both strong and flexible.

Most front splitters are made from carbon fiber, fiberglass, ABS plastic, polyurethane, alumalite, or other composites.

ABS plastic front splitters are affordable, durable, and flexible.

Carbon fiber splitters are the strongest, but they are also the most expensive.

 

 

HOW DOES A CAR SPLITTER WORK, EXACTLY?

A front splitter helps increase downforce when a car is being driven, causing improved traction and better performance.

AIR RESISTANCE

When a car is in motion, it has to push through air resistance. This resistance may not be noticeable at lower speeds; but at higher speeds, you’ll notice that the car’s engine is working harder to propel the car forward.

A lot of air can force its way under the car when it is traveling at high speeds. This can cause the front or rear of the car to lift, resulting in instability and reduced traction. A front splitter helps remedy that.

OVERFLOW AND UNDERFLOW BALANCE

The incoming air that hits the front of a car when it is accelerating has its own velocity and pressure. When a car is fitted with a front splitter, that incoming air is ‘split’, so a good portion of it flows over the splitter (let’s call it ‘overflow’); while the rest goes under the splitter and under the car (let’s call it ‘underflow’).

The air that flows over the splitter hits the front bumper and slows down, building up air pressure over the front splitter. The splitter’s large surface area allows for the significant air pressure build-up, which in turn pushes down the car’s front end. This facilitates better traction.

After the ‘overflow’ slows down when it hits the front bumper, it may be forced into vents in the car’s front bumper or over the hood of the car. As it flows over the car, the ‘overflow’ will flow at a low velocity because it had slowed down; but it will also carry the high pressure that it built up in the front of the car.

The ‘underflow’ flows under the car unrestricted. It’s likely to maintain a high velocity and low pressure as it flows under the car. The key to attaining maximum downforce lies in achieving an optimal balance between the high pressure, low speed ‘overflow’, and the low pressure, high speed ‘underflow’.

 

 

SPLITTER POSITIONING

It’s important to note that if too much ‘underflow’ is allowed to pass under the car, it can result in increased air pressure under the car. This means the splitter needs to be set close to the ground to facilitate the proper suction effect.

However, the splitter shouldn’t be positioned too low, because then too little air will pass under the car. In such situations, less downforce and more drag is created, which is definitely not what you want to achieve.

RIDE HEIGHT AND AERODYNAMICS

For the best results, you have to set the proper ride height. Installing a suspension system that allows you to adjust the car’s ride height can really help you to get it right. Ideally, you want a height-adjustable coilover suspension or an air suspension.

It is also worth noting that the aerodynamic effects of a front splitter can only be felt when a car is travelling at high speeds of at least 100 km/h. Since you usually don’t drive at such high speeds (unless you are actually a race car driver), you may not get to fully experience the aerodynamic benefits that a good front splitter provides.

 

CONCLUSION

Now that you know how a car splitter works, consider if one would be a good mod for your car. Be sure to think about how it’s going to be driven, and what kind would not only look best on your car, but work within your budget.

 

 

 

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Summer Detailing

 

 

1. Prevent UV Damage to Paintwork

As you know, the sun’s rays are what make the beautiful people of the world so tan. What it also does is penetrate and weaken your car’s clear coat layer. Over time, this can lead to complete degradation and harm the pigment layer of your paintwork, causing discoloration or fading. Either way, it’s not fun. Plus it’s easily preventable with a sealant or wax. Before summer hits, I recommend sealing with a long lasting paint sealant ASAP to stay ahead of the game. If you do so now, exterior UV damage simply wont happen.

2. Prepare For Interior UV Damage

Those of you with leather seats already know how hot the sun can get on a bright day. What you might not know is that not all car windows have UV protection – meaning your dashboard, seats, and other exposed surfaces are getting damaged by the sun. While it may not be visible right away, overtime the sun can discolor and crack softer interior surfaces such as plastic, vinyl, and leather. It looks terrible and fixing it means a costly and time consuming leather restoration process (gluing, respraying, etc.). Do your interior a favor and condition each surface before the heat shows up. Remember, don’t use a dressing, as these just coat the surface rather than providing nutrients.

3. Reverse Fading Exterior Plastic

Similar to UVs damaging your paintwork, your plastic trim can pay quite the price come summer time. If you haven’t noticed before, take a picture in spring time, then again in the fall – summer will have gradually lightened any dark plastic exterior surface that wasn’t protected. Fortunately, most of these effects are easily fixed with a conditioner. If you seal the surfaces with a plastic sealant before summer, you’ll have to do much less upkeep come August and September.

4. Stop Tires From Cracking

When left untreated, tires begin to fade and crack much like the other exterior surfaces of your vehicle. Unfortunately, tires are a deep black, attracting sunlight anyway they can. Also, being rubber, they’re much more susceptible to damage and discoloration. To prevent cracking and fading (which is reversible), use a tire conditioner (not a dressing) at least twice a month to keep the surface looking rich and natural. You may think it’s unnoticeable, but you’d be surprised how much the quality of your tires can be enhanced just by a quick 2 minute application.

5. Get Rid Of Mutilated Bug Carcases

Bugs and heat go together much like one of those annoying vuvuzelas at a game your favorite team happens to be losing. As if you weren’t upset enough, some goof has to go off piercing your ear drums? Well, not so similarly, bugs smash into your car while your driving and then the sun happens to cook them. Yum. In all seriousness, these bug splats can begin to etch the surface if heat is allowed to cake them on – and the longer they’re on, the harder they are to remove. The bottom line here is to provide a barrier of protection specifically against the little buggers, and when they do come in contact with your car, get them off sooner rather than later with a detail spray.

As you now know, these detailing tips are only suggestions based on common occurrences come summer. It’s important to know that any problems you run into are preventable with the right car care products, and at the end of the day the fact remains that we all experience unique issues that require equally unique detailing solutions

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How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by an Mechanic

 

5 Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed by an Auto Mechanic

When your car breaks down, you want to get it fixed and back on the road right away. Most of us rely heavily on our car, and being without it for even a single day is a big inconvenience.

When you do suffer an unexpected breakdown, you depend on a mechanic to fix your car properly and charge you fairly for parts and labor. Unfortunately, some mechanics are less than honest, and you need to keep your eyes open and wits about you to avoid getting taken for a ride. Here are some tips you can use to avoid car repair rip-offs.

1. Insist that the Mechanic Gives You an Up-Front Estimate

Never drop your car off at the mechanic and give them carte blanche to fix your car. Instead, ask the mechanic to evaluate the vehicle while you’re there and give you an estimate of the repair bill.

It’s also a good idea to insist that the mechanic call you and get your permission if the actual cost is more than the estimate you were given. This is the best way to avoid being overcharged, and the heads-up will give you a chance to make an intelligent and informed decision.

2. Ask the Mechanic for Your Old Parts

Some dishonest mechanics will charge for parts replacements they never actually performed. The best way to expose this scam and avoid this kind of rip-off is to always insist on taking your old parts with you after servicing.

When your mechanic calls to tell you which parts need to be replaced, let them know you will want the old parts. That could be enough to discourage a less-than-ethical auto mechanic from overcharging you on parts.

3. Brush Up on Basic Auto Mechanics

It’s much harder for a shady mechanic to rip-off customers who know their way around a car. If you don’t know which end of the dipstick goes into the engine, that dishonest mechanic will see you coming a mile away. Taking the time to learn about your car and how it works is the best way to protect yourself.

You don’t have to take an automotive class to gain this knowledge. Just grab your owner’s manual, open the hood and familiarize yourself with the parts you see. The more you know, the harder it will be to get ripped off.

4. Ask Friends and Family for Mechanic Referrals

The best defence against getting ripped-off by a mechanic is to find one you can trust. If you do not have a regular mechanic, ask family, friends and coworkers who they use and if they’re happy with the service they receive.

The best mechanics rely on word-of-mouth to get new customers. They know that treating drivers fairly is the best long-term business strategy, and they work hard to provide good value and excellent car repairs for everyone they work with.

5. Double-Check the Price of New Auto Parts

If the price of a replacement part seems unreasonably high, call the dealer or check online to make sure it’s correct. Some mechanics try to inflate their bills by overcharging customers for parts, so checking prices independently is the best way to protect yourself.

Don’t be afraid to confront the mechanic if you think you’ve been overcharged for parts. You have a right to quality service and fair prices whenever you get your car repaired.

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Winter Detailing

 

Winter detailing is all about prevention. Ideally one should clean their vehicle as often as possible to ensure no build-up of road salt on painted surfaces. The longer road salt stays on a vehicle’s surface, the more time the salt has to eat away at your wax’s protective elements. Taking advantage of warmer temperatures to wax your vehicle with durable car wax or paint sealant will ensure minimal loss of protection throughout the season. During winter it is also crucially important to minimize contact with the paint. What this means is DO NOT remove snow from your vehicle’s painted surfaces with an ice scraper or brush. This is one of the most damaging things you can do to your vehicle, which can result in heavy swirling and scratching of your paint. Using some sort of heating element or hot water will safely melt the snow without damaging your paint.

If you must remove the snow on your vehicle, use a microfiber towel and gently and slowly use downwards motions, starting at the top of the vehicle and moving downwards with each stroke. This ensures you are not introducing dirt from the bottom of the vehicle to the upper portions of the vehicle.

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