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Air Dam & Front Splitter

Air Dam & Front Splitter: Design, Function And Importance Explained

Why use the Air Dam and Front Splitter?

Why use Air Dam and Front Splitter? When the car moves at a high speed, it faces a lot of resistance from the incoming air and creates some kind of force at the bottom. The manufacturers usually describe it as turbulence or aerodynamic drag. This destabilizes the vehicle, particularly at the high-speed.  If it does not remain under control, it may cause the car to lift from the rear and sway.

Air Dam & Front Splitter
Air Dam & Front Splitter

So, you need a device to control the drag and provide stability to the vehicle. The function of the Air-Dam is to 'spoil' or nullify the effect of the undesired air movement across the vehicle when it is in motion. The Air-Dam and splitter not just only disrupt the existing airflow patterns, but also generate the down-force as the air passes around the vehicle. Thus, it provides the greater stability and traction control at high speeds.

Air Dam vs Spoiler:

When this spoiler is fitted at the front of the vehicle, it is known as an Air Dam. However, it is called a spoiler when the manufacturers install it at the rear of the vehicle. The Air Dam is fitted at the bottom of a car’s nose or front bumper. It directs the flow of air around the car instead of under it.

The manufacturers term the airflow which goes underneath the car as the ‘underflow’. It is highly turbulent and also consumes more energy. Thus, it affects the vehicle’s fuel economy as well.

The function of Air Dam and Front Splitter:

The Air Dam and front splitter can improve the car’s aerodynamics to a certain extent. They can be either neutral or even spoil the aerodynamic character of the car, making it worse. The function of the Air Dam is to deflect the oncoming air. It forces maximum air to go over the top of the vehicle and allows only a minimal quantity of air to pass underneath the vehicle.

Kawasaki NinjaH2R
Kawasaki NinjaH2R

Generally, Sports cars and Supercars feature both the Air-dams and front splitters. Also, you can find them on the high-speed motorcycles too. The super-sports motorcycle Kawasaki Ninja H2R also features the Air-Dams. The manufacturers install the splitter to increase the amount of down-force at the front of the car.

Effects of the Air Dam & Front Splitter in a moving car
Effects of the Air Dam & Front Splitter in a moving car


The Air-dam makes the airstream stagnant above the splitter and creates a high-pressure area. The splitter redirects the air away from the stagnation zone and accelerates it which causes a drop in the pressure. This pressure drop, in combination with the high pressure formed above the splitter, creates the down-force. The larger the area of the splitter generates more down-force.

Nowadays, the carmakers offer both Air-Dams and front splitter even on the passenger vehicles to reduce the aerodynamic drag and back-lift.

Advantages of Air Dam and Front Spoilers in vehicles:

  1. Avoids the back-lift.
  2. Better traction control
  3. Improves handling of the vehicle
  4. Provides laminar air flow
  5. Reduces the aerodynamic drag
  6. Improves vehicle mileage

Watch How Air-Dams and Front Splitters Work here:

Read More: Vehicle Body Nomenclature >>

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