- by Anand Mohan
- Jun 27, 2014
- Views : 10475
Clean aero is as important for fuel efficiency as it is for performance in a straight line. We tell you more about how it helps in the former case
A car with efficient aerodynamics can save you a lot of fuel. Once you purchase your car based on its drag coefficient, you expect it to perform true to its aerodynamic properties, both on the economy front and on the performance front but there are times when it doesn’t.
Why is that?
Avoid exterior add-ons
We Indians love accessorising our cars to make them look macho. Things like bull bars, roof rails and rear wings are quite popular in India. While these add-ons might add to the aesthetics of a car, they contribute to drag by disrupting smooth air flow along the surface of a car. In addition to disrupting air flow, they add to weight of the car. The added weight and wind resistance reduces fuel economy of a car to a large extent.
While the rear wing in a few cases (super cars mostly) function as an aerodynamic element, on most production cars, it’s an unnecessary add-on. The rear wing prevents lift and channels air smoothly out the back of a car. This only comes into use as speeds go up though when the wing assists stability and braking performance. On public roads, if your wing is having a positive impact on the car, you are most definitely driving much faster than legal limits.
Denting & Painting
A car gets a rounded shape for a reason. So wind can flow over the body without much resistance. A dented bumper or body panel disrupts air and creates an unwelcome channel of air that increases drag. More drag means lesser fuel economy so keep your car scratch free. If you get into a scrap with another car, make sure you change the dented parts soon. If there is a loose hanging part, tie it or tape it till you get it fixed. It will not only improve fuel economy but also avoid a potential hazard to other motorists if the part was to fall apart. Fastening a loose part should be given immediate attention.
Paint on new cars lasts a long time. Gone are the days when you see chipped paint in a few years time. But if it does, an uneven panel can create drag. Especially when you get into an accident, the part of contact invariably loses its paint. A small patch will not increase drag by much do you don’t need to bother about it except for the aesthetics, but a badly painted surface that has bubbles or chipped parts should be repainted. Get your car repainted in a dust free paint booth. Most authorized workshops of car manufacturers are equipped with these.
Make friends with the wind and you will be the fastest and most efficient car around.