Spoilers? But aren’t they ricey?

But is it Ricey?

Everyone at some point in their life has driven past a heavily modified car and thought “Wow, what a ricer!”, or something similar to that. Is their a point to all of the modifications? Does it actually do something? Is it just for looks? This page is going to dive into different aspects of the automotive scene and where these “Ricey” automotive modifications actually originate.

Lets start from the beginning…. “Ricer” a term that is loosely thrown around in todays day and age. The Urban dictionary’s definition of a ricer is “A person who makes unnecessary modifications to their most often import car (hence the term “rice“) to make it (mostly make it look) faster.”. The import cars that its referring to are typically cars like, Honda Civics, Accords, Integras, CRXs, RSXs, Del Sols, Mitsubishi Eclipses, Lancers, Subaru Imprezas and WRXs. These cars are typically manufactured overseas in areas like Japan, where rice is a staple to their everyday cuisine.

Lets start with the first one. Typically the most commonly seen modification to any car, the spoiler.  

A majority of cars today come stock from the manufacturer with some version of a spoiler or “wing”, but are they ricey?

Spoilers were designed for two main reasons. To reduce the amount of drag on your car and to increase the amount of down force applied to a vehicle.

While there are many different shapes and sizes of “wings” that you may see equipped on a car, they mostly fall under two categories; spoilers and airfoils. In the first section of “Is It Ricey?” we will talk about the two main types and wether or not they help provide added function to the vehicle they may be equipped on.

An air foil is made to deflect the airflow upward to generate down-force on the rear of the vehicle. These are not meant to improve the aerodynamics of a vehicle. An aggressive airfoil actually increases the amount of drag on a car but in return helps gain traction at high speeds. You typically only see aggressive airfoils on formula 1 racecars, where grip is absolutely critical to success in racing.

A spoiler is something to disturb the localized air flow on a vehicle to help improve the overall airflow around a vehicle as a whole. By adding a barrier to an area of undesirable air flow so that the behavior of the air shifts to make it more desirable. This is why companies put them on economy cars to help improve the cars fuel economy.

Typically the airstream over a vehicle will flow around the obstruction without entering the blind pocket so the bulk of the airflow doesn’t even hit the spoiler. A properly designed spoiler can improve the drag on a vehicle even though it looks like a wall. Of course this only works if it is done right.

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