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2017 Ford Mustang - what's this rubber strip?

Purchased a new 2017 Ford Mustang in August 2017. A couple months after the purchase, I was traveling down the interstate and began hearing a slight ticking noise that sounded as if it were coming from the front driver’s side. Pulled over and looked under the hood and under the car. Did not see or hear anything unusual. Started down the road again and the slight ticking noise started again. Pulled over again to check. Same result – did not see or hear anything under the hood or under the car. Started down the road again and after a couple miles there was a loud thunking noise that made me think a piece of my tire tore off. Fortunately, I was near an exit and pulled off and into a gas station. Looked under the car and saw a strip of rubber about 2 ½ inches wide and about 1 foot long hanging down near the inside of the driver’s side tire. I gave it a tug and the rubber strip turned out to be about 5 ½ feet long and easily unwrapped from around the axel. It looked like a giant 5 ½ foot long, 2 ½ inch wide rubber windshield wiper. There were several short, tiny staples along the length of the rubber strip. I laid it on the pavement and it formed into a V shape. Apparently a couple of the tiny, flimsy staples came loose on one side of the strip and the ticking noise was the end of the strip flapping. Eventually the whole strip tore loose and wrapped around the axel.
I drove the car to the Ford dealer where I purchased the car and discussed the situation with a mechanic and showed him the strip. He stated he had no idea what the strip was. He called over another mechanic who also did not know what the strip was. I went to the service manager and discussed with him. He said he didn’t know for sure but because of the V shape it was probably just a strip to deflect wind from the front tires under the car and not to worry about it. As I pressed him a bit, he suggested that I check with the parts department to see if they had a description. I went there and they couldn’t find anything in their information for the strip. They eventually found a panel that had a similar rubber strip attached to it. The panel with the strip attached was $300. The strip was not sold separately and there was no description of what the strip was for. The parts guy speculated that the strip was there to let the driver know if he was getting close to scraping the bottom of the car on a parking lot curb.
I’ve called Ford customer support a couple times and they did not know what the rubber strip was for. I asked each time for an email or phone number for the Mustang engineering/design department. They claimed they did not have an email or phone number.
I got online and found a couple instances of the rubber strip. No one seems to know what it is for. I found where a guy was showing how to reattach a similar strip to a different car using screws rather than the flimsy, tiny, short staples. I also found and attached a picture here from one guy showing the strip attached underneath the front of his Mustang. (The point of the V faces toward the front and the sides of the V angle toward the front tires).
Do you have any idea what the strip is for and why it would have been attached so flimsily? Seems to me it could be dangerous if it came loose and wrapped around and jerked the wheels to one side.
Link to picture: https://themustangsource.com/forums/attachments/f806/173096d1438518827-front-lower-air-dam-airdam.jpg

Doug

Doug, remove your email from the post… or @cdaquila can you help?

Doug, I am amazed at how ignorant your dealership is.

Most modern cars - Mustang’s included - have a rubber (or vinyl or plastic) strip attached to a panel under the car to improve the aerodynamics and radiator cooling by deflecting air around the car. Sometimes these are flat across the car and sometimes they are V shaped. They are always as low to the ground as practical.

Since it wasn’t clear that the Ford guys said if it was missing from YOUR car or just picked up laying in the road, you may now be missing yours or just picked up one that fell off another car.

Because people tear them off by hanging the nose of their cars over parking blocks, they are attached with staples. If they were more firmly attached, they would rip the entire panel off the underside of the car. It is designed to tear away so it won’t do more serious damage. They are also too flimsy to lock up your steering system.

So the question is… Is it the strip off your car? And… Should you replace it?

Since I bought my Mustang used, mine was already damaged. I made a taller one and attached it with bolts and nuts. But I don’t hang the nose of my car over parking blocks.

Next time at the dealership, talk to the body shop.

Mustang man,
Thanks for the feedback. I’m now wondering if it makes a big enough difference in areodynamics and cooling to get under there and reinstall.

Yes it does, or Ford wouldn’t have put it there. People run around without them so it it isn’t exactly critical to function.

You might check parts stores to see if is is available as an individual part rather than having to replace the whole lower panel to get a new one. I actually cut down a strip of bathroom vinyl moulding and bolted mine on. I wanted it a bit longer but it still makes a good replacement for the factory piece.