Rear Tail Spoilers: function or cosmetic

I’d like to know if the optional large rear tail spoilers that are on the trunk lids of the 2006 Subaru IMPREZA WRX models are functional or cosmetic at speeds of less than 120 miles per hour. Does that large loop stabilize or otherwise allow the vehicle to handle better or is it just for the looks?

Up to 70 mph or so, strictly cosmetic, cost a little mpgs. But you said 120 mph, between 70 and 120 I imagine it does keep the rear end of the car down.

Some tail spoilers are purely cosmetic and have no affect on anything. Other spoilers are functional and based on spoilers used in race cars.

The Subaru WRX is used in racing and the spoiler could be functional. It the spoiler is very similar to the spoilers on race prepped cars it could be functiona. At speeds under 50 mph, no affect. At higher speeds perhaps some affect. If you race you might feel a difference when you are going 100+ mph. Otherwise you could drive 2 exact cars, one with the spoiler and the other without and not feel any difference.

Bottom line, at normal highway speeds it is cosmetic.

The attachment of the spoilers is so flimsy as to make them unlikely to be of much significance. In order for a spoiler to deflect 100 pounds of downward force on the car it would likely require it to withstand more than 100 pounds of rearward wind pressure and a quick look at the trunk lid attaching points would indicate that is not in the case on any late model car I have seen. I would be interested in seeing the attachment of the spoilers on Super Bees. They were positioned high enough that they would have been in the wind and my guess is most of those cars saw a lot of high speed driving.

Makes a good ironing board.


Here we go again! Chrysler corporation said back in 1957 that the tail fins on its new models made the cars more stable at high speeds. Pontiac’s wheels that were spaced out in the 1959 and later models (called wide track) was said to make the car corner better at high speeds. Both the tail fins and the wide track were styling gimmicks with no useful function to most motorists except that the tail fins rusted and the wide track wouldn’t allow the car to be washed in some automated car washes. I doubt that the tail spoilers on the Subaru do anything.

I am shocked at the reported “just for looks” aspect of rear spoilers. I wonder if the “invisible to radar” clear coat I paid for is also just as ineffective, I guess I could make a test run next to the radar van and see if something comes in the mail, but wait, I have a special shield over my license plate, they can’t photograph the numbers.

Some spoilers are purely for fashion, like the Scion tC spoilers, others are for function, like the rising whale-tail on the Porsche 911 and the wing on the Lotus Elise. Aerodynamics is complex, and there’s really no way to know about the WRX without seeing actual data.

Looks sell cars. That, my friend, is the bottom line.

IF -
the “spoiler” is airfoil shaped it’s functional.
To a point as the others have said.
Simply being mounted on the trunk lid limits it a lot.
The speed needed to realize effect is another limitation.

Y’know what the wing of an airplane is shaped like, flat on the bottom - round on the top.
Flip that upside-down for a spoiler.

A simple angled deflector would have to look dang near Nascar to be functional.

I can’t agree totally with that assumption. I’ve seen countless wing-type spoilers that my gut tells me are just for show. Some look like they were made of thermoplastic and left in the oven too long.

There was an old TV show with two good guys that ran around in a Dodge with a bullet shaped front end and a high but narrow wing that I seriously doubt was of any value at legal speeds. I seem to recall Chrysler a shaving sold them off the lot. I can’t remember the name of the show. It would have been perhaps late '60s or early '70s.

And the early '70s Camaro Z28 came with an angled deflector darn near the same as the new NASCAR deflector.

We owned a car with one of these. I did not like how the spoiler interfered with the rear view. Won’t get one again. I agree with the others, it’s eyewash.

Didn’t a model of the VW New Beetle offer a retractable spoiler? As I remember, when the vehicle reached a certain speed, the spoiler popped up and when the vehicle dropeed below this speed, the spoiler retracted. If I were to purchase a VW New Beetle, I would certainly want this feature. Had the Chrysler engineers been on their toes back in the late 1950’s, they could have implemented retractable tail fins. When the vehicle speed reached, 50 miles an hour, the fins would pop up to give stability and retract below 50 when they weren’t needed. I’ll bet this feature would really have boosted Chrysler product sales back then.

Looks sell cars. That, my friend, is the bottom line.

Chrysler Corp. would have been in the hopper years ago except for trendy Dodge grills, cool looking sedans, jeep look alike models, great looking sport car and convertibles. Arguably some of the worse American made cars up and down their line up, surviving on looks alone. Let’s milk the “hemi” line, one more time too.

Tail fins are great for parallel parking-- you can see exactly where all four corners of the car are. Not exactly the futuristic aerodynamics billed by the marketing department, but very helpful, especially since cars of the tailfin era aren’t exactly easy to park.

I suppose along the same lines, the sporty-looking spoilers on wagon-type vehicles do a good job of keeping muck off the back window.

Actually Chryco was EXTREMELY innovative…

First American made fwd small car to compete with Japan and Europe.
First MiniVan.
First FWD mid-size Passanger Car.

Their styling and design at or near the top. Their quality control SUCKED. Some divisions were much better then others…But in general…they had a long way to go and didn’t know how to get there.