Chances are that at one point or another you may have heard the term “bumper valance” or “valance panel.” In general, a valance is defined as being a piece of material that hangs from an object to conceal what is underneath for decorative purposes – somewhat like a curtain. When it comes to the automotive world, valance panels are trim pieces under bumpers that direct airflow; they could also be filler body panels. All cars, regardless of the make or model, can have a valance installed. What makes it unique, when it comes to the exact positioning, is the degree of aerodynamic effectiveness that needs to be achieved.
In other words, valance panels can be found at the front and/or rear of a vehicle from almost any era. Bumper valances, also referred to as lower bumper trims, air dams, front lips, or rear spoilers, are usually installed for decorative or aerodynamic purposes. Depending on the level of aerodynamic efficiency the carmaker was striving for, a valance panel may be either a narrow trim piece that is placed low to direct airflow in the same manner as an air dam. Or, a valance panel can be a larger piece that has an integrated airflow lip at the bottom.
Bumper valances are often overlooked or forgotten, as they are not seemingly as important as other components like mirrors or headlights. Even so, it is certainly not useless and is more than just another aesthetic piece of your vehicle’s body. In this article, we will go over the purpose of a valance, its location, and the types of material used for it. You may also click on the link below to shop our entire inventory of bumper valances (front and rear) for a wide selection of cars and trucks.
Why Do Cars Have Valances?
The answer to this question is fairly straightforward: it is for styling and protection reasons. A bumper valance usually receives the end of an impact that the car is subjected to when it comes to road irregularities and debris. It absorbs the blunt that the vehicle’s undercarriage receives and, in turn, prevents the parts below from incurring any damage. This is not only true with rocks and other things on the road, but it means all contaminants and factors that cars are exposed to like mud, sand, and grime. Valance panels stop the direct contact of these impurities to the chassis so that they could avoid premature wearing out of the car’s frame.
Apart from acting as the first line of defense, installing a lower valance will also help you to safely maneuver the car. That’s because valances can function aerodynamically to help facilitate better airflow under and over the body of the car. And while this part functions to be a covering panel, it also gives flair to a vehicle by ensuring that the “unattractive” skeletal body of your car is not exposed. With a valance, the unpainted areas that are found at the underside can easily be concealed, adding an appeal to the vehicle. In other words, a valance panel can help make the car look more put together and presentable from all angles, top to bottom.
Bumper Valance Location
As aforementioned, bumper valances can be at the front, the rear, or both. Sometimes a vehicle could even have two separate valance panel pieces in the front or rear – one for the driver’s side and one for the passenger’s side. These come as merely partial pieces, and usually do not cover the entire width of the vehicle. Instead, they are positioned at the corners only. In some cases, these valance panels do not improve aerodynamics at all. They might be simply used as cover pieces to conceal areas underneath the level of the bumper (bumper cover) that would otherwise be exposed. At the front of a car, this would work to cover and protect the bottom portion of the radiator. At the back, a valance panel could tie together the space between the dual exhaust pipes that are found on opposite ends of the vehicle.
Types of Valance Materials
Most of the time, valance panels are made from the same material that a vehicle’s bumper is; this, however, is not always the case. An older vehicle with steel bumpers is more likely to have valance panels made from steel as well. Even so, plastic valance panels are not that uncommon on later models built with exposed steel-and-chrome bumpers. If you have a newer vehicle with plastic bumper covers, it is almost always true that the valance panels are crafted from the same plastic material.
Since valance panels are positioned low to the ground, they can become easily damaged from daily driving and things like speed bumps, potholes, steep driveways, and other road debris. Even if your valance is not a low-hanging one, it can still fall victim to things that can dent or crack them. If you are looking to replace a broken or damaged valance, it’s important to know the difference each material means when it comes to installation. On older cars, the valance panels are essentially sheet metal panels that require automotive bodywork experience to remove and replace them. On modern cars with panels made from plastic, swapping out the old piece for the new one is just a matter of bolting on the replacement part.
Maintenance and Replacement
Just like any other part of your car that takes grit and bumps, it is crucial that you take the time to maintain and properly care for the bumper valances. Since it is prone to being cracked and dented by rock hits and other road mishaps, it’s important that you take notice of your valance panels and see if a replacement is needed. If you fail to keep them in good shape, they won’t be as effective in protecting your car. At the same time, a damaged valance will also not be as pleasing to the eyes and would be better off removed.
More often than not, the changing and installing of a replacement car valance can be done in the comfort of your own garage. It is a fairly straightforward process that can be avoided, though, if you work on the minor scratches and maintenance from time to time. That being said, there are several options out there for you to consider should you want to opt to repair and replace your car’s bumper valance. Your trusted mechanic can provide you with the recommendations and expertise needed to get your valance back in shape along with the proper installation of the replacement part. Should you have any further questions or need help to decide which is right for you, feel free to reach out to the experts at Vivid Racing by phone at 1-480-966-3040 or via email at email@example.com.