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Side skirts add visual presence to any car as a consequence of installing them. More than that, side skirts are used to reduce the amount of high pressure area on the side of the car to go under the car from the sides. If an air splitter is used, air under the car is at a low pressure, which causes the higher-pressure air on the outside and on the sides of the car to come rushing in diminishing ground effect and downforce.
Side skirts are somewhat similar in principle to splitters. They are in place, and typically as low as possible, in order to prevent high pressure air from moving underneath the vehicle.
The effectiveness of the skirts depends primarily on how close to the ground the lower edge can be maintained. That edge should be less than a 2 centimeters from the ground, otherwise the skirts' effectiveness diminishes rapidly as the gap increases.
An alternative benefit of aftermarket side skirts is preventing rocks from kicking up off the roads and hitting your vehicle's paint. They work just like mud flaps since they prevent stones and other debris in the ground from hitting your paint. Also, with side skirts, you can lower your paint repair and maintenance costs. You can then use the savings for other vital enhancements.
Race car builders seek an ideal aerodynamic balance between drag and downforce. Minimized drag reduces the air resistance encountered by the car to let it go faster. Downforce is necessary so the tires stay firmly planted on the track surface for optimal power delivery, steering, and braking. Although some body mods increase drag to create downforce, this tradeoff is crucial for overall ride operation.
Side skirts not only reduces drag because less air encounters resistance from the irregular shapes of the mechanical components under the car, but it also helps create downforce because more air is forced around the sides and over the top of the car. The limited amount of air that does go under the car travels at increased velocity, creating a low pressure area. The greater pressure above the car creates downforce that helps the car stay glued to the track, improving tire traction for propulsion and steering.
On sports cars, a side skirt is a superb way to enhance downforce without spending too much time. There are numerous excellent options to choose from, like those from ChargeSpeed. The brand is renowned all over the world as a high-quality aerodynamics and performance manufacturer.
For the majority of road cars, the side skirt serves as a cosmetic add-on. It provides an extra touch to your car's performance look. In case you want to buy one purely for show, feel free to choose any design that meets your taste.
If you want to purchase for performance enhancement, however, you'll need to be extra careful with your selection. APR Performance offers many side skirts which are specifically designed to improve aero and downforce, rather than just improve looks.
You must also keep in mind which other aftermarket products work alongside your side skirt. Installing a full body kit is the best way to maximize your vehicle's aerodynamic performance. Apart from improving aerodynamics, a full aero package can enhance your vehicle's overall curb appeal as well.
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