Fuel Economy Technology Systems: Active Air Dams

Tightening regulations on fuel economy along with rising awareness about pollution have influenced vehicle design and function in recent years. However, most consumers are not willing to sacrifice comfort, vehicle size, or power, so auto makers needed to use different methods to boost fuel economy. For the most part, aerodynamics can be directly related to fuel efficiency. The smoother air flows over the vehicle, the less power is required to make the vehicle move, leading to higher fuel economy. Unfortunately, a vehicle that has excellent aerodynamics may not be a functional vehicle for everyday consumers. So, other measures needed to be taken. In this series we’ll break down some of the methods used to boost aerodynamics and fuel economy along with any special cautions on how to repair them. Let’s check out active air dams.

Air dams are lower extensions of the front bumper that redirects air flow under the vehicle. Active air dams are automated extensions that further changes the airflow to increase aero dynamics. This system is designed to reduce drag to ultimately aid in fuel efficiency.

For some vehicles, the active air dams are lowered once the vehicle reaches a certain speed. It may also retract when needed to increase airflow under the engine bay to assist in cooling. When the system is in operation, DTCs can be set if the active air dam module signals that the air dam is not fully extended or fully retracted. This can be caused by snow and ice buildup or other debris impeding the movement of the air dam. Before servicing this system, refer to the manual for diagnostic information as well as replacement operations.

Always research repair procedures to make sure that all repairs are being performed according to the manufacturer. If these systems are not properly functioning after a collision, the vehicles fuel economy will be sacrificed. This leads to an unsatisfied customer. Though this system may not pose a safety concern, it will cause a problem with fuel efficiency, emissions, and customer satisfaction.

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