Why Don’t Trucks Get More Active Aerodynamics: Retractable Chin Spoiler for Efficiency and Off-Road Ability?

2018 ford f150 turbo v6
2018 Ford F150: (air dam / chin spoiler)

Many truck manufacturers install low-hanging front air dams to improve the truck’s highway fuel economy. However, these aerodynamic devices hurt the truck’s off-road performance, as far as hitting and scraping the front chin on dirt and rocks (or even sidewalk curbs). Could there be another solution?

TFLtruck received this question from Duncan P.

I saw an Alfa Romeo commercial, and I saw the solution to the front end air foil on the Colorado, Canyon and the F-150 when it comes to being off-road worthy. The Alfa Romeo Giulia has a retractable front air foil. What a great idea!!!

Just a few years ago, active aerodynamics with deployable wings and spoilers was reserved for Formula 1 racing cars and exotic supercars. Then many regular sedans and pickup truck started using active grille shutters. These are plastic slots behind the outer grille that close under certain conditions and block air flow: at highway speeds for better efficiency or when it’s very cold and the engine needs to warm up faster.

Why not adding a retractable chin spoiler to a truck? This makes a lot of sense. This air dam can be deployed at highway speeds and retracted at slow speeds or when in off-road mode. This would definitely be a high-tech solution, but how much cost would it add? Can this be a durable component that lasts many years? Will it be safe if the air dam hits some piece of debris at high speeds?

Thanks to Duncan for bringing up this interesting idea. What do you guys think? Would a deployable air dam be something you get excited about?

Here is an off-road battle between three trucks that do not have low handing air dams: Chevy Colorado ZR2, Ford Raptor, and Ram Power Wagon.