Go Home

Chevy Volt Air Dam Wear After 7 Months

Chevy Volt Front View Air Dam

The Chevrolet Volt has a special aerodynamic feature on the front end of the vehicle just under the bumper called an “Air Dam”.  The flexible rubber air deflector has the job of reducing the amount of air traveling under the car which increases the overall aerodynamic efficiency of the Chevy Volt.  There are other reasons for the air dam such as improving airflow into the engine compartment / radiator and increasing downforce in race cars, but the main purpose for the Volt is to decrease drag while at highways speeds, thus increasing your overall battery range.

With the Air Dam the Chevy Volt has one of the lowest front end ground clearances of any production automobile – as low as some Corvettes and other sports cars (roughly 3.5 inches).  This has lead to many owners complaining about Front End Scraping when entering and exiting driveways, when hitting large speedbumps or potholes etc.  Keep in mind however that this air dam essentially a highly flexible rubber like plastic that is designed to flex when encountering said driveways and potholes.

Beyond the noise it makes (distracting as it might be to some) a question asked has been, how long will these things hold up under normal use?   I’ve now been driving my #10 Chevy Volt for just over 7 months on a daily basis with entry and exits on my driveway causing daily scraping on the air dam.  Additionally, going over the speed humps here will cause the air dam to scrape.  You can see a few pictures below of what the air dam does when entering a driveway.

Chevy Volt Entering Driveway / Air Dam Chevy Volt Entering Driveway Closeup

You can see that the air dam will essentially scrape on all but the gentlest of driveway grades.  Below you’ll see the actual air dam deflecting to accommodate the driveway.

Chevy Volt Climbing Driveway

If you can get over the scraping noises (they don’t really bother me), the next question is how long will this thing last getting punished like this on a daily basis?  You can see a detailed shot below of my Chevy Volt Air Dam condition after 7 months.

Chevy Volt Air Dam after 6 months

You’ll notice that there is obvious wear and in some places the air dam has started a tear along the bottoms where it tends to flex the most.  You’ll note that the tear starts where the air dam is asked the flex the most.  You may have also noticed in the photos that in entering my driveway, I do my best to enter it diagonally as you would walk a car over a speed bump.  In that way it keeps the front end from diving too much into the pavement.

If I were to guess, I’d say that given my usage the air dam as factory installed will last about another 6-9 months before needing to be replaced.

GM is also offering free of charge, a new shorter air dam to be installed on all Volts.  Just contact your dealer and request it.  There should be no additional charge as GM is covering the costs for this replacement.  There are questions currently as to how much the shorter air dam will impact overall battery range, but do keep in mind if you opt for the shorter air dam that there will be a minor decrease in aerodynamic efficiency.  Your style of driving and driving speed will still have a much greater influence on your range than the shorter air dam.

See video below of a complete view of the air dam against a driveway.

12 Responses to “Chevy Volt Air Dam Wear After 7 Months”

  1. Fred says:

    I see in the closeup that the tab connecting the side section of the air dam to the center section is properly inserted. Mine comes out all the time and I have to reinsert it. I figured this was due to scraping on the driveway. Do you find that you have to always reinsert yours as well, or does yours stay connected?

    • PatrickZWang says:

      Hey Fred,

      The tab hasn’t ever come all the way out for me. On the other side, it is starting to pull out just a little bit.

      Patrick

    • Robert says:

      I see this is a old post so I don’t know if you still have your Volt, but here’s my solution to the tab on the air dam coming out.
      I went to the hardware store and bought some HD Velcro for outdoor use. I then cleaned up the back of the dam and tab with rubbing alcohol, and attached the Velcro to the back of the tab and to the dam. It works great and hasn’t come apart.

  2. JeffU says:

    I like the scraping sound.

  3. Brian Hatch says:

    My airdam joint separated on the drivers side within the first week. I believe it was caused when backing out of my parking spot at my condo when it catches on the concrete parking stop. I have reinserted it twice; not an easy tak for an old guy!

  4. James says:

    An auto-adjustable electro-hydraulic speed sensitive suspension ( AAESSS? ) is needed for all hybrids, PHEVs, EREVs and BEVs. It may not find it’s way onto Volt unless as an aftermarket or optional item – yet a higher-line Buick “Electra” Voltec could come with it as standard.

    Why? The airdam’s aero advantage doesn’t really come into play until 40 mph and over – reaching highest effect at highway speeds and above. A shorter lip styled like the one found on the pre-production showcars or even the smaller airdam found on early working prototypes ( look at very early test photos ) would suffice and the car lowers itself over 40 mph. This way curbs, speedbumps and steep inclines are not an issue anymore, and the car is lower than it’s present ’11-’12 stock height when it needs to be.

    I haven’t ordered my Volt yet in Seattle because I want to see the MyLink in use and the new color choices in person, and ordering one here in a second-tier rollout area still means a long wait. Plus, dealers here are still gouging $2,000 over MSRP….( ! ) I now drive a Touring Edition 2007 Prius which had the stiffer suspension and larger wheels and tires than average Prii. With the larger wheels and tires ( a tad wider, not much ) the Touring model takes about a 3-5 mpg hit. Right away I noticed when I loaded the car full of weight, lowering it down and driving with lots of freeway in the trip my mileage increased a significant amount. One trip on I-5 through Seattle with hills and a few local byways tossed in saw 60.3 mpg vs. the same trip in similar traffic and weather with me alone in the car seeing 47ish! It seems counterintuitive due to the added weight, but it seems the car gains aero efficiency due to being lower down on the suspension. Three people in the back with my larger than average ( quite heavy ) mom in the passenger side, and me ( 6′ 1″ , 200 ) driving.

    There is your airdam scraping solution – with the added benefit of increased AER.

    RECHARGE!

    James – uber Volt fan, regular on GM-Volt.com since 2007

  5. James says:

    Hey Patrick,

    Looks like possibly a wedge-shaped or taperd 4″ X 2″ board across that drop off from your sidewalk to asphalt transition would deal pretty well with that initial step up which is causing most your rub on the curb cut before your driveway. A dab of asphalt would do also but not sure if that’s doable to code there where you live.

    I know you can come up with something as you are pretty inventive and skillful with your stuff from what I’ve seen of that nifty solution you came up with for your charge cord! : ) ” That’s sweet! ” I said, when I saw it.

    If that little two inch bump up was tapered at a 55-60 degree angle or so, it seems it would place your airdam at a better attack angle to the curb cut. Sure it won’t help all the ups and downs your Volt sees in an average week, but at least that repetitive daily in/out sandpapering it gets at your home would be rectified.

    Let me know what you come up with.

    RECHARGE!

    James

  6. PatrickZWang says:

    Hey James,

    I’ve seen others in the area with the proverbial 2×4 / wood shims – it just strikes me as a little tacky :)

    Originally I wanted to see how the air dam would do, as it should be designed to flex, but as with any rubber/plastic component – it will eventually fail.

    Patrick

  7. Emily says:

    I’ve owned my Volt for about two weeks and the car has about 600 miles on it. In addition to the air dam scraping issue, I found my bumper hanging off my car. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Not just the air dam, but specifically with the bumper?

    • PatrickZWang says:

      The bumper should not be hanging unless you hit it hard somehow.

      Assuming you didn’t damage it, I would have your dealer replace the fasteners holding it in. (maybe one of the fasteners was improperly installed)

      Patrick

  8. samantha says:

    I dont have a volt but a chevy malibu 2014 thinking ots the same thing but I heard scraping noise… will my car be alright or should I park on road

Leave a Reply to samantha