If you’ve noticed a low hanging front valance on practically every new car out there, you’re not just imagining it. It’s a pretty new trend, and it’s partially a result of federal fuel economy rules.
The new fuel economy requirements encourage automakers to improve aerodynamics to boost fuel economy. One of the easiest ways to improve fuel economy is to reduce the amount of air that flows under the front of the vehicle. Automakers do this by lowering the bottom edge of the front of the car with a hunk of plastic on the underside of the vehicle’s bumper.
Lower front valances do boost fuel economy, and make vehicles look a little sportier. Unfortunately, they’re also vulnerable to damage. For example, it’s pretty common for the lower front valance on many late model Corvettes to crack from even minor impacts.
If you find yourself with a cracked or broken lower front valance, you have a few replacement options:
1. Replace it With an OEM Valance
While this is always a good way to fix a vehicle, it’s also expensive. OEM parts are top dollar. For example, the OEM replacement lower front valance for 2002-2005 Audi A4 models is over $140. That’s a pretty hefty price tag for something that’s only going to break again in due time.
2. Replace it With an Aftermarket Valance
You can do this if you’re looking to give your vehicle a sportier, more aggressive look. There are plenty of valances designed to look sporty and aggressive. Some aftermarket companies sell OEM-style replacements, as well. While aftermarket valances may be inexpensive, they still need prep and paint before installation. As a result, an aftermarket valance may end up costing even more than an OEM one.
3. Install a Bumper Protection Strip
Are you looking to save money and add an extra layer of protection to your front bumper? You can give your car that lowered look and you can keep the existing damaged or cracked valance. Just supplement it with a bumper protection strip like the Razor Lip.
This option might not offer the most durability. A hard plastic replacement is obviously more sturdy than soft rubber strip. But, it usually looks great and does the job.
Also, an inexpensive bumper protection strip like the Razor Lip is usually quite a bit cheaper than a genuine OEM replacement. And it’ll last much longer. Win win.