How to Avoid Breaking a Low Air Dam on a Corvette - WSJ.com | Catalog-cars

How to Avoid Breaking a Low Air Dam on a Corvette – WSJ.com

14 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on How to Avoid Breaking a Low Air Dam on a Corvette – WSJ.com
Mercury Grand Marquis

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2008 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible GM/Wieck

A: My father’s 1982 Pontiac Trans-Am had a similar problem he solved by traversing the driveway apron at an angle (and very slowly) instead of approaching straight-on. Of course doing so increases the chance of rolling over the curb and causing even more damage. So you’ll have to drive as delicately as possible in driveways, parking lots and around speed bumps.

One thing you shouldn’t do is remove the annoyingly vulnerable part. My dad did that only to find that the cheap-looking sliver of black plastic directed air toward the radiator and kept the car from overheating. The air dam on your Corvette is part of an intricate aerodynamic scheme that won’t work properly without it.

An increased focus on aerodynamics and what the industry sometimes calls air management means that even drivers of family sedans, station wagons and minivans have to be careful not to scrape low-hanging air dams, spoilers and splitters in driveway aprons and parking lot curbs.

Q: A friend of mine wants to buy a new 2009 Mini Cooper but the local dealership refuses to give any discount off the sticker price. Amid the recession, severely depressed car sales and the recent layoff of workers at the Mini cooper factory, what’s the deal?

— Gregory H Schuchard,

St. Paul, Minn.

A: Pay retail? Maybe if you’re buying a Ferrari.

Mercury Grand Marquis

Seriously, though, that Mini dealer may still be living in 2008, when the brand’s sales grew 28% while most other vehicles’ sales fell sharply. I have read that Minis generally continue to sell for the full retail price, but the company’s sales have fallen at a double-digit rate so far this year. I think dealers, no matter how proud, will soon be offering deals to keep the cars moving.

Your friend should be patient and keep trying.

Q: I’m trying to decide between a used Audi A4 and a used Acura TL. I just started a new job which involves commuting on the D.C. beltway about 60 miles round trip. I’ve always been attracted to both models as I’m looking for something that’s entry level luxury, relatively economical, and a sports sedan in temperament. I’m leaning toward the Acura for reliability but I think the Audi will give me better gas mileage.

What do you think?

— Kirk Brafford,

Potomac, Md.

A: Either car would probably meet your requirements for relative luxury and fuel economy. But I think your 60 mile commute would be better spent in the Audi. The A4 has long been one of the best-furnished cars nice enough to make traffic jams bearable.

I don’t think the Acura can match it.

Regarding the sport-sedan temperament, I wonder: Have you considered a BMW 3-Series? I find the BMW more athletic and fun-to drive than the Acura or Audi, and I recorded 30 mpg on long trips in one.

Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Grand Marquis
Mercury Grand Marquis

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