Front Splitter vs Front Lip: Battle for Aerodynamic Dominance

Have you ever seen the fancy fiberglass aids added to sports car bumpers? Apart from giving these autos a distinct get-out-of-my-way look, these accessories improve aerodynamics.

To illustrate this, I’ll be exploring two of the most popular bumper mods: front splitter vs front lip

In a nutshell, a front splitter is a fiberglass or carbon fiber extension installed below the car’s front bumper. A front lip, however, is a rubber strip typically attached directly to the front bumper.

Read on to learn about their functions:

The Purpose of a Splitter?

A front splitter is an individual extension installed at the bottom of a vehicle’s front bumper. This feature has two important traits that you should keep in mind. One, it’s completely flat- a factor that allows it to sit parallel to the ground once installed.

Two, it extends quite a bit in front of the bumper. 

Most car splitters are made of carbon fiber. However, it’s not unusual to find a couple made of different materials; from fiberglass to polyurethane, ABS plastic, alumalite among other composites. 

The core function of a front splitter is to redirect airflow around the car.

To understand this, you need to familiarize yourself with how air flows when you’re driving. Now, as you accelerate and reach high speeds, what happens is that air pressure starts building up at the front of your vehicle. 

Part of this air pressure is directed upward and over the top of the car while the rest of it flows underneath the car. Since the air pressure that goes underneath the car is at a higher pressure than the portion flowing over the top of your car, it causes a slight lift. 

Unfortunately, this lift reduces the grip of the wheels on the road, and it can cause a bit of instability. To counter this, car enthusiasts like to add splitters to their front bumpers. 

The front splitter reduces lift by directing the high-pressure air upwards; hence, creating downforce. It is this downforce that causes the tires to hug the road more tightly, resulting in better traction and balance. 

The Purpose of a Lip?

A lip is a flexible, rubber strip that gets attached directly to the front bumper. Depending on where you come from, it might be known by other names, such as an air dam.  

Bumper lips have similar functions to front splitters. These functions include:

Reducing drag

One of the main functions of a bumper lip is to reduce drag. 

When you’re driving, the car encounters force from the air streaming under and over it.

This slows it down, reducing its overall speed and fuel efficiency. Installing a bumper lip alters the way air flows around your car; thus, reducing the drag effect.

Improving looks

Adding a front lip is one of the easiest ways to give your car a sporty look. It adds a layer of sophistication and sportiness to the exterior, making it stand out from the crowd. 

Protecting the bumper

Another function of the front lip is to maximize the front bumper’s protection. If installed correctly, the lip covers the front bumper’s bottom edge.

This area is the most prone to dents, scratches, and nicks so adding the lip offers extra protection. 

What Is the Difference Between a Splitter and a Front Lip?

Many people confuse a front lip with a front splitter. And although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they’re two entirely different features. Here’s a list of things that differentiate the two:

Structure and Composition

The most notable difference between a front splitter and a front lip is their visual appearance. 

A splitter is a flat piece of bodywork that sticks out below the front bumper. It’s typically made of composite materials like carbon fiber or fiberglass. 

On the other hand, a lip is a flexible piece of rubber attached straight to the front bumper.

Unlike the splitter, which is flat and parallel to the surface, the lip assumes a wedge shape and it doesn’t extend outwards as much as splitters do. 


By now, you know that both the front splitter and front lip work by disrupting the air flowing over and underneath your car. 

This action increases the front downforce; hence, improving the car’s traction and handling. This also improves stability at high speeds and the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

However, the extent to which these mods play these roles differs, and this has to do with their structures and placement.

The front splitter sits much closer to the ground – an aspect that enables it to reduce the amount of air passing underneath significantly. 

The lip, however, doesn’t extend out that much.

This means that it doesn’t disrupt the airflow as vigorously as a front splitter does. So if you’re looking for an accessory that will provide the most performance benefits, a splitter is your best bet.  

Should You Get Your Car a Front Splitter or Front Lip?

This decision should be based on the goal you’re trying to achieve. 

If you’re looking to reduce drag while maximizing the bumper’s protection, then a front lip is the best choice.

But, if you only want to reduce lift and improve traction and stability, then a front splitter does a better job. 

Does a Front Splitter Make a Difference?

Yes, it does. Front splitters make a whole lot of difference to your car’s performance.

For one, they improve handling by directing airflow away from the underside of the car. This not only helps to reduce drag but also improves fuel efficiency. 

Secondly, the front splitter enhances your car’s cooling capability.

It directs more air to the radiator and engine bay; thus, keeping it cool. This, in turn, allows the engine to perform optimally, helping you reach higher speeds easily. 

What Is the Difference Between a Lip Spoiler and a Splitter?

Lip spoiler is another name for the front lip. This means it’s also a flexible piece of rubber attached to the front bumper while a splitter is a flat, carbon-fiber mod installed below the bumper.  

Is a Front Spoiler a Splitter?

Yes, it is. A splitter is essentially a front spoiler. This aftermarket accessory is typically installed in a race car to improve performance by creating high-pressure air on top of the car. 

Doing so helps to reduce drag, increase downforce and improve the traction of the race car on the track’s surface. 

In fact, it’s unusual to find front spoilers on standard cars as they’re not capable of achieving overly high speeds. However, some car enthusiasts install them with the aim of improving cooling.

The splitter directs airflow to the engine bay, helping it to cool faster. 

Only a few standard cars are fitted with front spoilers, and these are typically luxury models like Ferraris, Bugattis, and Lamborghinis.  

Other Features That Improve Cars’ Aerodynamics

When it comes to improving your car’s aerodynamics, front spoilers, and bumper lips aren’t the only players in the game. You’re free to install other accessories like:

  • Rear diffuser – located in the rear, the rear diffuser acts like an expansion room. It controls the air exiting from underneath the car by reincorporating it with the high-pressure air in the atmosphere. This results in less drag and turbulence.
  • Rear wings – they serve a similar function of reducing drag. The rear wings achieve this by trapping the air stemming from the car and then redirecting it to the top. In doing so, they create downforce, improving the car’s traction and grip.


If you’ve been looking for ways to improve the aerodynamics of your car, you’ve probably encountered a front splitter vs front lip. 

A front splitter is a flat piece of equipment installed at the bottom of the front bumper. Meanwhile, a front lip is a flexible rubber strip added to the bumper, providing all-around coverage.

Both accessories give your vehicle a sporty look. More importantly, they alter the direction of airflow so as to improve performance.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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