Why does the 2024 Toyota Tacoma have such a huge air dam?

It’s been a growing trend in trucks but the Tacoma has the biggest one I’ve seen yet. In modern trucks, they are incredibly important and essential to the fuel economy and aerodynamics of long vehicles. For a clearer explanation, Comments Editor Chris Tsui asked Tacoma chief engineer Sheldon Brown about the air dam.

“The air dam is part of the aerodynamic package. These trucks, we’ve raised them quite a bit, they’ve gotten wider, they’ve gotten a little bit longer, and that means increased drag coefficient x area, which means more drag on the truck,” Brown said.

Essentially, an air dam redirects air around the hard-swept front wheels and gives the truck much better aerodynamics. Most of the concern surrounding an air dam was about ground clearance, but Brown addressed that as well and revealed that an air dam can easily be removed in the field if needed.

“It’s a functional air dam, it has holes in there so you can get to the recovery points, and if you decide you want to take it off-road, a simple shot with a Phillips screwdriver or hex-head socket—zip, zip, zip—starts it up right away, Then it works again.” Brown also explored the possibility of an automatically retracting wing. “But the Tundra’s front overhang is about 90mm shorter. So we don’t have much room to fit that far.”

So, the air dam serves a specific purpose and can be easily removed, even if it looks a little silly on such a long truck. We can’t wait to properly test the new truck in the coming months.

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