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On my 2013 Kia Rio, there is a plastic strip underneath the front bumper that has been almost entirely torn off - undoubtedly due to the occasional times I've pulled up a bit too close to a curb (this is the piece that scrapes on the concrete when that happens).

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Apparently, it's proper designation is "LIP - FRONT BUMPER 86525G". I can get a replacement for under $25, and it looks easy enough to install - my question is should I even bother? Frankly, it doesn't look like this part serves any purpose other than scraping on the concrete when I pull up too close to a curb. I'm sure I'd just destroy the replacement within a few months - the front of this car slopes so sharply that I cannot see the hood at all from inside, so I have a hard time judging exactly where the bumper is.

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While I completely agree with what @JPhi1618 says as the reasons for the lip being there, I disagree with his assessment as to if you should replace this. While it's not very large, these do help with airflow through the radiator. Even the smallest lip creates a low pressure zone behind it which helps bring air down through the radiator while moving. This helps with cooling and you'll probably notice a big difference in cooling efficiency when driving, especially when at speed. Since the cost of this piece is relatively low and easy of installation seems to be on your side, my recommendation is to replace this part.

  • I am skeptical that this piece has a significant/noticeable effect on cooling efficiency. It probably has some effect, but I am doubtful you would see that expressed on the temp gauge. I would guess it's more effective at medium speeds, at high speed you have the ram effect blasting through the radiator. I could be completely wrong. On the other hand, if an auto manufacturer went to the time and expense to put it on the car it must have some meaningful benefit (not styling). I don't think they care if you mash your oil pan. I would guess it makes a difference in fuel efficiency testing. – Tim Nevins Nov 13 '17 at 22:12
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These plastic trim pieces do a few things.

They help with aerodynamics to reduce drag of the air under the car, and in some instances, can help create a low-pressure area that helps draw more air through the radiator. It may even stiffen the lower edge of the bumper so it doesn't flap in the wind at high speeds.

The other, more dubious purpose, is to serve as a warning that you're about to drag your oil pan over a curb or parking lot tire stop.

The one on your car is so small, I would just take it off the rest of the way so it doesn't look trashy, and call it a day. I wouldn't replace it.

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