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I bought a 2004 Saturn Ion 2 approximately 6 months ago and it has been running smoothly. However, after I drove home today, I noticed that a piece was coming off the bottom of the front end of the car. After a little bit of further investigating I found that the piece which was coming off seems to be some plastic used for protecting the parts behind it. It was originally attached at two sides, however the screw used to hold it on one side seems to have come off. I do not know when and where this happened. Additionally, I was driving with the piece dragging around on the road before I noticed it, so as far as I can tell the piece is not in immediate danger of breaking off. I have collected the following images of the piece, it's location on the car, and the way that it is / isn't attached:

The piece coming off as seen from the front of the car looking back. Camera is no more than a couple feet from the piece.

Piece from front

The place where the piece was detached, as seen from the front of the car looking back and to the right. Camera is just underneath the vehicle at this point.

Detached part

The part of the piece that was detached. As you can see the screw that was originally used to fasten the pieces together is completely missing, even though the hole is still intact.

Detached location

Another view of the detached location, this time showing some of the parts behind the detached piece. Do not know if this is relevant but decided to include it anyway.

Parts behind detached piece

The side that is still attached. Shows the parts that hold the plastic piece in place.

Attached side

The same part, but as seen from the back. I noticed that the screw does not reach all the way through, indicating that it is attached to something in the hollow tube to which the piece is fastened.

Back of piece

The attached piece again, this time viewed from underneath.

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As I see it, I have a couple options now:

  1. I can bring the car into a repair shop and ask them what they think I should do, and have them do it.
  2. I can use a zip tie or some string to fasten the piece roughly into the location it was before.
  3. I can remove it completely and hope for the best (probably not the best choice).

My question is now, what should I do? Am I overly concerned about the importance of this piece? Is there reason to worry? Will a makeshift attachment do the trick? Any and all help is appreciated and thanks in advance.

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I'm positive that's the air dam and it should be perpendicular to the ground. It looks to have curled over due to the weight of the part. The air dam helps with cooling the radiator. So you definitely want to keep the piece.

In the second picture there looks to be a broken bolt and bent bracket. It's hard to tell from the picture. That's where the air dam should mount. You may need to remove the bolts(?), you can use a pair of pliers or channel locks/vise grips to extract it. For the plastic rivets remove the other one take it to a store and buy 2 new rivets.

  • Thanks for your response. With regard to replacing the bolt, how do you believe it is attached. Specifically, I do not see why I cannot simply pull the entire air dam out toward the front of the car. As you can see in the second to last picture, there is no nut on the back of the piece it's fastened to to hold it in place. Is there a nut inside the tube it's connected to? (I've checked and it's closed on all four sides) – DreamConspiracy Nov 18 '17 at 4:20
  • @turkeypenguin ah, it may be another plastic rivet then. if you look at it from the bottom you should see an indent where you can separate the two pieces of the rivet. – Ben Nov 18 '17 at 4:33

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