Automakers have been able to do miraculous things with regard to boosting their trucks’ fuel economy figures, and Ford for one has pulled out all the stops to make it happen. In one of the biggest shocks to the pickup truck segment in decades, the F-150, America’s best-selling vehicle, switched entirely over to an aluminum alloy body for the 2015 model year. Now, a generation later, we have a proper F-150 hybrid, and the Blue Oval has continued to make strides with the truck’s aerodynamic efficiency, including with a standard F-150 Active Air Dam that deploys automatically to lower drag at speeds greater than 40 mph.
Unfortunately, as the editors of Cars.com recently found out, that Active Air Dam costs a pretty penny to replace, should it ever decide to get up and wander off.
The Cars editors’ leading theory for what happened to their F-150 Active Air Dam is not actually that it spontaneously became sentient and, reflecting upon its poor working conditions and lack of upward mobility, elected to take an indefinite leave of absence. Rather, it’s that when the truck met with a tire tread on the freeway over the summer, the tread ripped the air dam clean off the truck. That’s the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.
Regardless, it’s the repair bill that came after that really has us concerned; in all, Cars.com had to shell out $1,161 to replace the F-150 Active Air Dam. That’s including the cost of both actuators, priced at $241.52 and $218.68 respectively; the air dam blade, at $112.83; and $588 in labor. Of course, if something similar were ever to happen to your truck, there’s a reasonably good chance that your insurance might pick up the tab. Just don’t expect it to be covered under warranty.
The Ford F-150 Active Air Dam on the current Ford F-150 isn’t strictly necessary for the safe, reliable operation of the truck, but it boosts aerodynamic efficiency by as much as 4 percent, says Ford. That’s considerable, and it helps the F-150 hybrid achieve an EPA-estimated 24 mpg even with 4-wheel drive equipped. You’re going to want to keep yours in proper functioning condition.