Dodge Charger and Challenger air dams were apparently getting scratched during shipment between the assembly plant and the dealership, so Dodge installed some yellow plastic “shipping covers,” which are supposed to be taken off at the dealer. Except now people are keeping them in place because they like the look and some folks are even selling them on Ebay for a pretty penny.
Hop onto any Hellcat or Charger/Challenger forum, and you’ll find heated discussions about the little yellow plastic air dam protectors with “To Be Removed By Dealer” written on their fronts, mostly because people are using what was meant to be a temporary shipping protection method as a car modification.
These little yellow plastic air dam protectors (also called splitter guards or splitter protectors) come from the factory, and act as a way to mitigate damage during shipping, with Fiat Chrysler saying in a technical service bulletin about cover removal: “Bright yellow shipping covers have been added during vehicle production to prevent/lessen damage to the front fascia air dam during vehicle transport.”
Several folks say it’s dumb to keep the shipping covers in place, while many love the look. Some folks are selling the covers, while a few folks are mad that people are asking money for something meant to be thrown away. It’s all a bunch of typical internet drama.
“Driving around with the yellow protectors is like keeping the Styrofoam protector’s on your television after you have removed it from the box...” forum-goer Hunter from Hellcat.org opines. “Selling packing material. Good job. That is hilarious. I peeled off the screen protector from my nav unit when I bought my car. PM me if anyone wants to buy it,” Hammer Down from the same forum jokes in an air dam protector for-sale post.
Speaking of for-sale posts, there are many, because the air dam shipping covers have become hot modifications in the Charger and Challenger scene. Here’s a pair on Ebay from a 2017 Challenger R/T Scat Pack; the listing has 25 bids already, and the price has reached $111 with over a day to go. Here’s a Charger Hellcat set for sale on Ebay for $140 (there are a number of Charger splitter covers for sale for around $100), and then there are the Challenger Demon covers, which command over $200 in some cases.
The aforementioned technical service bulletin, which applies to Hellcat Challengers, describes how these protective covers are installed. Apparently there’s either one little push pin (also called a “christmas tree”) specifically there to hold the cover on, or there are two push pins, which double to keep the air dam together (the two clips must be replaced after removal, the one does not).
Lots of Challenger and Charger owners aren’t removing any of these christmas trees, as they like the way their covers look. And if I’m honest, I don’t disagree. I must admit that the two Charger R/T Scat Packs sitting outside the old Detroit police station looked damn good with the little yellow accents on their lower corners:
There are a couple of issues with keeping the covers on, of course. Dirt, some forum members say, can get caught between the yellow plastic and the lower facia, and over time, the relative motion between the two parts can cause abrasion of the car’s clear coat.
But some folks just throw some tape on the back side of the cover or just make sure to keep its back nice and clean. A number of people have also painted theirs, like this gentleman, YouTuber Shoka252, whose red set actually looks pretty sharp:
I myself am a fan of the trend; any time people are out there modifying their vehicles or getting amped up on forums about cars, I see that as a good thing.
Sure, the parts were initially designed to protect the car during shipment, and not to actually become permanent fixtures on the bottom of L-car air dams. But still; they look good, and if I were Fiat Chrysler, I’d be either selling these things, or offering air dams with painted accents, because clearly there’s quite a bit of demand for some more color on that lower fascia.