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Thread: Purpose of the piece of plastic below the frame

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Purpose of the piece of plastic below the frame

    I have a 2012 Fiat and today driving it during our snow/ice storm here in Dallas, a large piece of black plastic attached to the lower frame became a snow shovel and was torn off at the plastic rivets on the front edge. I now am wondering what is the purpose of this piece of plastic is and is it needed.

    Thank you for you assistance.

  2. #2
    Lifetime Member Lifetime Member Abarth619's Avatar
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    Did you hit anything with the undercarriage of your car? That piece shouldn't have come off unless it was hit by something. If its the piece I'm thinking of, I'm pretty sure that its held in with metal screws. Its purpose is to keep water out of the engine bay and protect the under pieces from light road debris.

    EDIT: If its the front piece right after the splitter, it protects the radiator.

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    Lifetime Member Lifetime Member FTY's Avatar
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    If you can grab a picture of the damage.

    2012-FIAT ABARTH
    2015-ALFA ROMEO 4C
    2018-ALFA ROMEO GIULIA QUADRIFOGLIO
    EUROCOMPULSION STORE
    THE BITTERNESS OF POOR QUALITY REMAINS LONG AFTER THE SWEETNESS OF LOW PRICE IS FORGOTTEN.

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    joh1135 (12-07-2013)

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    Additioinal information

    Sorry, first time I ever had to look under the car. The piece(s) I am talking about mounted about the middle of the doors on the frame. The first photo is on the drivers side and the second photo shows the passenger side with the ice/snow on top of the plastic. I took the drivers side one off, the third photo is what I am taking about - why is it there?

    Thanks again


    photo 1.JPGphoto 2.JPGphoto3.JPG
    Last edited by joh1135; 12-07-2013 at 11:57 AM. Reason: Added picture

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    Super Moderator Tweak's Avatar
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    Sort of thinking of the plastic shield that lessens water and dirt entering the engine bay, also likely plays a factor with airflow to some degree. I also know it eats screwdriver head bits...so there's that "purpose".

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    joh1135 (12-07-2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by joh1135 View Post
    Sorry, first time I ever had to look under the car. The piece(s) I am talking about mounted about the middle of the doors on the frame. The first photo is on the drivers side and the second photo shows the passenger side with the ice/snow on top of the plastic. I took the drivers side one off, the third photo is what I am taking about - why is it there?

    Thanks again
    photo 1.JPGphoto 2.JPGphoto3.JPG
    What came off in your pic is called an "encapsulation panel." It is the bottom engine cover. All new cars have them and they greatly improve airflow while at the same time protecting the engine from getting things like plastic trash bags and junk from getting in places where they could cause damage.

    Some people remove the panels once they break and all is fine, but you are exposing the bottom of the engine to a potential problem. It looks like you probably got excess snow or ice on top of it and it broke off. I strongly recommend that you try to reattach it or buy a new one (if it is not under warranty).

    Steve

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    Replace it. If the car didn't need it, Fiat would have saved money by not installing it.
    2013 500 Turbo Grigio 23K Miles (Mine)
    2013 500 Sport 5 Speed Bianco Perla 8K Miles (Hers)

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