Should C8 Corvette Owners Be Concerned Over Damage to the Front Radiators?


Should C8 Corvette Owners Be Concerned Over Damage to the Front Radiators?

Photo Credit: Ron Harris / Facebook

Should you be concerned that the open corner vents of the front fascia of the new C8 Corvette could allow damage to the equipment behind them by flying rocks and other debris?

General Motors’ official word is no, but some owners are expressing their doubts.

“What people are seeing is cosmetic,” a GM spokesperson told this week. “We have determined that it does not degrade the performance of the vehicle.”

The large vents on each corner of the front bumper of the new Stingray allow airflow to reach the air conditioning condensers and engine radiators mounted behind them. Only a large honeycomb insert serves as protection.

We tend to believe that with the hundreds of thousands of miles of extensive testing done by General Motors during the development of the new Corvette, that if there was a performance problem with the design of these vents, other than appearance, the company would have discovered that already and fixed it.

Should C8 Corvette Owners Be Concerned Over Damage to the Front Radiators?

Still, that hasn’t kept some Corvette owners from resorting to their own “solutions” to what they perceive as a problem. One person even used screens from a Home Depot gutter guard to protect his radiators from rocks and bugs.

John Elegant, co-founder of the, says he’s worried that such a homemade solution could cut down on heat exchanging capabilities, especially on a hot day, stop and go, track use, etc.

“A mid-engine needs complete cooling,” Elegant posted on his website, “and GM upped their standards for the C8 to ensure it has excellent capability in this area. We have to be careful not to jeopardize that with a garden variety solution.”

We would tend to agree with John that it’s not worth rushing to fix a problem that may not even exist, though posts on indicate that even the aftermarket is apparently working on solutions.

Bottom line for me as a C8 owner is to keep a watchful eye on the situation and make sure there isn’t a problem with overheating caused by rock damage. I’m pretty picky, but to me the vents themselves are so low to the ground that you would have to practically sit on the ground to notice any cosmetic damage. I’m much more concerned about flying rocks chipping the bumper, which is much more visible.

Source: and C8 Corvette Owners (And Friends)

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  1. I believe what we see on either side are AC Condensers and I put gills in front of those the first day I had my C8. Cut aluminium screen material to shape and covered the bottom 3/4 of the condensers by zipe tying them to the existing open space grill work. I have seen the get rich guick grills so.eo e made up but mine works just as good and cost less then $20.00. The radiators behind those are already protected by the condensers. Replace a condenser isn’t cheap either and Corvette won’t cover them fir replacement even though they are designed that way with little protection from flying rocks. Nothing will ever break if you don’t drive your C8. But I got mine to drive!

  2. I don’t care what GM says bent fins means less heat transfer radiator or condenser each will become less efficient

  3. I installed a screen infront of these two condensers that matches the screen on the back lower fascia. It just looks right and it in no way impedes the flow of air. But it will deflect the gravel size or larger rock from hitting the condenser. The screen is much less expensive to replace so it made sense to me to install this bit of protection.

  4. This design has to be one of the worst they could have come up with. If your driving down the road at seventy or eighty mph and a small rock hits the condenser it will go right into that aluminium. Or its going to look like crape with a bunch of little dents in it man it’s a Vette.

  5. Don’t tell me that bent fins won’t effect the Efficiency of the radiators. I’m putting screens on my car right away. I’m planning on driving the car everyday rain or shine. What are the going to look like after 30k miles?

  6. GM C8 owners should absolutely be concerned about the lack of protect for those units. And that’s because when they fail due to damage you guys won’t be covering the cost to replace them! Not only will they get damaged, but aesthetically they look awful when they are filled with debris.

  7. Low front end will scoop up every bit of debris, rocks, and bugs. Why would you want to own a $80,000 car just to have it look like an over the road truck. Poor design.

  8. Yes, C8 owners should be concerned and the aftermarket already has a solution. Bent fins will reduce cooling effectiveness, a hard hit from a projectile can cause a leak (see below), and the cosmetic damage is noticeable from a few feet away. I purchased pre-cut powder-coated mesh for the inner and outer openings for my ‘21 C8 Z51 that I will install next week. In this case, it’s not some janky bodge based on bits from the garden center. This is the same quality mesh I’ve purchased in sheets in the past to fab panels for my brake ducts and to protect the condenser on my track toy that was destroyed at Willow Springs. It’s not the most elegant installation (using black tie-wraps) but it’s effective and inexpensive insurance. Note: I used tie-wraps on my track car’s mesh and they’ve held up for years and aren’t noticeable unless you’re rolling around on a creeper.

  9. By design, they flow air through them and the radiators located behind them. ANY air flow restriction due to bent or collapsed fins will impede the cooling (heat dissipation) process. And as we all know it’s excess heat that can kill high performance ICEs. Source the right radiator fin comb tool and learn how to use it when performing regular maintenance!

  10. Why don’t we just quit beating around the bush with all of this Negative talk about the radiator system of the new Corvette And just admit or convincing everybody To go electric so we won’t have this radiator problem I’ve never seen a negative campaign posted against its own product Only to make the public accept the electric Corvette that’s on the way

  11. My biggest worry would be stones falling off dump trucks and construction trailers either directly or secondary from tires picking up stones and redistributing them into your condensers. Stone impacts crack windshields every day [had my share] and can certainly pierce aluminum condenser tubes. Gm should have installed a 1/4″ mesh screen to catch debris over 1/4″ and prevent this damage. Cost would be minimal,less than adding Tonawanda New York to valvecovers but that is more important to GM. Flash not sense.

  12. I purchased one of those kits that are smaller in size and look amazing. I do worry that hard driving over an extended period will cause heat reduction. I’m going to note my cars temperatures in several conditions before I install these protective covers and then I will note the car’s temps afterward to see the difference in cooking efficiency. AF

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