One way to customize your vehicle's appearance is to equip it with a billet grille. The billet grille is a custom grille insert that you can avail to either cover or replace your vehicle's stock grille insert. A typical billet grille is made from aluminum, stainless steel, or ABS plastic. You can actually opt for either of two types of billet grilles - bolt over billet grilles and replacement billet grilles.The former is easier to install since it easily snaps onto the existing grille insert through hidden bolts, clamps and brackets. On the other hand, the replacement billet grill requires that you completely replace the existing grille insert. In some cases, you would need to do some cutting and light drilling. But the replacement billet grille, when properly installed, looks better and lasts longer than its bolt-on counterpart. To get the best billet grille for your vehicle, trust only Carparts.
• We offer stylish, durable billet grilles to customize your vehicle's look.
• Aside from enhancing your vehicle's looks, a billet grille allows the easier entry of clean air into the engine compartment.
• The billet grilles we offer are accurately cut and designed to fit most vehicle makes and models; you don't have to bother with cutting.
Billet Grille Buyer's Guide
- One of the common grille types is the billet grille. This type comes with a series of stacked bars that can stack either horizontally or vertically.
- A billet grille covers the opening in the car’s front that leads to the engine and guards it against harmful objects. It also defines the appearance of your car.
- You can classify billet grilles into three types: Replacement, inserts, and overlays.
- A billet grille can sell for anywhere between $62 and $1,617. You can get individual grilles or sets of multiple parts if you need spares.
- Be it a replacement, insert, or overlay billet grille, you want a new grille that fits your car’s front snugly and securely.
- Common materials used in billet grilles include stainless steel, aluminum, and ABS plastic.
Few body parts define the appearance of a vehicle as much as its grille. The grille dominates the front end and grabs the attention of people inspecting the car from that end.
One of the common grille types is the billet grille. Many vehicles carry impressive-looking examples that may make you wish to install one in your car. Or your ride may come with a billet grille that needs replacement because of wear and tear or damage.
What is a billet grille?
This is a grille type with a series of stacked bars. The bars can stack either horizontally or vertically.
The number, thickness, and shape of a billet grille’s bars can vary. Traditional bars are no-nonsense rods, while aftermarket manufacturers offer fancier designs like flames, punch out, and tribal shapes.
Billet grilles require durable materials such as ABS plastic, aluminum, and steel. These materials can withstand heat from the running engine and radiator, exposure to the elements, and most minor impacts.
What does a billet grille do?
Billet grilles perform the same job as other grille types. They cover the opening in the car’s front that leads to the engine and guard it against harmful objects.
The gaps between the bars of the grille allow air to enter the engine compartment and flow over the radiator, reducing the temperature of the coolant going through the tubes.
The billet grille also blocks flying debris that will otherwise hit the radiator and damage the fragile component. Depending on the strength of the materials that comprise it and the thickness of its bars, the grille may even withstand anything short of a collision.
Finally, the billet grille helps define the appearance of your car. An aggressive-looking grill, for instance, makes the vehicle look more muscular.
Billet grille types
You can classify billet grilles into three types: Replacement, inserts, and overlays. Each type comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s up to you to decide which one best suits your budget, skills, and vehicle.
Replacement billet grille
This type replaces the entire stock grille. Manufacturers design replacement billet grilles to fit the intended vehicle with the same ease as factory-issue grilles produced by the carmaker.
A replacement billet grille melds with the car’s appearance, giving the appearance of being a stock part rather than an aftermarket part.
Some vehicles rely on bolts to secure their factory-issued grille. A compatible replacement grille comes with the right attachment points for those bolts, making it easy to replace the old one. Other vehicles require you to remove shrouds to reach the stock grille.
Insert billet grille
An insert billet grille replaces only the central part of a stock grille. It keeps the outer shell (also called the perimeter piece) of the old grille.
This type takes the most time and energy to install on your car. You must remove the stock grille from your car and cut away the central portion with a power saw. The insert billet grille goes into that gap.
Insert grilles rely on bolts or clamps to secure themselves to the stock grille’s outer shell. If the insert uses bolts, you may need to drill holes into the outer shell for the fasteners.
Some vehicles even force you to remove their front bumper covers before you can access the stock grille for modification. Taking these into consideration, insert billet grilles can seem daunting to anyone who lacks the skill and patience to install them.
On the upside, a billet grille insert can easily pass for a factory-issue part and fit the vehicle perfectly since it reuses the stock grille’s outer shell.
Bolt-on/Bolt-over/Overlay billet grille
Instead of replacing the stock grille, an overlay billet grille goes on top of it. These grilles use bolts, brackets, or clamps to fasten themselves.
Overlay billet grilles have several advantages compared to other types. You can install a bolt-over grille quickly and easily. Removing it goes just as swiftly. Best of all, you won’t have to remove any part or modify your car, which saves time, effort, and cash.
However, bolt-on grilles don’t always mesh well with the car. You may still notice the old grille behind the new one.
Cost of a billet grille
A billet grille doesn’t come cheap. Depending on its type and your vehicle, a grille’s price tag can range anywhere between $62 and $1,617. You can get individual grilles or sets of multiple parts if you need spares.
Compatibility with your vehicle
Be it a replacement, insert, or overlay billet grille, you want a new grille that fits your car’s front snugly and securely. For example, the GMC Sierra and the Dodge W250 are both pickup trucks, but a GMC Sierra billet grille isn’t interchangeable with a 1992 Dodge W250 billet grille.
Ask an expert for advice on the best billet grille for your car. If you’re getting a grille from an online car parts shop, enter your vehicle’s year, make, and model in the site’s filter bar to track down the most compatible product.
Common materials used in billet grilles
Over the decades, manufacturers have tried out many materials in search of the right mix of durability, flexibility, and cost. They settled on either stainless steel, aluminum, or ABS plastic for making billet grilles.
Few materials can match the strength and toughness of stainless steel to this day. Manufacturers continue to produce billet grilles from this material since it can shrug off almost anything that isn’t moisture.
A popular alternative material, aluminum offers several benefits over the traditional stainless steel. Its flexibility makes it easy to mold into the desired shape and it can endure harsh conditions. Aluminum also resists corrosion even better than stainless steel. If you drive in moist or snowy areas and want a rust-resistant billet grille, give some thought to picking an aluminum grille.
Short for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, ABS mixes two different polymers and a rubber type. The resulting plastic inherits the strength and stiffness of the polymers while also enjoying rubber-like durability, making it a popular choice for exterior and interior trim pieces. A billet grille made from ABS plastic can withstand corrosion, heat, and impacts. It’s also lighter than its metal counterparts.
What to Consider when Shopping for a Billet Grille
Some accents here and there are enough to dramatically change the way your car looks or add to its rugged, sporty, or even sophisticated charm. The billet grille is just one of the many ways to give your ride the facelift. If you're in the market for this accessory, here are the things you have to consider:
What are the different types of billet grille?
Different strokes for different folks-with this in mind, you have to consider the different types of billet grille before you make up your mind.
- Replacement billet grille - With this type of billet grille, you have to remove the entire factory grille with precision by using the right tools.
- Grille insert - A few modifications on the stock grille are needed when installing the insert. To take out the inner part of the existing grille, a jig saw may be used. The grille insert is then fitted into the opening and sealed with clamps and bolts.
- Bolt-on/Overlay type - Out of all the options, this is the most convenient to install, with no modifications or tedious work involved. You just have to lay it over or bolt it on the stock grille. It requires only simple tools and takes less than an hour to install, making it a great option for DIYers.
What are the materials used for making this grille?
Moisture, UV rays, dirt, and grime-these are the elements that can easily ruin exterior accessories. If you want a tougher exterior, then you'd want to have a billet grille that's made from the best materials. To help you make a decision, go over the list and see what each material has to offer.
- Aluminum- Flexible and highly resistant to corrosion, this material is commonly used in making billet grilles. This can be molded into different shapes and can withstand harsh conditions. If you want maximum protection against rust, an aluminum billet grille can be the answer.
- Stainless steel- Strength and durability-that's what makes stainless steel a top choice if you want something that will last. This material is often used in constructing traditional and customized grille inserts.
- ABS plastic- It may not be as durable as stainless steel and aluminum, but its light weight and low price more than make up for what it lacks. You don't have to worry about rust with billet grilles made of ABS plastic.
What about the designs?
Tons of designs and patterns allow you to find a billet grille that can create the look you have in mind, whatever suits your sense of style or your vehicle's overall design. Here are some options:
- Specialized/Custom grille inserts- Grille inserts can be molded in a wide variety of shapes and designs like tribal, flames, and what they call the punch out. The grille insert can be customized for different makes and models, so choices are almost endless.
- Traditional designs- If you want to go old-school, then you can choose from horizontal or vertical bars. These traditional designs may come with a perimeter (for the seamless or fierce look) or without one (for a free-floating effect).
Billet Grille: How to Install
You have what they call the horse collar, split kidney, six-bar shield, and fighter aircraft style-these are just some of the more famous grille designs used by Bugatti, BMW, Mitsubishi, and Alfa Romeo. If you want a ruggedly handsome exterior, a billet grille can definitely give your ride the much-needed facelift. Once you've found the perfect match for your ride, be ready to roll up your sleeves and put some elbow grease. Here are the steps for installing a new billet grille:
Difficulty level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- Billet grille
- Cutting grinder
- Adjustable wrench
- Allen wrench
Step 1: Taking out the old grille
Remove the entire front grille by disconnecting it from body clips and threaded bolts that hold the frame. Be sure to disengage the battery from the electrical system, along with its cable, to avoid short circuits. Some grilles require you to remove protective covers and other auto body parts that surround the turn signals and the headlamps.
Step 2: Cutting out old grille parts
Cut out some old grille parts using a handheld grinder to make sure there won't be rough edges after you've removed the old grille. You have to cut through metal or plastic parts so that the new grille will fit to a T and will be sealed tightly.
Step 3: Attaching the new grille
Use the mounting brackets and other fasteners to insert the billet grille into the cut opening. Tighten the clips to the frame of the grille through rivets or self-tapping screws. For some vehicles, you have to remove screws using an Allen wrench or a screwdriver to pull out old grille parts from the frame or their support. A billet grille may be bolted over the stock grille, while other types might need a mounting bracket to secure the new grille. How you'll fit and seal the new grille will depend on what type you have.
Step 4: Sealing the new grille
Remember the clips, protective covers, and other covers you've taken out? You need to put them back using the same fasteners. Make sure each piece is tightened and secured properly.
A few more tips:
- Different types of grille require various ways to install them. Some can be snapped into place; others will need brackets. The billet grille may be fitted over the one you have or be used as a complete replacement. Check the package and instructions, so you'll know what tools to use and exactly what to do.
- Measure the grille before you get started with cutting. If not measured and cut properly, you may need a new billet grille or front body clips because of this mistake.
- If you want the screws and bolts of the billet grille to be sealed or locked, a drop of Loctite on the threads will help.