Grille Assembly Buyer's Guide
- The grille assembly is installed at the front of the vehicle as an identifying feature, to protect the car from debris, and provide ventilation for internal parts.
- There are two types of grille assemblies based on design: billet grilles and mesh grilles.
- An automotive grill replacement is necessary when there is damage from debris, rust, corrosion, cracks, or breakage. Replacement can also be done for customization.
- The cost of an OEM replacement grille assembly ranges anywhere between $140 to 3,200.
The grille assembly is the closest thing a car has to face. It’s one of the things that gives your vehicle a distinct look, even from a mile away. But aside from being an identifying feature, your car’s grille doubles as protection for important components housed under the hood. To learn more about its role in keeping your engine safe, let’s take a closer look at what the grille assembly is and how it works.
What is a grille assembly?
An automotive grille assembly is a feature that makes a car recognizable as it drives down the road. The grille of a car is typically installed in between the headlights, but older vehicle models may also have them in the back. Bumpers and fenders may also have grilles built into it.
You’ll notice that every car manufacturer has their own distinct look which gives every vehicle its own identity. Grilles are typically installed at the front fascia of the vehicle to protect the car from debris, and provide ventilation for internal components.
How does a car grille work?
Some vehicles have grille assemblies that are purely cosmetic, but most serve a functional use in the car. The grille is mainly responsible for the ventilation of engine components. The slats in the grille help move cold air from the front of the car to the radiator, A/C condenser, and engine.
This process helps keep temperatures stable and prevent overheating while the car is moving.
Apart from its use in cooling down other internal parts of the vehicle, the front grille also provides protection for your car. Its location in the front of the vehicle makes it effective in keeping debris from entering the engine and damaging other components under the hood.
Types of grille assembly
There are two types of grille assemblies based on style and design: billet grilles and mesh grilles.
The billet grille is characterized by vertical, diagonal, or horizontal strips which are stacked together. Some vehicles come with thin bars closely stacked together, while others may only have a few thick bars. These are commonly made from aluminum or stainless steel. A billet grille can also be made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene or ABS plastic. This type of material is considered a thermoplastic because of its ability to resist damage from heat, chemicals, and impact.
The mesh grille is characterized by its weaved design. They can also be made out of stainless steel, aluminum, or ABS plastic. These can be further categorized into two types based on the tightness of the weave pattern. Fine mesh grilles are weaved closer together, while heavy mesh grilles sport bolder designs and are weaved further apart.
Automotive grilles come in either matte or gloss finish. They typically come in colors like grey, black or chrome. They can be decorated with studs or come in custom shapes other than the ones mentioned above.
When is a grille replacement needed?
As part of your car’s exterior, it is usually quite easy to determine when your car front grille assembly needs to be replaced. Here are some things you should look out for before taking your car to the mechanic to have your car grilles swapped out.
Damage from debris
Due to its location at the front of the vehicle, it’s normal for your car’s grille to be exposed to damage. Even small and seemingly harmless debris can cause great damage while your car runs at higher speeds. The grille assembly often needs to be replaced when large rocks or branches damage it.
Accidents are another common reason to get your grille assembly replaced. While it is possible to drive your car with a broken or missing grille, a replacement grille will help keep your car safe from further damage from debris.
Building rust is another sign that you need to get your vehicle’s grille replaced. Not only does this age your vehicle significantly, but it can also cause the material to become weaker and prone to chipping off.
Cracks and breakage
Older plastic grille components found in early car models tend to dry out over time. As the material wears, it loses its flexibility and becomes more brittle. These often result in breakage and cracks that are beyond repair.
Restoration and customization
Grille assembly replacements for customization and cosmetic purposes are very common. Changing your vehicle’s grille is a quick and easy way of switching up your car’s look to tailor it to your tastes.
How much does a grille assembly cost?
The cost of a replacement grille assembly varies depending on a vehicle’s year, make and model. OEM replacements can cost you anywhere between $140 to 3,200. Components may be sold individually, in sets of 2 or 3, or as part of a kit. These kits typically include parts like panels, emblem provisions, trims, brackets, and more.
While it is possible to replace your car’s grille assembly on your own, we recommend going to a trusted mechanic to ensure that it is placed correctly and to prevent any damage to your car.