Are Grill Guards Worth it? Are They Effective?

When you see grill guards or push bars on police vehicles, you instantly know what they’re used for. But have you seen them on regular vehicles and wondered what they need them for?

Well, apart from patrol vehicles, they do have genuine use on some road cars. We’ll discuss the use cases for these grills, the pros and cons, and how much they may cost.  

What is the Role of a Grill Guard?

The primary function of a grill guard is to protect the front end of your vehicle. This is very effective in situations where you may run into an object or an animal that may run across the road. Grill guards protect your front end from severe damage.

Grill guards are strong metal bars mounted mostly on Trucks and SUVs. In case of an incident involving a collision to your front end, this will save your car from having significant damage.  

Also read: 4 Reasons why SUVs & Pickup Trucks are Popular in America

Are Grill Guards Worth it?

They are worth it depending on where you live and the purpose of your vehicle. If you live in remote areas where you run the risk of hitting animals, then you need one. In deserted areas where you may go off-roading, they can be great to attach accessories like a winch. This will come in handy if you get stuck.

In many remote/sparsely populated areas, you may not get a lot of cell reception or external help should anything go wrong. These guards help protect your vehicle in accident situations and minimize damage.

They are also great for people who love to go Overlanding/Off-roading. Accessories that like LED lights and a winch can easily be fitted to these bars.

How Strong are Grill Guards?

Grill guards are very strong. They can be made of high-grade steel, aluminum alloys, and polyethylene or polycarbonate (durable plastic). No matter the materials they’re made out of, grill guards are made to be extremely strong and durable.

Grill guards will eventually come in contact with strong and heavy objects. They in turn need to be made out of strong materials to withstand impact.

Also read: What Does a Spoiler Do? Can Your Car Have It?

Pros and Cons of a Grill Guard

Grill guards may be great for protecting your car, but they’re not great for pedestrians, as they can seriously hurt people on impact. Here are the pros and cons parts of grill guards.     

  • Protects against damage: Hitting an object at slow speeds can do substantial damage to your vehicle. This can be in the form of a busted headlight, cracked/dented grille, or radiator damage.

In the city, someone can back into you and the guards would take the hit. Off-road, it protects your car from scratches, rocks/boulders, and animal collisions.    

  • Adding Accessories: Modifications can be done much easier as they can be fitted on the grill bar without putting holes in your bumper.

Light bars can be mounted for better visibility at night. Winches can be mounted to help pull you out of ditches. The best part is most of these mods are reversible.

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  • Rugged Looks: If you want your vehicle to have a mean look that can easily be accomplished with a grill guard. It does add a beefy look to your front end. Other road users may likely stay away from you since your vehicle looks serious.   
  • Pedestrian Safety: Pedestrians are at risk of serious injuries and even death if they come in contact with your front bars. These bars are strong and durable and do not absorb impact the way your bumper does. Instead, it completely transfers the impact to the object it hits, which can be fatal.

In the EU, laws about pedestrian safety are strict. The Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE was banned for having front canards/dive planes. The car did not conform to pedestrian safety rules. Most grill guards are also banned as they pose a serious threat to life.    

  • Greater damage in a crash: At low speeds, they can protect your vehicle, but at higher speeds, they may cause more damage. It covers the entire front end of your vehicle, which is a large area.

If you hit something with the side of your vehicle at a high rate of speed, it can spread the shockwave to other parts of the vehicle, like the other headlight.

Frame damage could also occur as the grill guard is bolted directly to your chassis. In a serious collision, the impact could instantly affect the frame making the car structurally compromised.      

  • Weight: Guards do add weight to your truck, which is a couple of 100 pounds at most. It’s just like having an extra passenger, and is insignificant to your truck’s mileage.

On the other hand, If you have a car, it could affect your gas mileage and handling. Most cars opt for polycarbonate (plastic) guards which are lighter and have no consequences.

  • Cost: There’s a wide range of choices and prices in this category. They start from $200 and up to $1,500, the price can be worth depending on who’s buying and the purpose.  

Also read: 16 Best SUVs with Panoramic Sunroof (with Photos)

Do Grill Guards Affect Gas Mileage?

Grill guards have little to no effect on the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Most bars have a rounded and hollow design, which keeps them strong and aerodynamically efficient. In the worst cases where you have added many accessories to your grille guard, you may only lose 1-2 MPG.

In What Type of Cars are Grill Guards Worth it?

Trucks, SUVs, off-road, and patrol vehicles. These utilitarian vehicles are built to tackle more rough terrain and abuse than your everyday commuter car. These guards help reduce the eventual damage these cars may receive.

Everyday cars will never need a grill guard, as they do not add any extra layer of safety on city streets. However, most grill guards are used by Trucks and SUVs. They are mostly built to fit these huge vehicles.

When are Grill Guards Worth it?

For law enforcement, off-road vehicles, and work trucks. This is a necessary modification for these purposes. Maybe you want to add accessories without permanently altering your vehicle, or you just love the rugged looks.

There are instances where the guards are worth it. Law enforcement vehicles get into pursuit situations sometimes and need these bars to perform vehicle maneuvers without damaging their car.

Off-roaders come in contact with rocks, boulders, debris, trees, and even animals. It ensures the vehicle can go through each terrain without damage to the front end.

Also read: 2-Door vs. 4-Door Cars: Which is Better? (Compared)

When aren’t Grill Guards Worth it?

If you live in the city and use your car to commute to work and back, get groceries and kids from school. In these scenarios, you do not need a grille guard.

You are most likely not at risk of colliding with heavy objects, so they aren’t worth it. Instead, they may even be of greater harm to others around you.

It can also affect your vehicle’s safety systems, which are meant to protect you from collisions. Since the guards are always in front of the vehicle, it can trigger the front collision warning and force the car to brake. This is a dangerous situation that could lead to an accident chain behind you causing more damage in the process.  

How Much are Grill Guards?

Grill guards can cost anywhere from $200-$1,500. The price is highly dependent on the material, type, size, and purpose of the guard.

They all come in different shapes, sizes, and material qualities. Most aren’t universal and are made according to the vehicle, which affects the overall price. The ability to further add accessories to it also adds to the cost. 

What Type of Grill Guards to Buy?

They go by different names but are usually identified based on their design.

  • Bull Bars” are typically found only in the center of the vehicle.
  • Push Bars” are similar but extended to either side of the bumper.
  • Brush Guards” cover the full width of the front end, extending up to the headlights and radiator.

They all perform the same task, which is to protect your vehicle’s front end in a collision. But getting one depends on your use case and budget.

Most tow trucks and heavy-duty vehicles will make use of the full brush guard. This offers complete protection, as they can be used to push and pull objects in certain situations. Law enforcement vehicles also make use of brush guards. These guards also mount the most accessories.

Push bars are used by off-roaders and over-landers more often. They provide the protection needed with the rugged looks associated with them.

Bullbars also protect your cars mainly from head-on/ frontal impact.

Buying any of these is highly dependent on your use case, environment, and budget