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How to change the front grille?

The front grille is one of the most striking parts of cars. Different makes and models have different grille designs, shapes and styles. For example, some manufacturers prefer an elegant concept, while others prefer a more aggressive look.

But though aesthetics are important, grilles are not just decorative pieces. They play a crucial role in the performance of the engine and the radiator, except for electric cars, where the grille only has an aesthetic function.

However, it is unlikely that this component will disappear from the design of cars, traditional or electric, as it is a distinctive part of the vehicles.

Therefore, in this article, we explain, in detail, the functions of the front grille and instructions on how you can change it.

Three different front grilles displayed on a shelve

What are the functions of the front grille?

For the more inattentive, the front grille is the plastic or metal (on older models) protection located on the front of the car between the headlights. Usually, this part displays the car’s brand logo.

This is one of the most distinctive elements of a car.

But, most drivers see the grille only as an aesthetic piece to enhance the vehicle’s design. While that is one of the functions, the grille plays more roles in your car. Do you know what they are?

Protecting the engine

The grille’s primary function is to protect the radiator and engine from road debris, dust and foreign objects. It thus prevents these parts from being damaged by impurities.

Read also: How to protect the engine of your car?

Helping air circulation

By filtering out particles at the front of the car, the grille allows air to pass through its openings, facilitating its circulation to the engine and radiator. This passage is crucial in helping to cool the parts under the bonnet.

“But isn’t that the role of the radiator?”: it seems like we’ve heard this question popping into your mind.

Yes, it is the radiator’s function. But the grille plays an essential role in cooling the water temperature in the radiator, preventing it from overheating.

Boosting performance and aerodynamics

It’s not just to protect the radiator and engine that grilles are included with your car. This part also affects your vehicle’s aerodynamics and performance.

Without the grille, the air would gather at the front of your car, which would slow it down. By opening the grille, the air circulates to the sides or top of your vehicle, significantly reducing the impact of air resistance.

Mercedes' typical front grille

Improving aesthetics

And, of course, the grille’s most visible function could not be missed.

Almost every car manufacturers see the front grille as part of their brand identity. They are so unique and distinctive that we can tell a car apart by its grille alone.

This is why many brands choose to maintain the design over time, making it an iconic piece. For example, BMW has kept the same concept of two oval grilles for several years, despite slightly updating the look of its cars.

In contrast, other brands, such as Volvo, prefer to change the design of the front grilles more often. But one feature remains untouched: the brand logo on the part.

Read also: Why is car maintenance important?

Guidelines to change the front grille

Unlike several parts of your car’s bodywork, the front grille is rarely replaced. Damage is usually minor and easily repaired by a mechanic. It’s only necessary to change the grille in cases of erosion or collision.

But, the process of replacing this part it’s not linear in all car brands. Manufacturers strive to create distinct front grilles, which causes divergences in the process of changing this part.

In some car models, removing the grille may involve removing the front bumper or the radiator.

Alternatively, in other models, the replacement may be much more straightforward. Such is the example we present of the Mercedes-Benz W212. For this replacement, you only need a screwdriver.

To change the front grille, follow these steps:

  1. Start by opening the bonnet of the vehicle and locating the screws.
  2. You should find some screws on the top of the grille. Loosen them with the screwdriver.
  3. Carefully pull the grille to release it from the springs of the car body.
  4. When you hear the clips coming loose, remove the grille.
  5. Fit the new front grille in the same way, carefully to not scratch the paintwork.
  6. Tighten the screws at the top of the front grille.
  7. Close the bonnet and check that the grille has been well installed.

If you prefer, you can watch our video tutorial.

In case of doubt, we recommend that you visit a registered workshop.

If you are looking for a front grille for your car, you can find more than 10,000 on our website for more than 60 brands.