Boy Meets Grill(guard)
December 23, 2006 11:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering a grill/brush guard for my mini SUV. Apart from their main purpose as off-road accessories, are there any real benefits to be derived from installing one on a vehicle mainly used in daily urban commute (collision protection, etc.) aside from cosmetic? Do they void any insurance protection or add to gas consumption? I believe form must follow function hence this query. Thanks for your time.
posted by azul to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
I would guess that most of them add to gas consumption, both by adding weight and by reducing aerodynamic efficiency. Probably just slightly, though.
posted by box at 11:15 AM on December 23, 2006

Best answer: Well, they make it a lot more dangerous for people or cars or other objects you may (god forbid) collide with. Personally, I consider that more important than additional insurance costs or what have you.
posted by loiseau at 11:21 AM on December 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd have to second loiseau's comment!
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:30 AM on December 23, 2006

screw the other people, if you like the looks, and can afford it, buy it!

(please don't read any sarcasm into this)
posted by CCK at 12:26 PM on December 23, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for your comments so far.

jmgorman: My apologies for neglecting to mention the vehicle's make. I didn't know a tiny Rav4 would have some douche-bag SUV factor in it.
posted by azul at 12:43 PM on December 23, 2006

Best answer: There are a lot of types and grades of SUV front grills, from bolt on tubular "guards" to full on "off road" units with recovery winches built in. Others have covered concerns with the possibility of additional danger to pedestrians in a collision, but you also need to consider the results to you and your vehicle of additional gear up front.

All modern vehicles are designed to have their sheetmetal collapse in a collision in a somewhat controlled way, to absorb the shock of the collision, and this is an integral part of the vehicle safety package. If you put something out front that materially changes this, you could pass more of the collision energy through to the vehicle passenger compartment, and get less protection for occupants. In a front end crash, which is the worst from an injury/fatality standpoint, you could also change the deployment of air bags in a collision by putting a heavy enough bar assembly up front, which is why the heaviest units are generally marketed only for off road use. Finally, anything that is light guage enough to be of minimal deformation concern in an accident, is also probably flimsy enough to become a source of small projectile parts.

These things probably have a place on vehicles that are used frequently in back country situations, but there are clearly tradeoffs for street use.
posted by paulsc at 1:15 PM on December 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks paulsc. No more grill guard for me then. The funds will go to the nearest red bucket and local public radio station. Thanks!
posted by azul at 1:26 PM on December 23, 2006

Best answer: Speaking as someone who had her car rear-ended (and her head concussed, her neck whiplashed, her back screwed up, her car totaled) by a commuter Jeep outfitted by one of these for aesthetic reasons only, I'd suggest you give it some thought. It's not really protecting your car so much as making it much more of a nuisance to other drivers.

Please don't misinterpret this as me calling you a road menace by making a judgment on your driving. I can only presume you're a fine driver. It's just as likely you could be rear-ended and become an unwilling bull-barred projectile into someone else's vehicle.

Certainly if you decide to go for it, I'd suggest upping your insurance, just in case.
posted by jerseygirl at 1:35 PM on December 23, 2006

Best answer: Everything you ever wanted to know about bumpers, from the NHTSA.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:22 PM on December 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

All I can can say is they are now forbidden in Germany because they are extremely dangerous to pedestrians (more liley to kill them in case of collision).

...An now be frank: do you really plan to drive it O/R? In a situation when such a gear would be realy handy? Otherwise, you are just handing out money for a useless and dangerous piece of ball-enhancing gear.
posted by bluefrog at 5:24 PM on December 23, 2006

Sorry I came so strong. You probably got the message from earlier post.....
posted by bluefrog at 5:25 PM on December 23, 2006

Not to beat a dead horse here, but another reason (as was evidenced by an old roommate): Even the most minor bump in a parking lot will damage the other vehicle. Rather than an apology, you'll fork out the insurance card or your wallet if you happen to tap someone. Modern (standard) bumpers can take a small amount of abuse undamaged.
posted by vaportrail at 7:10 PM on December 23, 2006

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