A grille guard is a must-have for anyone who takes their truck off-roading or through any type of dense brush and tall grass. The grille guard flattens out that thick brush while protecting the headlights and other parts under the hood from damage. Because there are so many options for grille guards for your truck, note a few simple but important tips for making your choice before you even begin to shop.
For rocky areas
Bull bars were actually first designed for driving over large rocks and boulders; the bar is placed lower than most other grille guards, to provide more protection underneath the truck than in front of it. The rounded tube and skid plate to which it is attached allow a truck to literally bounce on rocks in order to gain momentum and traction. If you drive over rocky roads more than through thick brush and vegetation, you want a bull bar with a wide, thick skid plate.
For nighttime driving
If you often drive through rough terrain at night, opt for a grille guard with a center horizontal bar and what are called mounting tabs. These tabs are provided so you can easily attach fog lights. Don't assume you can add these lights to just any grille guard, as attaching them to a tall bar that reaches your hood may obstruct your view. Trying to drill through a grille guard that doesn't have these mounting tabs can also weaken the metal and cause it to bend and sag.
For accessing the engine
If you work on your truck yourself or drive a large truck with an oversized suspension, look for a grille guard with a center or built-in step. This makes it easy to check under the hood without needing a ladder or other step to reach up and over the grille guard itself.
A lightweight aluminum grille guard can be easy to install yourself, and it may mean less risk of severely damaging another vehicle if you should be involved in a front-end collision. In some cases, your truck insurance rates might actually go up if you opt for a heavier stainless steel grille guard. However, steel is better for supporting a winch, as aluminum may easily bend out of shape when the winch is in use. Steel can also be a better choice for driving through very thick vegetation, as strong twigs and brush might also bend or scratch aluminum.