There seems to be a hot new trend among America’s truck drivers: installing grille guards on the fronts of their tractors. A product that used to be viewed as an optional add-on has suddenly become the hottest accessory in trucking. Why? It could be because a good grille guard makes a truck look truly badass.
Now, before you get upset about the term ‘badass’, you need to know it is a legitimate word found in the dictionary. Here’s how the Cambridge English dictionary defines it:
- A bad or slightly frightening person;
- Someone or something that you admire or find impressive.
Combining both definitions together really explains why grille guards are the big thing right now. A full-size grill guard makes a tractor look truly intimidating in the rear-view mirror. And of course, truckers themselves admire tough-looking rigs. Adding a grille guard easily sparks envy in other truckers who don’t have one.
The Grille Guard’s Practical Purpose
You do not necessarily need a practical reason to convince truckers to buy and install grille guards, but it’s nice to have such a reason anyway. Then you give truckers an excuse that helps them avoid being charged with frivolity or vanity.
So what is the practical purpose of a Grille guard? To protect the front end of a tractor in the event of an accident.
Truckers put in millions of miles over their careers. Put in that much time behind the wheel and you are likely to have at least one or two collisions with animals. Think deer, elk, dogs, and even panthers. All it takes is one collision to send a truck to the body shop for expensive repairs.
Of course, there are also collisions with other vehicles. A grille guard may not help in a high-speed, high-impact collision capable of completely totaling the vehicles involved, but they work very well at protecting the front end during low-speed, low-impact collisions.
Last but not least are those incidental collisions in the freight yard. A grille guard protects the front end should some other driver back his trailer into a parked rig.
Making It Shine
Truckers may buy grille guards for practical purposes, but every single one of them likes to see that new guard shine. A freshly cleaned and polished grille guard covered in plenty of eye-catching chrome is blinding on a sunny day. Add chrome toolboxes, exhaust stacks, running boards and fenders, and you have a truck worthy of awards and accolades. But even without all that other stuff, a new grille guard polished to a shiny brilliance is really something to look at.
Mytee Products, an Ohio company that sells equipment and supplies to America’s truckers, says bigger grille guards give a trucker more area to polish. They also provide more protection. Truckers can get full guards that cover the front grill, the headlights, and that dead space in between.
Smaller guards are also available for truckers who are only concerned about the grill area. They cost less, but they don’t offer full coverage in the event of an animal collision. But does that really matter if your only concern is that the grille guard makes your truck look badass? Maybe not.
As a side note, grille guards do something for big trucks they don’t necessarily do for small pickups and family sedans. In fact, a family sedan fitted with a grille guard looks a bit ostentatious. No, if you really want the badass look, your grille guard really needs to be mounted to the front of a big Peterbilt or Mack.