If you want to upgrade the look and performance of your Ford Explorer SUV, consider a new grille. Swapping out this component of your vehicle can completely change the aesthetic at an affordable price. It’s also an easy weekend DIY project. Review our guide to new Ford Explorer aftermarket grilles, with recommendations based on industry ratings and Amazon customer reviews.
What Is a Ford Explorer Grille?
When we talk about vehicle upgrades, the grille often gets overlooked. You might not even notice the decorative finish the brand emblems and motifs add to your SUV. The grille also serves important functions for your vehicle, providing cool air circulation to the engine that keeps the car from overheating. The grille also protects the components of the SUV’s engine from rocks, dirt, dust, and other debris from the road.
Advantages of upgrading your Ford Explorer’s grille include:
- Customized appearance, color, and finish for personalized appeal
- Aerodynamic technology to reduce drag and improve speed and handling
- Improved impact absorption, enhancing driver and passenger safety in a front-end collision
- Improved engine protection
- Higher resale value because of the custom upgrades
Types of Ford Explorer Grilles
Ford Explorer drivers can choose from three primary types of grille upgrades.
This is the most popular type of grille because of its modern elegance, seen often on both luxury and sports cars. Depending on the design of the mesh, this type of grille may consist of several separate pieces or one solid component. Mesh grilles are available in a variety of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and ABS plastic. Choose from a range of attractive finishes to match your Explorer’s exterior paint job, such as powder-coated black, chrome, or polished metal.
You can also select either a fine or heavy mesh for your new Ford Explorer grille. The heavy mesh gives your vehicle an aggressive, rugged feel while fine mesh lends an air of sophisticated luxury.
In the mesh category, check out the ZMAUTOPARTS Mesh Style Upper Hood Grille. This sleek five-star-rated option has a rugged appearance that will complement any SUV finish. It’s a direct bolt-on replacement that offers easy assembly with the right tools and know-how.
The distinctive Billet design is characterized by either vertical or horizontal lines that get thicker toward the middle of the grille and narrow toward the edges. These grilles typically come in stainless steel or aluminum with the same finish options as for mesh grilles. One example of a billet grill is the Evan-Fischer Grille Assembly, which fits 2006-2010 Ford Explorer Limited/XLT models. The chrome-coated ABS plastic construction is designed as a direct replacement for your original equipment manufacturer (OEM) grille. Evan-Fischer backs this highly regarded product, which has a five-star overall customer rating on Amazon, with a one-year unlimited mileage parts warranty.
Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Grills
CNC grills can be completely customized to your desired shape, thanks to the high-tech computer software used to manufacture these parts. You can purchase this type of grille with detailed patterns, shapes, and finishes to create a one-of-a-kind accessory for your Ford Explorer.
How To Choose a Ford Explorer Grille
Ask these questions to help narrow down your search for a new Ford Explorer grille:
- What type of material do you prefer? Common options include chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum. We can’t get enough of the beautiful chrome finish of the OC Parts Ford Explorer Chrome Front Grille, an OEM replacement for Ford Explorer model years 2011 to 2015. It has a 4.6 customer rating on Amazon and features easy installation, fitting directly over the existing grille assembly of your SUV.
- What grille shape do you prefer? As described above, the main options include CNC, mesh, and billet grilles. In the ever-popular mesh category, try the ECOTRIC Front Bumper Grille if you have a 2016 or 2017 Ford Explorer model and want the tough look of wide, rugged spacing. ECOTRIC gets high ratings for customer support and outstanding customer reviews for this product on Amazon. The company recommends professional manufacturer installation for this grille.
- Why do you want to upgrade your SUV’s grille? The answer will inform your selection. For example, you may primarily want a new look for your Explorer, enhanced engine protection with a tighter mesh, or adjustable airflow for improved performance.
You may also want to purchase a Ford Explorer grille that features warranty coverage. For example, the Garage-Pro Grille Compatible with 2006-2008 Ford Explorer ABS Plastic Chrome Shell and Insert comes with a one-year unlimited mileage parts warranty. This coverage speaks to the high-quality construction and materials offered by this brand. This grille is also an OEM replacement for your Explorer’s original grille.
How To Replace/Install a Ford Explorer Grille
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
Most new aftermarket grilles directly replace your existing Ford Explorer grille. Follow the manufacturer instructions carefully if you plan to take on the installation project at home. Some companies recommend professional installation; ignoring these instructions may void the product warranty.
These are the general steps to replace a Ford Explorer grille:
- Open the SUV’s hood.
- Remove screws to take off covers or panels that block grille access.
- Unscrew the old grille and remove it from the vehicle.
- Line up the new grille with the Explorer’s retainer holes, after painting it if desired.
- Use your screwdriver to attach new retainers.
- Replace and tighten all covers before closing the hood.
If the grille does not fit correctly, remove it and seek assistance.
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