What do you see when you look at the front end of a car? Do you see a couple of polycarbonate headlights either side of a plastic grate? Or do you see a face looking back at you conveying some form of expression?
The components which make up the front end of a car each perform an important role in how the vehicle operates but they also come together to express some message to passersby, other road users and potential buyers. Modifying the appearance of a grille can have a significant impact on how we view the car itself.
The Face Of A Car
Humans are programmed to recognize and trust familiar faces. This instinctive ability helps keep us safe and understand the intentions of others. And that subconscious process applies when we look at a car coming towards us.
The grille performs an important function in cooling the engine – specifically, the radiator, to prevent overheating. But the appearance of a grille is also a defining factor in a car’s design.
As well as the obvious functions of improving ventilation and preventing overheating, grilles can perform other uses. Some aid with safety by playing a part of the car’s crumple zone, others protect the front of the vehicle when taking part in off-road activities but, in the main, a car’s grille can be a feature which improves the look of a vehicle, enables it to have a unique style and can attract potential buyers.
Why Do Cars Need Car Grilles?
There are several parameters associated with a car grille's design that can improve performance. Vertical height, horizontal width, size, shape, position and blockages can impact upon aerodynamic and cooling performance. These factors influence aerodynamic drag and inlet flow rate. Some modern cars are fitted with active grille shutter systems which automatically adjust airflow dependent upon the demand placed on the cooling and air conditioning system.
Can The Design Of Car Grilles Improve Performance?
When someone is thinking about customizing their ride, one of the single most defining options is to install a custom grille.
Modification Options For Car Grilles
Some on the market are extremely popular and others are more bespoke.
For example, mesh grilles and chrome car grilles account for most of the custom grilles market
while stainless steel car grilles and woven mesh car grilles offer something a little more unique.
Research suggests that how friendly we perceive a car's appearance to be can depend on the shape of its grille. An upturned grille instinctively appears pleasant to us while some downturned styles can look more aggressive.
Perhaps just as fundamental is simply how recognizable some car grilles are. Most of us could pick out a BMW grille from a Mercedes grille. But if we see one of those models on the road with a modified grille, we would probably stop and take a second look.