Over the last few months I have been following various car forums. Sad, I know but (I add hastily) it was all in the cause of research ΓÇô I promise. Well, maybe tinged with a hint of enthusiasm. What has surprised me is the number of threads that have been dominated by a desire to improve the aesthetics of a car while ignoring the vital ingredient of protection. And, all of this at the time of year when our cars are subjected to the most damaging weather and road conditions. The other thing that has gone along with this is the price that car enthusiasts are prepared to pay in hard currency to beautify their chariots. When I see a price tag of $495 for a piece of plastic to stick over a side vent I can only admire the business model of the company selling these items.
I donΓÇÖt want to be misunderstood here. I, too, admire the results that car enthusiasts achieve through their passion to express themselves and enhance the looks of their pride and joy, and in the process make a production model unique; in appearance, at least. What I donΓÇÖt get is the lack of research. Or is it just the impulse to buy an item that does indeed change the appearance, but is fitted to an area of the car which takes a fair bit of abuse from the road, and what it throws up, but yet has little structural integrity.
Sanely, in my view, there is an answer, and not a mere compromise. Protection of apertures is an excellent example. The item I referred to earlier was a side vent grille for a Porsche. The product is accurately made and conforms to the style contours of the car in that area. However, experience says that this area of the car is prone to ingestion of leaves which when they become lodged in the fan makes one hell of a racket. So a grille makes a difference. However, anything mightier than a leaf will not only destroy the fan but in getting there makes a sizeable hole in the grille on its way through. The answer is to make the grille from a robust material: stainless steel woven wire mesh comes to mind. When attention to detail in the design and manufacture of the unit is exercised strictly and consistently the visual effect is equal, but the protection qualities are far superior. And the cost? $110. Yes , you saw that right; the equivalent grille set from Zunsport costs $380 less than the plastic.
My advice is to shop around for the best overall deal that serves more than just one purpose. You do not have to be one of those people who end up looking in ire at a hole in their plastic grille and the damage behind it, when you could be one of the wise who chose a Zunsport grille and marvelled at the size of the rock that bounced off without leaving a noticeable knock. And at 25% of the cost.