Why the hell do people put those enormous 'grille guards' on their SUVs?

You’ve seen it: drive into the heart of a big city (Manhattan, Boston, Newark…) and a not insubstantial proportion of SUV drivers have attached these big, butch metal guards over the grille and lights of their vehicles. What is this supposed to be for? Afraid somebody’s going to break their taillights? Or am I missing something?

They’re supposed to be brush guards. They guard your grill and lights from being damaged when driving off-road in heavily wooded areas.

Not that most SUV owners would dare take their beasts off road.

What, you haven’t seen the wild elk herds of Central Park? :dubious:

Vehicular brass knuckles, I call’em. For the driver who wants to make good and damn sure that whatever they hit croaks. Fine if you live in moose country, less cool in town. My rule of thumb: if your local public transit system features a subway, you probably don’t have to worry about anything with antlers on your roads.

Many affluent suburban and exurban areas in North America have quite a bit of wildlife. Deer are a huge problem where my parents live, abot four miles (six kilometers) outside of the Buffalo city line. I nearly totalled my car on a big doe in a busy, built-up area outside of Buffalo several years ago.

…funny you should bring this up. #1 son and I have a running contest to see who can spot the most ridiculous truck/suv. Currently, 3rd place belongs to a spiffed-out Mercury trucklet with PLASTIC head/taillight guards. This just cracked us up. I guess functionality doesn’t matter, since they’re just fashion statements anyway. In answer to the OP, I figure they’re just the SUVer’s version of Harley leather and loud exhaust (“Hey everybody… Look at me!”).

Just wondering… Has the SDMB agreed on an exact definition of SUV? Just thinking about the annual holiday rant from my far-left SIL about “…d*mn gun-toting texans and their gas-guzzling SUV’s, etc. etc.” I’m certain I have no guns on board, but never really been sure whether I’m in an SUV or not.


In the UK they’re called “Pedestrian Catchers”. Particularly effective against children’s heads. Basically what they do is take 50 years of traffic safety design and throw them away, so that SUVs can look big ‘n’ butch and pretend they’re off-roaders.

Plastic ones are now often fitted by manufacturers in response to criticism about this, they’re cosmetic only. But there’s still nothing to prevent the SUV driver retro-fitting metal ones.

Just another example of SUV owners’ selfishness…

I think it’s just for the fashion statement.


My Beloved calls them “car cod pieces”.

Which is downright weird when you consider the fact that some of these same vehicles also wear bras. :stuck_out_tongue:

My wife calls 'em rhino guards. To keep the rhinos from denting up your car while you’re cruising the veldt.

Okay, I’ll deliver the straight line.

“But there are no rhinos in Manhattan.”

Now that’s silly. Gun-totin’ Texans drive pickup trucks :stuck_out_tongue:

On Saturday, I saw not just any ol’ Escalade, but a stretched Escalade limo. Complete with chrome Urban Rhinoceros Protectors, the obligatory boomerang TV antenna, opera lights along the sides and spinny hubcaps.

I use mine to knock over small trees and mow down brush that are in my way. Its home-made from the mounting brackets from a big old trailer hitch off a 70’s Ford F-250. Not pretty, but functional.

But then I don’t live anywhere near New York City and its famed Rhino problem.

Laugh if you must. Insurance claims from rhino collisions from SUV drivers are down 25 percent this year in Manhattan.

[Erich Segal]
Oversized SUV grills means never having to say you’re sorry… mainly because there’ll be no one left to apologize to.
[/Erich Segal]

Those damn things simply scream Die Harder!

Gee, I posted this once but now it’s gone…

I actually do take my Land Rovers off road, but only one has a brush guard. I have found that brush doesn’t hurt my headlights at all, just my paint job! I suppose if I drove into something very slowly, the guard would protect my front end somewhat. But I don’t drive into things.

I think they are harmless. If I crash into you, the brush guard isn’t going to be your biggest worry! I don’t think there would be any measurable difference in the damage to the other vehicle.
I can understand people wanting their LRs to look cool, like they are driving in the Camel Trophy or something! Frankly, why does anyone care if I have a brush guard, or spinning rims, or whatever? Get a life.

Maybe they wanted to add a little more weight and shave a hair off the MPG. You can’t have too much excess! :slight_smile:


“What are those things on your car?”

“Rhino guards. They help get rid of rhinos.”

“But there are no rhinos in Manhattan.”

“See how well they work?”

Best I can do is a purple pickup (around the size of an F350, though I don’t know the exact make/model) with dualies and dropped to about an inch off the ground. It was simultaneously ugly and a waste of a truck. The only other one I can think of was something smaller, Ranger or F150 size. Red with green flames and a hydraulic (or perhaps pneumatic) system to do low-rider stuff. Completely took out the bed of the truck to do it, so you couldn’t even use it to haul stuff.