Do you mostly stick to highways, or maybe you’re a fan of off-roading? If you like the wilderness, a grille guard/bull bar will definitely be money well spent. It serves only one purpose: to protect the Chevy from road hazards and accidents. I’m talking about trees, bushes, and, of course, animals (like bulls, deer, or something bigger).
Crafted from stainless steel, it can withstand a rather strong impact. So, if you want to protect the Silverado’s front and to safeguard the driver and the passengers, a bull bar is a must. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to install a grille guard with a set of basic, inexpensive tools. The process can take some time, but, if you follow me closely, everything will go smoothly!
How to Choose the Right Grille Guard?
The #1 thing to look for is build quality. If you see “seamless welding” in the specs, rest assured the guard will be strong and durable. Next, I always check for coating. Without it, the bar will be taken over by corrosion, even if it’s crafted from stainless steel. Some brands mix steel/aluminum with polyethylene. Most grille guards have a very simple, practical design. That allows the engineers to make the installation process simple, and keep the price tag low.
This is important: grille guards are highly effective at low speeds, but not so much when you’re driving really fast. That’s right: for high-speed, high-impact collisions, a standard grille guard might not be the best investment. For example, rally drivers have a lot more advanced front-bumper protection. However, for non-competitive off-roading, a guard will still do a great job.
What you’ll need
Here’s a list of the instruments that I recommend using for the grille guard installation:
- A screwdriver
- A ratchet for removing the bolts
- A set of protective gloves
- A knife or saw for cutting plastic
Before you buy a bull bar, make sure it’s compatible with your Silverado’s exact model. True, they’re all mostly the same, but I still want you to double-check the compatibility chart for fitment. It should be a simple bolt-on installation and not involve any bending or cutting. Plus, it would be best if the package included detailed grille guard installation instructions. Sadly, these user manuals tend to be a bit confusing at times, which is why I decided to write this guide.
One last thing to consider is whether the bull bar will be covered by a warranty, or not. If you’re a big fan of off-roading and do it at least a couple of times a month, chances are, the grille guard will get scratched, damaged, or even deformed in a year or so. That is exactly why, say, a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee would be most welcome.
Removing the Front Bumper
Alright, now we can move on to the actual installation process. As always, find a smooth, flat, and shady spot where you can park the truck. Activate the parking brake and put a couple of wheel clamps/boots on the rear wheels to make sure the Silverado won’t move while you’re busy with the grille. Next, you need to remove the radiator shield to get access to the bolts that are securing the front grille.
Grab your favorite screwdriver and remove all four screws. Don’t throw them away, though! Keep the screws close, because you’ll need them later. Everything’s looking good so far? Then move on to the bumper. It’s being held by a bunch of bolts. So, use a ratchet to remove the bolts both on the bumper and on the tie hook (won’t be hard to see once the radiator shield is out of the way).
A quick note: in the newer Silverado trucks, two of the bumper bolts are located under the hood. Again, don’t lose the bolts, unless the grille came packed with a set of all-new installation hardware. Now the bumper should slide off without any resistance, especially if you shake it a bit.
Installing the Grille Guard
With the radiator shield, the tie hook, and the front bumper removed, it’s time for us to install the mounting brackets. They’re gonna be holding the grille guard, so, make sure they are positioned properly. Depending on the model of your Chevy Silverado, the exact spot where the brackets need to be placed can be a little different. The provided instructions should help you figure that out. In most cases, they go into the tow hook shrouds.
This is important: you might have to trim them using a knife or a special type of saw to make room for the brackets. Once the brackets are in place, grab the grille guard and try to align it with both the left and the right bracket. It’s a single-piece construction, by the way. Now, don’t over-tighten the bracket bolts, because you might want to adjust them slightly for a perfect alignment.
If you have a good buddy that can hold the guard while you’re screwing the bolts, it will be much easier to complete this stage. If not, we’ll, you’ll have to do it all by yourself. Remember the bolts that I told you not to throw away? Use them for securing the grille. Ok, that’s how you install a bull bar!