Getting Grilled: How Grads of Auto Body Schools Fix and Replace Radiator Grilles | Automotive Training Centre
June 1, 2018
Radiator grilles are always at risk of damage because of their positioning at the front of a vehicle. Collisions and even minor bumps are very likely to cause scrapes or cracks to the grille, and trips to an auto body technician usually follow.
Plastic grilles are more susceptible to damage because they’re not as strong as metal alternatives, and repair options are usually quite limited. There are some tasks which can be undertaken to get the component back to full health, but a full replacement is usually a more convenient remedy. Let’s take a closer look at the options available to an auto body professional when they’re faced with grille trouble.
The Dangers of a Faulty Radiator Grille
The grille serves important aesthetic and engineering functions on a vehicle. It was originally designed as a means to allow airflow into the radiator, which then cools down the engine. The grille blocks large objects from clogging up the radiator, thus preventing the need for expensive repairs or replacement jobs. The fact that the grille is blocking dangerous objects does, of course, mean that it is put at risk of damage itself.
Another reason why grille damage may be encountered after auto body repair courses is to improve the look of the vehicle. Look at any global car brand, and it’ll have a distinguishable radiator grille which is uniform across all its models. It is seen as crucial to the attractiveness of a vehicle, so motorists will be keen to fix any dents or breaks when they occur.
The Repair Options Available After Becoming an Auto Body Technician
The scale of damage inflicted on a radiator grille ranges from minor scrapes to serious bangs which may require a full replacement. Some repair options are available, however, such as paintless dent removal. This is a pain-free option because it’s inexpensive and requires relatively little time. It is, however, restricted to use on metal grilles, and isn’t a suitable repair option if there are also scratches in the paint work.
The plastic tabs which hold many radiator grilles into place are also liable to damage. This can lead to the grille becoming dislodged, but there are simple repairs which can be carried out. Some plastic repair kits allow technicians to create a mould of existing tabs which can be then used to build and attach a replacement. This can be a time-consuming process, though, so consider whether a full grille replacement may be a better option.
The Straight Forward Process Behind Auto Grille Replacement
Fitting a replacement radiator grille is just a case of following a few simple steps after becoming an auto body technician. Open the hood and find the grille top at the front of the vehicle. Loosen and remove the metal bolts on top, or pop them open with a flat head screwdriver if they are made of plastic. The grille top can then be easily removed, allowing access to the grille underneath. It may take a little bit of jigging, but generally the grille will easily slide out of place. Simply follow those same steps in reverse order when fitting the new grille.
Sometimes, access to the radiator grille is only possible by removing the entire front bumper. This is a bit more time consuming, but it’s just a matter of unfastening a few more bolts than before. Just make sure that any fog lights are also disconnected during the removal process.
Auto body schools offer the training needed to become a repair expert.
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