Modifying the grille on your Jeep Wrangler is an easy as well as effective way to seriously upgrade the look and utility of your ride. This article covers all the popular grille upgrade options and shows you how to install one.By Brett Foote – November 25, 2015
Contributors: DBB888

This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-Present).

Changing out the grille in your Jeep Wrangler is an easy and relatively affordable way to seriously upgrade the look of your ride. As with most Jeep parts, there are a ton of options available in today’s aftermarket, from mild and cheap to wild and expensive. If you want to set your ride apart from the thousands of others on the road, installing an aftermarket grille is one of the best ways to do so. And even if you’re pressed for cash, we’ve got an incredibly easy and cheap DIY method that will give your Jeep a custom look.

Table of Contents

Grille Overview

It’s hard to believe, but there are a tons of different ways you can change the looks of your Jeep Wrangler by simply upgrading your grille. Deciding which is best for you is largely a personal option, and will vary greatly depending on how much money you want or have to spend.

Grille ShellsGrille InsertsCustom Painted
Price$100 to $500$10 to $1,000$5 to $200
DIY LevelEasyEasyModerate
RatingRecommendedRecommendedRecommended

Best Quality: Grill Shells

Best Value: Inserts/Custom Painted

Grille Shells

Price – $100-500

DIY Level – Easy

Rating – Recommended

An aftermarket grille shell is easy to install, but prices can vary greatly depending on what you buy, as can quality. It’s best to spend a little bit more and purchase a quality shell that won’t break or crack the first time a rock hits it, especially if you spend a lot of time driving off the road. Finding a shell that is already painted will save you a lot of cash as well, because paint matching can be rather expensive. On the plus side, the right shell can dramatically change the look of your Jeep. A grille shell can have a dramatic effect on the looks of your Wrangler, but be sure to purchase a quality product and be ready to spend some cash if you need to have it painted to match your vehicle. Recommended for those who want to stand out from the crowd.

Grille Inserts

Price – $10-1,000

DIY Level – Easy

Rating – Recommended

Grille inserts are available in any color, shape, or design that you can possibly imagine. They also vary greatly in price depending on whether you want a simple mesh insert or one that has a wild design in it. Many Jeep owners simply purchase a piece of mesh or other type of material in the pattern they like, then install it themselves on the back of the grille shell. For this reason, you can spend literally as little or as much as you want on a grille insert, but spending only a little doesn’t mean that you can’t have a nice looking and durable upgrade. Recommended for those looking for a more subtle and inexpensive option.

Custom Painted

Price – $5-200

DIY Level – Moderate

Rating – Recommended

Painting a grille can seem like a daunting task, but it’s something that plenty of DIY’ers do every day. Some popular methods include using Plasti-Dip or bedliner spray to add durability to the grille shell, while others simply want a cool custom look and go all out. Like grille inserts, you can spend as little or as much as you want on a custom painted grille, and the options are limited only by your imagination. If you do choose to let a professional paint the grille for you, however, expect to shell out at least a couple hundred dollars. Recommended for those looking for a one of a kid look; the sky is the limit with this one.

How to Install a Grille

An aftermarket grille is an easy part to install, as most require only the most basic tools and virtually no mechanical skill. Changing out your grille can make a dramatic difference in the way your Jeep looks, which is why it is such a popular option. One inexpensive option that has grown in popularity is purchasing some wire mesh and installing it behind an existing grille. It’s a very cheap DIY alternative to dropping hundreds of dollars on a custom aftermarket unit.

Materials Needed

  • Sheet of wire mesh (28.5″ x 14″)
  • Zip tie cubes
  • Zip ties
  • Spray paint (if you want to paint the mesh)
  • Scissors
  • Phillips screwdriver (optional)

Step 1 – Remove the factory grille

Open the hood and remove the six plastic screws by hand, or you can use a Phillips screwdriver if they won’t come out easily. Disconnect the wiring harness as shown in Figure 2. Pull the grille out from the bottom first, then from the top.

Figure 1. Remove the six plastic screws.

Figure 2. Disconnect the wiring harness.

  • Figure 3. Remove the grille by pulling out the bottom first.

Step 2 – Install mesh insert on grille

Lay the grille on its back and attach zip tie cubes in even intervals as shown in Figure 4. Lay the mesh on the back of the grille and run a zip tie through the mesh and each zip tie cube to attach the mesh to the grille, trimming off the excess portion of each zip tie with scissors. Place the grille back on the vehicle, push it into place, and reinstall the six plastic screws. Reattach the wire harness.

Figure 4. Attach the zip tie cubes as shown.

Figure 5. Lay the mesh on the back of the grille and run a zip tie through each cube.

  • Figure 6. Reinstall the grille and admire your work!

Related Discussions