So, in March of 2018 I installed a Ranch Hand Legend Grille Guard on my 2017 F-150. Here we are, one year later and in that time I’ve had a lot of questions from those who are considering installing a grille guard themselves. Now after a significant amount of time putting my Ranch Hand Grille Guard through the paces, I can honestly answer some of those questions based on experience. Let’s do this!
Does the construction and finish of a Ranch Hand Grille Guard hold up long term?
When I initially installed the Ranch Hand Legend Grille Guard on my F-150, it was shiny and had a flawless finish straight out of the packaging. Not only was it there to provide protection, but it looked good doing it. After a year, that nice sleek black paint job remains completely intact with no visible chips, scratches or marring of any other kind. I added thousands of miles to my odometer this year, both on the highway and off, encountering a lot of different conditions on the way - rocks, sand, dirt, mud, brush, grass, stubble, rain, hail, snow and other environmental and weather-related elements. It would stand to reason when traveling dirt and gravel roads extensively, as I do, you could expect some dings, scratches, chips and more in your grille guard from road debris. However, truthfully, my Ranch Hand Grille Guard shows no visible signs of wear and tear and looks brand-new still. That’s more than I can say for my windshield which has fallen victim to more than one chip/pit in the last year. Furthermore, this winter seems endless and for the last several months I’ve been driving muddy and snow-covered roads and ice-treated highways non-stop. Wet conditions can be the perfect environment to foster rust on an all steel grille guard, however I haven’t encountered any such issues with my Ranch Hand Grille Guard.
As it relates to construction, the Legend Grille Guard is one fully welded piece of steel that mounts securely to the frame for stability, there are no weak points. I’ve encountered a lot of rough paths - ruts, washboards, washouts, rocky inclines and declines, rough fields, pastures and more. There hasn’t been a time yet that my Legend Grille Guard rattled, loosened or became comprised structurally as a result of jarring and/or inhospitable terrain. It’s tough as nails and lives up to Ranch Hand’s “Built To Take a Hit” credo.
When it comes to the matter of wear and tear, the condition of a grille guard over time is largely dependent upon, you, the driver. This also applies to your vehicle’s overall health - engine, suspension, tires, etc. If you drive your vehicle like you stole it, throwing caution to the wind and roughing it up, that’s on the driver. Regular wear and tear is one thing and is to be expected. But no vehicle, regardless of make or model, or grille guard regardless of brand, can be expected to maintain an entirely flawless finish in the face of extreme use. That’s not to say that a Ranch Hand Grille Guard can’t still perform flawlessly with some scratches, of course it can and will. However, it just may not have as shiny of a finish. With that said, it has been my experience in the last 365 days that through incessant exposure to on the road elements and even hitting a couple of pheasants there has been no flaking or chipping in the paint, no rust anywhere and no issues with construction. My Ranch Hand Legend Grille Guard continues to deflect and protect like a pro and looks sharp in the process.
Does the added weight from the Grille Guard have any effect on your fuel economy or the wear on your tires?
By adding weight to your vehicle in the form of bumpers, grille guards, running steps and other accessories, I’m sure it is possible that you could see a change in the overall fuel economy of your vehicle. However, there has been no actual, noticeable difference in the MPG’s of my F150 since the installation of my Ranch Hand Legend Grille Guard. Furthermore, in the last several months I’ve also installed a Ranch Hand Back Bumper and Running Steps as well, none of which have spurred reduced fuel efficiency, either.
In the same vein, many people have wondered if the increased weight causes extra wear, or uneven wearing, on the tires. In my experience, the answer is, “No”. I keep up with all the general maintenance on my truck - fluids, filters, coolants, brakes, tire rotations and more. The only problem I’ve had with tires is completely unrelated to accessories and one that is encountered by every American who travels dirt roads often, nails and flats. I’ve had enough leaky tires fixed that I could put a kid through college, however excessive or uneven wearing because of my grille guard and other Ranch Hand accessories has not been an issue whatsoever.
How far does the grille guard stick out in front of your truck’s factory grille?
The great thing about the Legend Grille Guard from Ranch Hand, and honestly all of their accessories, is that they design them to fit the make and model like a glove. The Legend Grille Guard hugs the lines of my F-150 and isn’t obtrusive at all, sticking out just a few inches from the front end. It’s there to protect, not get in the way and it does just that. I guess I could liken it to putting a hitch in your receiver, the amount it protrudes is minimal. And unlike a hitch, it isn’t heck on your shins when you forget it’s there and walk
How much protection does a grille guard really provide?
Ranch Hand Grille Guards as well as their Front Bumpers and Back Bumpers aren’t just for aesthetics, although they do look great. They are truly there to protect you and your vehicle, built of steel, mounted to the frame and “Built To Take a Hit”. I realize there are some grille guards and accessories out there geared toward looks alone, but that’s not what you get with Ranch Hand. Their products are designed and built from high quality materials and mount directly to the frame. Because they are frame mounted instead of superficially to the bumper or elsewhere, if there is impact, the object deflects and the energy from the impact is then transferred to the frame which protects your grille, radiator, headlights and other body parts. Adding a grille guard isn’t the equivalent of turning your truck or SUV into a bulldozer, you aren’t invincible. However, you do get a significant amount of protection when you purchase and install a high-quality grille guard like those from Ranch Hand.
Studies from AAA show that, on average, Americans spend roughly 17,500 minutes in their vehicle each year, that’s almost 300 hours. All that time in the car translates to about 11,000 miles per driver and collectively about 2.5 trillion miles driven by Americans each year. We spend a tremendous amount of time in our vehicles, that’s a fact. I personally appreciate the extra layer of protection I have from my Ranch Hand Grille Guard. It’s an investment I would recommend to everyone and one I know from first-hand experience is worthwhile.
Drive smart, get an elk crusher, join the Ranch Hand family!