How To Install A Brush Guard On A Ford F-150

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You want a brush guard for your F-150, but you wonder about the installation and have many questions. Is it difficult? Can I do it myself? Do I have the tools? After doing some research, we’ve found information that can help you decide.

Installation of a brush guard on your Ford F150 does not require professional installation. It can be a DIY project, but you might need to ask a friend to help. 

Keep reading to find out more about how to install your new brush guard on your F-150 truck, including tools needed, preparation, and installation steps. 

A line up of Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 Super Duty and Heavy Duty at the dealership, How To Install A Brush Guard On A Ford F-150

Installation for a Brush Guard on a Ford F-150

Whether you want a brush guard for looks or protection, it is an excellent addition to the F-150. Once you have chosen the one you prefer, it’s time for installation. You might decide to have it professionally installed for many reasons, but we have helpful installation information for you if you are a DIYer. 

Tools Needed

These are the tools needed to install a Westin 2015-2019 HDX grille guard according to the instructions. Check the directions for your specific product, but the necessary tools should be similar. 

  • 14 mm socket
  • 15 mm socket
  • 18 mm socket
  • Pry tool or long handle screwdriver
  • Utility knife
  • Allen wrench
  • Socket extender
  • Rachet
  • Torque wrench
  • Anti-seize lubricant

If your truck does not have factory mounting holes, you will also need a drill to make the holes for the hardware.

If you are looking for a basic socket set, consider this set from Epauto. It has everything you need!  

Find it here on Amazon. 

Preparation

Besides getting your tools together, you may want to get some help from a buddy because the brush guard is heavy and tedious to handle by yourself. You can complete the job alone, but having an extra set of hands may save some time and aggravation, plus keeping a few of your hard-earned dollars out of the swear jar. 

Check your parts against the provided parts list to make sure nothing is missing or damaged. Finally, unless you have done this before, you should probably read the instruction sheet

You should allow approximately two hours for installation. The job itself is not difficult, but there are some steps in which you might want to take your time so that you don’t damage your truck.  

Git R Done

Here are the basic steps to the installation:

  1. Thoroughly clean the front of the truck before starting installation. 
  2. Dismantle the lower air dam to gain access to the backside of the bumper and tow hook mounting. 
  3. Remove the plastic covers on each side of the bumper with a pry tool or screwdriver. Be careful not to scratch them. 
  4. Disconnect the fog lights. 
  5. Remove the bumper.
  6. Now you have access to remove the tow hooks on each side.  If your truck doesn’t have tow hooks, you will need to trim the plastic to access the area for mounting. 
  7. Reuse the nut plate from the tow hooks for the grille guard lower mounting bracket. If your truck doesn’t have tow hooks, use the nut plate provided. 
  8. Find the four large bolts on the top side of the bumper and remove the two outermost on each side. This mount is where you will mount the top bracket for the grille guard.
  9. Remount the bumper to the truck. 
  10. Make sure that the brackets align with the grille guard before you go any further.  
  11. If so, you can loosely mount the grille guard. 
  12. Then, you are ready to return the plastic covers to each side of the bumper and reconnect the fog lights. 
  13. Next, you are ready to put the air dam back on the truck. 
  14. Make sure all the bolts are tightened. 
  15. Finally, you are ready to stand back and admire your work!

Clean-Up

Clean up all the packaging and extra parts. You might want to wipe down the grille guard and front end to remove any debris.  

If you are more of a visual learner, check out this YouTube video. 

How do grille guards attach?

Grille guards are a popular add-on feature to trucks. Therefore, manufacturers often include factory mounting positions on many models. These mounting holes are one of the main reasons you choose a product specific to your vehicle’s make and model.

If the factory mounting positions are there, they’ll be below the front bumper. If your truck doesn’t have them, you will have some cutting and drilling to do before installation. 

What is the point of a grille guard?

A grey Ford F-150 FX4 on the parking lot

Grille guards increase protection to your vehicle by giving additional structural support to the front bumper, fenders, and radiator and protect the grille. They also can protect your finish from scratches when driving through areas with rocks and high brush.

There’s also a safety aspect. Consider that the average vehicle fender is rated only to withstand a crash of 5 mph. While there are additional supports further back, a grille guard provides extra support in front, minimizing damage to the frame and other components of the vehicle during an impact.  

If you are looking for the highest level of protection, choose a brush guard. It gives all the assurance of a grille guard but with the added coverage for the headlights. Some even offer additional lighting. 

If you think a grille guard adds a bit too much to your vehicle, you might consider a bull bar that only covers the middle portion of the front end so that you won’t alter the look of your truck isn’t altered as much. 

Is a brush guard worth it?

If you take your truck off-road or drive at night on roads where animals are known to cross frequently, then a brush guard might be a must-have for your truck.

It can offer protection with the potential to save you money in the long run by preventing the replacement of the grill or headlights or extensive damage to the front end of your truck. A road encounter with a large animal can easily total a vehicle.  

Safety Considerations

It is important to note that brush guards are not perfect. They can interfere with any parking and proximity sensors located on your front bumper or grill area.

Guards can also interfere with some built-in safety components like crumple zones and even keep airbags from deploying. It can even prevent the use of your tow hooks on some brands.

Grille guards and bull bars are also controversial because there’s thought that they can cause more damage, not less, during an accident, especially to pedestrians. There’s even literature that says passengers of vehicles with added guards are at higher risk of injury. 

Cost Considerations

Then there is the cost. Brush guards can range in price from a few hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars. They also need to be a specific fit for your vehicle’s make and model.  Otherwise, it will not fit and function properly.

These should all be considerations when installing either a bull bar, grille guard, or brush guard. If you are installing just for looks, it might not be worth the cost and loss of functionality in your vehicle’s features. If it’s for added protection based on how you use your truck, then it’s probably worth it.  

If you have decided that a brush guard is a must-have for your F-150, consider this one from Westin.

Find it here on Amazon. 

Do brush guards affect gas mileage?

Anything that adds weight to a vehicle can potentially affect gas mileage. A grille guard is going to add about an extra 100 pounds to the truck.

Then there is a question of aerodynamics.  Do they catch wind changing the air drag of the vehicle? There could be some changes, but only minimal, and probably nothing you would even notice.

A recent study found that grill guards have “little to no negative impact” on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. So, fuel efficiency shouldn’t be the reason that you don’t install one. 

In Closing

There are many reasons that people choose to add bull bars, grille guards, and brush guards on their F-150s.  Whether for looks or protection, you can do the job at home with a few simple tools and some time.  

For more information, check out Grille Guards – Are They Worth the Investment?

Also, consider reading How Much Does A Brush Guard Weigh?

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