Our Guide to Repairing or Replacing Your Mercedes Grille

The Mercedes S-Class is a full-size luxury sedan that has been manufactured under this brand since 1972. S-Class is short for Sonderklasse, which is German for special class. This designates the top of the line vehicles in the Mercedes lineup. S-Class cars are known for debuting many of the newest and top technologies developed by Mercedes. The current generation of S-Class is the sixth generation and it was debuted in 2014. This car features a streamlined appearance compared to its previous generation and the grille has a less obvious curve in the center. The car is covered inside and outside with luxury material, including genuine leather and metal rather than plastic alternatives. The S-Class grille is one of its distinctive styling markers.

What Is An Auto Grille?

When people refer to an auto grille, they are almost always talking about the radiator grille, which is always on the front of a front-engine car. This grille protects the radiator and engine while still allowing air to flow in through openings in its design. Grilles are typically given distinctive styling across brands and models to provide a recognizable look. Grilles can best be described as having a grating or screen construction. Radiator grilles are most commonly located on the front center of a vehicle. Some vehicles may have additional grilles in front of the wheels for brake cooling or on the cowl for cabin cooling. A rear engine vehicle naturally has a grille in the rear and a mid-engine vehicle would have a grille on the sides. Even though they're just on the front of the vehicle, radiator grilles serve an important design function. Nearly every car brand has a distinctive grille type that allows it to be immediately recognized on the road. Some grille styles are so iconic that car makers use them as their primary identification. For example, the o seven-bar style of the Jeep grille is trademarked by the brand. Other immediately recognizable grille styles include the Dodge cross bar and the BMW split-kidney shape. Mercedes has a variety of grille styles that usually feature either horizontal slats or a billet and they always prominently display the Mercedes symbol.

The Purpose Of An Auto Grille

If you look at your car from the front, the unique positioning of the grille and the headlights make it look rather like it has a face. Humans tend to see human faces in things that don't have them and the front of a car is no different. In fact, this is a purposeful thing by auto manufacturers and designers. People tend to be attracted to things they can empathize with. So one of the purposes of a car grille is to catch the eyes of buyers. However, that isn't the sole purpose of an auto grille. Its original purpose was to provide airflow into the engine while still keeping a streamlined appearance. That's why grilles are essentially slats or grating with openings for air to flow through and help cool the engine. In the modern day, technology has advanced to allow engines to be cooled in multiple ways, so the grille is probably at least half decorative now and that's why you see a lot of unique designs on newer cars. It's unlikely that grilles will ever be totally phased out as they serve an important function in branding and aesthetic appeal.

How To Repair Or Replace A Grille

Auto grilles have a few different styles and finishes. Chrome grilles are very common and a basic style. Mesh grilles are often used on performance cars and are made of stainless steel. They're often finished in black or chrome or even matching paint to the car. Billet grille styles are common for large cars and trucks that have a similarly large grille area. The most common is probably the regular bar grille. Stainless steel is one grille material, but a majority of auto grilles are made with either ABS or high impact Styrene. Both of these materials are types of plastic. Styrene is prone to damage over time from simple wear or constant sun exposure. ABS is more durable, but will also sustain wear over time and can break. Certainly a luxury vehicle like the Mercedes S-Class is the type of car to use stainless steel in grille construction. Replacing a grille if it's been damaged can be a complex job depending on the car. In most cases, you'll find that the first step is removing the front part of the vehicle. A repair manual should outline the steps for doing this properly. Sometimes the grille is a separate part from the nose and can be removed by removing the screws and/or bolts holding it in place. However, very often the grille is part of the vehicle's nose. Because of this, the damaged grille will have to be cut off from the nose. This is the part that often intimidates the average DIY mechanic. A repair manual or installation instructions should tell you where the precise cutting points are. After the old grille is removed, the edges have to be sanded down. Start with a fairly coarse sandpaper and go down at least three grades to reach a fairly fine sandpaper in the end. The new grille will then need to be screwed on per the installation instructions and the vehicle nose replaced. To ensure the best fit, it's important to always buy OEM Mercedes grilles that are made for your specific vehicle. Visit mbdirectparts.com to find a great selection of Mercedes parts and accessories, including the S-Class grille. By using OEM Mercedes-Benz parts, you're guaranteed to get parts designed for your exact vehicle. Aftermarket parts are not guaranteed to fit or give you the performance you expect. Always replace your worn Mercedes parts with genuine OEM parts backed by the manufacturer. Search our site through a VIN, part number or keyword, or find your vehicle in the menu. Our helpful Mercedes-Benz parts experts are ready to answer any questions you may have.