Dodge Dakota Front Grills, Dakota Billet Grills, Dakota Front Grills, Dakota Mesh Grills, Aftermarket Grilles, Replacement Grills
Dodge Dakota Front Grills (whether they be replacements of overlays) are the most common exterior appearance upgrade that Dakota owners will do. That’s because compared to other exterior appearance upgrades like body kits and spoilers, replacing a Dakota’s grille is usually quick, painless, and doesn’t require painting. Also, the simple upgrade usually leaves the vehicle with a completely different look.
Our line of Dodge Dakota Front Grills carry thru 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 or 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07 models.
97-04 Dakota Front Grills
Dakota Front Grills: What do they do?
The Front Hood Grill on your Dodge Dakota is not just for looks. The grill allows for ventilation into the front part of your Dakota to allow for better cooling for your radiator and engine bay. If your Dakota had no grill, you would suffocate your engine bay and significantly raise the amount of heat in your engine’s environment, leading to decreased performance. The factory Dodge grille is there to let air in while keeping larger debris out to prevent damage to the relatively fragile radiator.
While most Aftermarket Dodge Dakota Replacement Grills can increase performance a bit by allowing even more airflow, they are not generally considered a high performance upgrade. Basically it’s just a looks thing. Change the look of the grill and your entire front end is transformed into a different vehicle, setting it apart from the thousands of other Dakotas out on the road.
Types of Dodge Dakota Front Grilles
While there are plenty of companies out there that make grills for Dodge Dakotas, they generally can fall within a few categories of fitment and look.
Replacement Type Dakota Front Grills
Replacement Dakota Grills are the most common type of grill and require you to completely remove the Dodge grille from your Dakota. These types of grills can be the hardest type to install since they require undoing several tabs and/or screws, and then fitting the new grill in. They usually have the advantage of being more securely attached and having more of a stock flush look to them.
In some very rare occasions where the stock grill is physically a part of the rest of the bumper, you may have to make modifications by cutting out a proper install area. You could usually tell by looking at your stock grill whether cutting would be required or not (if the grill is not a separate independent piece, then you probably need to cut). While such grills exist, we try not to carry cutting type grills due to the amount of labor and permanent modification involved.
Dakota Front Grill Overlay
For a small amount of vehicles, grill overlays are available. In this case, you would leave your stock Dakota alone, and the grill overlay would fit over the existing grill. The grille overlay would then snap in or have hidden screws to attach somewhere around the edge of the stock grill. The overwhelming majority of overlay type grills are billet type.
Usually, installing a Dakota Grille overlay is simple, but due to the nature of the grill, it may sit out further than your stock Dodge Grill, which may or may not look right depending on your tastes. Also, if it is a snap on type (which is also pretty rare), it might pop off in the event of a hard collision... which would probably be the least of your worries if your Dakota hit something that hard.
Dodge Dakota Front Billet Grills
Billet Dakota Front Grills are probably the oldest style of Aftermarket Dakota Grille out there. The name refers to the material they are made out of, billet aluminum, which is lightweight and easy to work with. Generally speaking, they will be chrome on the outside, with the interior and rear of the fins painted black. Alternately, some billet style grills may be made of chrome, which can get very heavy, or plastic, which can be too flimsy to support the often thin design of billet grills.
The prototypical Dakota Grill consists of several evenly spaced billet aluminum fins. Fitment wise, most billet grills tend to be overlays, and will include small brackets and screws for installation. They allow for good ventilation while still acting as a formidable barrier to large trash and debris.
Dakota Front Billet Grills tend to be the grill of preference for the muscle car and off road type of consumers, and they look best with darker and bolder colors. With their chrome appearance, they may not “pop” as much on lighter colored vehicles.
Dodge Dakota Front Mesh Grills, Dakota Mesh Grills
Mesh Dakota Grills are the second most popular type of grill. The prototypical mesh consists of a crisscrossed metal design, the thinnest of which might resemble chicken wire. Designs can also include the honeycomb type mesh seen on larger speaker grills, or even plastic materials.
Dakota Mesh Front Grilles typically have an outer shell made of painted or flat black ABS plastic. Installation for mesh grills USUALLY requires moving the original grill and then replacing the whole thing with the new mesh grill. Color wise, the mesh is usually either black or the natural metal color (typically chrome, stainless steel, or aluminum).
Most people do not paint the mesh itself, but will instead paint the outer shell. This is easily accomplished on mesh grills with removable mesh (typically, the thinner type of mesh grills), which allows for removal of the mesh by unscrewing a few phillips screws that hold them in.
Protection wise, larger holed mesh offers less protection from larger debris, but make up for it by offering the best ventilation possible short of driving your Dodge Dakota with no grill. Thinner mesh grills look nice on light or bright colored vehicles as they tend to detract attention from the grill area to the rest of the car. Thicker mesh grills with a heavy chrome look would work best for larger and darker vehicles.
Dodge Dakota Front Mesh Grilles are the favorite of the sport compact, drift, and drag racing enthusiasts.