Hey, everybody, I'm Justin with AmericanMuscle.com. Here's my detailed review of the Putco stainless steel bumper grill insert featuring a black punch design, available for your 2015 and up F-150. This review is going to cover the basic construction of the Putco insert, what it's going to do in terms of styling for your truck, how much it's going to set you back, and finally, what it takes to get it installed.
Speaking of the install here, guys, there is a little work to get this thing onto your truck, including some removal of the factory bumper trim, a slight massage with a rubber mallet ,and some nut-and-bolt type of stuff as well. So it's going to be a strong one out of three wrenches on my difficulty meter, and we'll have a little bit more detail on that coming up.
The Putco lower grill insert is going to be a great choice for any F-150 owner out there looking to update or customize the front end of their new F-150 by taking the popular route of changing out the factory grills in favor of an aftermarket option. Putco is really one of those big companies out there leading the way when it comes to aftermarket grill options for the newer trucks, and the lower grill insert is just one example of that. So, basically, guys, if you want to change both the upper and lower grills or maybe just a fan of the lower grill by itself, this would definitely be a great choice.
Now, the exact grill insert I have with me in this video is what Putco refers to as their black punch design, and that basically just refers to the style of the grill itself. As you can see, this features more of a "mesh" design or "circle mesh" design or even more of a "honeycomb" design, as opposed to something totally wild and over-the-top. So, with that said, if you guys really aren't fans of those crazy grills or the Billet grills or anything like that and you want to maintain more of a factory-like appearance, the black punch design from Putco would be a great choice. Now Putco is going to throw a lot of options at you when we're talking about this particular lower grill here or this lower insert. For instance, we do have the black punch design with me in this video, you can also grab this thing in a stainless steel finish. And in addition to the punch design, they do also offer a horizontal bar design in both black and stainless as well. Now Putco takes this even a step further and they offer both punch and the horizontal bar designs with an optional 10-inch Luminex LED light bar. It's executed really well, it looks really clean, and it's going to offer some pretty solid additional light output. Again, guys, you have a lot of options to think about when choosing this lower insert.
I do want to quickly take the time to mention the construction here of the lower grill insert because Putco really does a great job with this part. They tend to do that with a lot of their products, don't get me wrong, but you're going to be looking at a stainless steel material here for the base product or the base material, and then Putco finishes everything off with a very solid black powder coat, easily will stand the rigors of being mounted to the front of your truck, and it should take a little bit of abuse.
One thing I really like about the Putco lower grill insert, besides that quality construction, is that they throw in the front plate bracket here at no additional charge. I really like this, because guys out there who have to [inaudible 00:02:49] run their front plate, you know, this thing can be a little awkward and it does get in the way of that factory grill. So by running this thing, you're not going to have to drill any additional holes because it utilizes some of the additional mounting tabs on your factory front bumper, and by lowering the plate out of the way, you're going to be letting a ton more air into that factory inner cooler for all my fellow Ecoboost[SP] owners out there.
On the topic of price, guys, you're going to be dropping right around one hundred bucks here for the lower grill insert from Putco, which seems to be the average going rate for quality lower grill insert options. Now, sure you can probably spend a little less and get something a little cheaper somewhere else, but more than likely it's not going to offer that quality stainless steel construction, probably won't offer a solid black powder coat, and it's probably not going to include the additional front plate bracket. So again, you have to factor all these into the price.
Switching gears, let's quickly talk about the install here guys, and as I mentioned earlier, there is a little bit of work to get this thing installed onto your truck. As far as tools, you're looking at a basic set of pliers here, a couple of screwdrivers, both Philips and flathead, that rubber mallet we talked about, and a 7/16-inch wrench. You're going to first get started by removing the front license plate and bracket if equipped. After that, you're going to need to remove the factory front bumper trim. You can either muscle this thing off and pull it directly off, or you can use a flathead screwdriver to help you pry it off. With all that stuff out of the way, you'e going to need to install some of the clips and hardware that Putco includes, that will be actually used to hold the grill insert in place. Now you get to break out the fun tools. Grab that rubber mallet and go to work on the two tabs on either side of the opening, bending them out of the way, allowing the grill insert to fit. Don't worry guys, this is totally reversible, you can always bend the tabs back if you did want to return to stock. Finally, you're going to be looking at a mixture of 3M tape and hardware for your final steps in order to get the grill insert installed, and that's pretty much it.
Now Putco does include some very detailed instructions along with their lower grill insert, which always helps of course, but overall this really isn't brain surgery, so I'm going to call it one out of three wrenches on my difficulty meter, and a strong one out of three at that, and maybe a couple of hours from start to finish.
While aftermarket grills are typically one of those love-it-or-hate-it type of modifications, I feel the Putco black punch stainless steel insert here is going to appeal to a lot of truck owners out there because it's a relatively low-key mod that will deliver a modified look but without hitting you over the head in the process. Factor in some of the extras like the license plate relocation bracket and a low price, and you have a solid mod here for any F-150. So be sure to check out more options from Putco for your F-150 right here at AmericanMuscle.com.
If you don't like the look of the factory plastic bumper trim but don't want a traditional lower grille that only fits in a small area on the bumper, then consider adding the Putco Bumper Grille Insert to your truck. Putco designed this black Grille Insert to completely replace the factory bumper trim panel. By removing the panel and adding the grille insert in its place, the punch pattern design will give your truck an aggressive appearance that will definitely set your rig apart from the rest.Quality Construction.
Putco constructs their Bumper Grille from stainless steel for strength. The grille is then completed in a black powdercoat finish to provide an aggressive appearance and long lasting resistance against corrosion.Easy Installation.
Best of all, Putco designed this Grille Insert to be a direct replacement of the factory trim panel. There is no cutting or drilling required for installation. All of the necessary hardware is included for a painless install. Please note, some F-150 models will be required to relocate their front license plate.Optional LED Light Bar.
By selecting the "w/ LED Light Bar" option, the Bumper Grille will come with a pre-installed 10 inch Luminix LED Light Bar that sits front and center on the grille. The LED Light Bar features nine 5 watt high quality NICHIA brand LEDs to maximize lumen output with a 6000K color temperature. Putco crafts each Light Bar from black anodized 6061 billet aluminum for greats looks and durability. With a IP69 rating for Dust and Moisture protection, the light bar can handle the rigors of off-road driving.Application.
This Putco Punch Design Lower Grille Insert with a punch pattern design is specifally designed to be used on the 2015 to 2017 F-150s, excluding Raptors.Technical Note.
The Grille is not compatible on vehicles equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC). Also if you have a front license plate, you will be required to relocate the plate.
- What's in the Box
Without LED Light Bar:
- (1) Bumper Grille
- (1) Alcohol Pad
- (1) License Plate Bracket
- (1) Hardware Kit
With LED Light Bar:
- (1) Bumper Grille with Pre-Installed Light Bar
- (1) Alcohol Pad
- (1) License Plate Bracket
- (1) Hardware Kit
- (1) Wiring Harness
- (1) Switch
- (1) Light Bar Installation Instruction
- Installation Info
Installation Time: (approx) 2 Hours
Difficulty Level:Light to Moderate mechanical skill required.
- Will it fit my F-150?
Not Compatible on F-150s equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).