Guidance and Advice for Buying Car Grills/Air Intakes on eBay

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Guidance and Advice for Buying Car Grills/Air Intakes on eBay

When driving a car, an engine powers the vehicle through the use of combustive force within four or more cylinders. Fuelled by an air and fuel mixture, the combustion process draws air for the mixture from outside the engine. This air flows in through either a car grill or an air intake system, with the type depending largely upon the vehicle and engine type.

Car grills allow for air to flow into the engine compartment, while air intakes feed air directly into the carburettor or throttle body. On most stock vehicles, the air intake takes the form of a stock air box, though vehicle owners can modify both grills and air intakes with aftermarket parts.

When buying car grills, vehicle owners should know which materials, finishes, and patterns they need. When shopping for an air intake, car owners must choose between the various types available. Shoppers can find a multitude of car grills and air intakes at auto part shops, online through the specific part manufacturer's websites, or online on the eBay marketplace.

Car Grills and Air Intakes

Car grills and air intakes provide for essential air circulation within a vehicle's engine compartment. Both items also help feed air to the carburettor or throttle body for the all-important air and fuel mixture, which makes the combustion process possible. The car grill also serves the purpose of not only letting air in but of keeping out any foreign objects, such as animals and debris, while the vehicle moves down the motorway. The following sections detail the different types of car grills and air intakes to give shoppers a better idea of available options while shopping.

Car Grills

Car grills serve the dual function of allowing air into the engine compartment, which helps cool the radiator and provide air for the air and fuel mixture, and keeping foreign objects out of the engine area. Car owners have a few choices when purchasing car grills, including grill materials, finish, and patterns. The sections below provide more information about these key purchase decision areas.

Car Grill Materials

When choosing a car grill, shoppers must decide which grill material they prefer. The following table describes the different materials available, which include plastic, aluminium, and stainless steel.

Grill Materials


ABS Plastic Grill

Main material for car grill construction; costs less; can be fragile, especially after exposure to extreme heats

Aluminium Grill

Most commonly used in aftermarket grills; lightweight and resistant to corrosion; durable and easily worked material

Stainless Steel Grill

Three times more durable than aluminium; corrosion and stain resistant; low maintenance; costs more; offer better protection

When choosing a grill material, car owners should pick a material that fits within their budget. Plastic costs the least, followed by aluminium and then stainless steel.

Grill Finishes

After choosing a material, shoppers must decide the type of finish they want, if any. The chart below contains information on the various car grill finishes that shoppers can find, including chrome, powder, and painted.

Grill Finishes


Chrome Grill

Usually applied to aluminium or stainless steel grill materials; base material receives a high polish, with the chrome added for accent

Powder Coated Grill

A special process helps special components stick to material; achieved through the use of heat, magnetism, or other processes

Custom Finish Grill

Custom finishes specific to individual manufacturers; includes specialty designs, such as a leopard and more

Painted Grill

Typically have either the frame, the mesh, or both painted; grill mesh has the vehicle's colours, while the grill frame has a contrasting colour

When choosing a car grill finish, car owners need to think about the colour of their car and whether they want chrome or another finish type. This more than likely needs to be an aftermarket addition to their vehicle unless vehicle manufacturers offer a finish as an option on a vehicle package or as part of a special edition.

Grill Patterns

The final area concerning car grills has to do with grill patterns. Shoppers can find a variety of grill patterns, with several detailed in the table below.

Grill Patterns


Billet Grill

Made from aluminium, these grills have a high lustre; typically has a chromed front face with a black powder coat finish as a background

Mesh Grill

Made of stainless steel woven mesh; generally found in fast cars; polished or plated and then powder coated

Egg Crate Grill

Typically found in older sports cars; manufactured from aluminium or plastic; most often painted or even chromed

CNC Grill

CNC machines offer car owners a multitude of grill designs; made of stainless steel or aluminium, the design desire is programed and cut

Drivers can either pick a special design from those available online or find a machine shop that can cut the design for them. Buying a design already cut online typically costs less than having a machine shop do the work.

Air Intakes

Air intakes provide the air to the carburettor or throttle body, which in turn gives the engine the oxygen it needs for the air and fuel mixture in the combustion chambers. This combustion gives the car the power it needs to run. The following sections cover the different parts of an air intake system, as well as some of the various air intake types available.

Three Parts of an Air Intake System

While a variety of air intake systems exist, they all work along the same principles and have the same basic parts. The sections below detail the three different parts of an air intake system: the air filter, mass flow sensor, and throttle body.

Air Filter

The air filter sits in an enclosed stock air box that feeds into the throttle body or sits atop the carburettor for vehicles without electronic fuel injection systems. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes determined by the make and model of the vehicle. Their basic function includes filtering dirt and other particles from the air flowing into the engine.

Mass Flow Sensor

The mass flow sensor monitors the air flow rate into a fuel-injected engine. This allows the engine control unit to deliver the correct amount of fuel to the engine. This sensor measures the total air density, including the air flow in relation to the ambient temperature, the altitude, and the use of forced induction to make the adjustments necessary for the combustion process to work properly.

Throttle Body

In a fuel injection engine, throttle bodies take the place of a carburettor in controlling the amount of air that flows into the engine. Located between the air filter box and the intake manifold, the mass air flow sensor monitors the air flow entering the throttle body, adjusting the fuel added to the air and fuel mixture to the appropriate levels.

Types of Air Intakes

While most air intake systems operate along the same principles, providing air to the engine for combustion, a variety of systems exist for this purpose. The table that follows contains information particular to the different air intake systems available.

Air Intake Types


Short-Pipe Intake

Consists of a high-flow air filter attached to a metal pipe; air from the engine compartment; lower engine power; reduced fuel consumption

Cold Air Intake

Air from outside the vehicle; burns more fuel; advantage of higher performance; uses long piping attached to a high-flow air filter

Ram-Air Intake

Akin to a cold air intake; collects extra oxygen into intake manifold to provide additional power; burns more fuel; provides most power

Stock Air Box Intake

Basic air intake system from the manufacturer; more restrictive than other intake systems; sufficient for normal vehicle operation

When replacing an air intake system, car owners should make sure that any system purchased provides the air required for an engine to operate efficiently. Air intake systems should not restrict the air flowing to the engine too much or the engine could lose some of its horsepower.

Purchase Car Grills and Air Intakes on eBay

For car owners who want to purchase a car grill or air intake on eBay, they can search through various product listings, including by item cost, quality, size, material, finish, and more. They can also search according to part brand and for specific vehicle type. When searching, visitors to eBay can enter keywords into the search bar located on any page. When searching for car grills and air intakes, shoppers can use search terms such as "BMW car grill&" and "cold air intake&" to pull up item listings.

To further refine the search after pulling up the item listings, shoppers can click on the categories available. This allows shoppers to narrow their search even further to find the exact item that they need. Those who need help with searching with keywords can go to the eBay Search Tips page for more help or visit eBay shops for more options.

If shoppers have a question concerning an item listing, they can inquire further on the Ask a Question link located on the listing page. This link allows them to ask sellers questions about the items that they are selling. Shoppers should also check the seller's feedback rating to gauge overall buyer satisfaction with their products.


Vehicle owners should ensure that their car's grill and air intake operate properly. If for some reason they become damaged, vehicle owners can replace them with like parts bought at auto part shops or online. An owner who wants to upgrade to a more powerful air intake system or more stylish car grill provides another reason to replace grills or intakes.

Shoppers should look at the various grills and intakes available and find the one that they want. They need to keep the airflow needs of their vehicle in mind though. Bigger engines require more air to feed the additional cylinders within them. If car owners have questions while shopping they should ask an automotive specialist for more information about the type of car grills or air intakes that they need before purchasing. This should allow vehicle owners to find just the product that they need on eBay and elsewhere.

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