Deer Guard

I've pondered the idea of a deer guard (grille guard) for the Volvo for a long time. One of the negatives is it would block the fog lights I have mounted in the bumper. Also, they are fairly expensive...especially the full-blown moose bumper types. Recently I was reading a discussion that older trucks were getting totaled by insurance companies for 'minor' accidents like deer strikes and such. This got me to thinking about deer guards again so I decided to get one. I wouldn't want a deer or fender bender to send my older, pre-emission truck to the junkyard.

I wanted something that protected the whole grille but not necessarily a full deer guard. My wife agreed. She said the full guards look like a cattle gate. Ha!

The first one I found that I liked was this one. It covered the grille. It looks like a trimmed down version of the Protec guard above. A company near Chicago sold them but they wouldn't ship to me. 'Local pickup only'. Another company in Cincinnati advertised them but were 'out of stock'. Sigh.

After more looking I found a style by Kozac that I liked. The square uprights look mean and kind of Mad Max. These were marketed by Tacoma Parts Corporation of Seattle and sold by several retailers. The price was the same as was the high shipping charge ($400!!). I ended up ordering it from Walmart. The day it arrived the delivery driver called me. I was in town so I met him in the...Walmart...parking lot. It saved him a trip to the country.

The deer guard came triple wrapped (foam/cardboard/plastic) and bound to a pallet with a box of mounting hardware and a box of accessories.

The mounting hardware is the same style used by Protec so I used their installation videos for assistance. I think Kozac is pretty much a Chinese clone company.

The accessory kit included cheap LED lights....

...and really cheap light mounting brackets, a reflective vest, windshield wipers, license plate frame & mount, etc. I couldn't find any way to order the deer guard that didn't include some sort of accessory kit. I left the deer guard wrapped during installation to avoid scratches.

The installation videos and the instructions made the installation look easy. It was not. The mounting brackets are installed on the deer guard and the entire assembly is slid into the holes used for tow hooks. The mounting hardware didn't line up with my holes at all. After much head scratching I found the main mounting bracket on the passenger of deer guard was crooked. I straightened it with a 3-lb hammer. Chinese manufacturing quality.

I was able to mount the deer guard but I had another issue. The locking latches are supposed to move freely. Mine didn't. I ended up having to reverse the order of the shoulder bolts and play with different combinations of washers and included Belleville washers. I got it to function but there is more slop than there should be.

When I got the deer guard mounted I removed the packing material to reveal a big dent on the lower tube (red arrow). Sigh.... There were also a couple very small dings, but these are hard to see. The side of the deer guard that was dented was packed towards the pallet, and there was no damage to the packing, so I tend to think the guard was shipped with a dent.

On a positive note, the deer guard ended up not blocking my fog lights. I was planning on remounting them but now I won't have to.

I contacted Tacoma Parts Corporation about the dent. They blamed the shipping company, but offered to send me some plastic-chrome bobbles for compensation...if I would pay $50 for shipping. Apparently, overcharging for shipping is part of their business model.

Dent aside, I am happy with the deer guard. The 3" tubes are 14 gauge stainless steel and the polish looks great. I think it gives the truck a beasty look and hopefully will protect the truck from damage. I'd like to find some rubber strips that would fit on the uprights for bumping protection.

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