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My last vehicle was a Honda Element. It was famously reliable and quite quirky. One of said quirks was the location of the AC condenser, just below the radiator and right up front, just behind the grille.

Early in my ownership of the Element I heard a few horror stories of rocks or road debris being kicked up and damaging the AC condenser. Repair cost was $800+. Many in the community reacted by adding a layer of mesh (think window screen) behind the grille and in front of the condenser.

I did this and never had any damage in 140k of driving that Honda all over the west, including many, many, many miles on dirt/gravel roads.

Anyone see a reason to install a similar layer of protection in the front of their PM? The gaps in the grille are huge and allow lots of air in, but my ~year old PM already has lots of bent radiator fins and gazillions of bugs wedged in there.

Am I being paranoid? I mean more than the average bear?
 

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Good question! I have been thinking about the same thing, mainly due to the amount of bugs we accumulate. Not sure bug accumulation on the screen would be that much better though...
 

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My condenser was busted last year with a rock. The new coil cost $118 aftermarket. Total labor condenser freon was less than $250
 

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Lowe's sells rolls of black nylon screen (you know, for windows) that I use in summer to keep bugs from clogging up the radiator. You could do a fancy install behind the fascia, but I just gorilla tape it right to the front. This may or may not stop a rock, but it will stop bugs nicely.
 
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