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“Do I need a bull bar?”
A question that is often asked by most people who drive a 4×4 or has just recently purchased one. This question often divides people into two camps – there are those who see it as a form of protection against dangerous roads and those who deem it as a superficial accessory.
To put it into perspective, an ice hockey player wears protective gear to keep them safe from flying pucks and other players colliding into them. The same way a bull bar helps protect the car and keep the passengers safe if there is an off chance that you collide with an animal, branches, stones, or any other objects.
Ultimately, it all boils down to what you need the bullbar for. To help bridge the gap between these two camps we have listed some of the reasons why you would need a bull bar.
Protection from animal collisions
If you spend a lot of time driving through rural areas along outback roads then you are probably aware of how much damage colliding with a kangaroo can do. Unexpectedly colliding with a roo or any other large animal without a bull bar can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle, can leave you stranded, and in worst case scenarios cause harm to your passengers and you.
Installing a bull bar helps reduce the amount of damage caused to your vehicle by absorbing the initial impact. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you are 100 kms away from the next town. Note: Avoid driving at dusk or dawn to minimise the risk of an animal collision.
Driving off-road without any protection at all puts everyone at risk. Whether your traveling 100km/h on an outback road or bush bashing through the forest or dunes, your vehicle becomes a magnet for hazards.
There’s only so much you can be vigilant about before a random branch lodges itself into the front of your car, you ram into a large rock or fallen tree, or run into some nasties hidden in the ruts.
All these hazards can cause quite a lot of damage to the front end of your car, especially when it’s made out of plastic. Bull bars have been designed and built from materials that are made to withstand the elements and to protect you and your vehicle.
Mount all your accessories
Apart from the obvious safety features, a bull bar is also an excellent location to mount all your outdoor accessories. Despite having several locations available on your vehicle to mount a winch, one of the easiest ways to mount one is onto a bull bar.
If you’re someone who spends a lot of time in the dunes, it’s essential that you have a sandflag mounted at all times, which can be best mounted onto the bull bar for optimal exposure. If you love beach fishing, you can forget about bringing the PVC pipes and instead mount some rod holders onto the bull bar. A strong sturdy bull bar is also a reliable point that provides a base to mount any additional driving lights or a UHF antenna.
Improve your approach angle
Too often can the off-road terrain be unforgiving and as vigilant as you may be, eventually you’re going to miscalculate the angle and scrape off some paint, or worse crack the bumper.
Bull bars help improve your approach angle so that you can avoid hitting the terrain hard and negating any body damage. The most you will likely suffer is a couple of scuff marks on the bar, which sounds better than cracking your front bumper.
Install convenient recovery points
They don’t make them like they used to. Back in the days vehicles used to have simple chassis rails that extended out the front making recovery jobs easy. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case and with recovery loads increasing what can we do?
Certain types of bull bars have recovery points built in, some can be added as an option, and others help expose the chassis so that points can be added. Without a bull bar these days it can be quite difficult to fit in recovery points.
For more information
Apart from the reasons mentioned above, there is a little more to consider before buying a bull bar. We have to understand that adding a bull bar to your vehicle is also adding on extra weight which can put more pressure on your front suspension, block sensors used for adaptive cruise control and parking, and increase fuel consumption. That being said, the advancements in bull bar technologies now include airbag and sensors compatibility, made from durable materials such as steel, alloy, and polyethylene, and of course they have to look good. A wide variety of brands including ARB, ECB, Outback, SmartBar, TJM, Uneek and XROX can be found at Total 4×4 in Perth, Western Australia.