Bull bars might be aesthetically pleasing, but there’s more to them than looks!
They offer protection not only for your grille but also for your cooling system and front bumper. They provide your truck vital protection from wayward wildlife and all the other quirks of the Australian outback.
If you are considering getting a bull bar, read on to learn more about who needs them most, what the benefits of purchasing one are, and all the different options you have.
Who should buy a bull bar?
A bull bar is often a practical accessory if you consider buying a ute or any outdoor vehicle like an SUV. They’re borderline essential if you do significant off-road driving.
It protects the front of the 4WD from collisions with animals and debris, plus many bull bars have the added benefit of recovery points, winch mounts, extra headlights and other valuable tools.
What are bull bars made of?
Typical bull bars are made of one of three materials, aluminium, steel or plastic, and the type of material you choose depends heavily on why you need the bullbar in the first place.
Steel bull bars are used chiefly for their strength and ability to withstand heavy knocks. A typical steel bull bar can weigh anything between 40 to 100 kg and is considerably weightier than its aluminium counterpart. It is advantageous in the outback, where the chances of a collision are high. Steel bull bars need little maintenance.
Cheap bullbars are available, but you will get what you pay for! You can expect to fork out at least $2200 for a steel bullbar of good quality.
Plastic bull bars are a recent addition and are much less durable than steel ones. They are primarily meant for use in urban areas and wouldn’t be of much use in the great outdoors. These are more for buyers buying for looks than their safety features.
Aluminium bull bars
Aluminium bull bars offer an option in the middle: lighter than a steel bar (albeit not as durable) but much more sturdy than plastic ones. However, they do need a bit of upkeep in the form of polishing to prevent them from becoming dull.
Types of Bullbars
There are six basic types of bull bars, including the popular single-hoop bull bars, triple-hoop bull bars, and lesser-known variations such as bumper bars, nudge bars, competition bars and Baja bars.
This bullbar has just one hoop to cover the grill and radiator. They are also lighter in weight.
This type offers the best protection and weighs the most. This is best suited for rough terrain.
A bumper bar is the most basic bullbar available and generally offers little protection.
Nudge bars are only designed for minor collisions, again enhancing the look of a vehicle more than anything else.
These are used for off-road tournaments and are generally not suitable for protection against wildlife collisions.
A Baja bar is almost like a removable bumper with an attached winch, and it is also meant just for use in competitions.
How does a bull bar affect fuel consumption, vehicle suspension and safety?
Bull bars are an essential safety consideration but can also affect your vehicle's fuel consumption. The extra weight and other add-ons not only affect your vehicle's aerodynamics but can also increase fuel consumption.
It is recommended that if you add a bullbar, you should also upgrade your suspension. With all the added weight of a bull bar, you will notice at least a 20 mm decrease in the front suspension of your vehicle. This can cause difficulty handling and braking since these vehicles were not designed to handle this extra weight.
When you purchase a bull bar, you need to ensure that its mounting system allows for the unhindered deployment of your airbags in case of an accident. An incorrectly installed bullbar can affect several safety tools, such as braking systems, airbag deployment and other sensors.
What else should you consider when buying a Bullbar?
It would be best to consider whether the bull bar comes with a warranty, whether the dealership will help with getting it fitted, or repair/maintenance that might be needed further down the road (so to speak!).
All in all, deciding whether or not to install a bull bar is crucial when it comes to your safety and the safety of the passengers that travel with you. Hopefully, this article has given you the necessary information to make that decision easier.
(And if it whets your appetite, look at our impressive range!)