Do bull bars interfere with parking sensors?

Do bull bars interfere with parking sensors?

Bull bars are a popular aftermarket accessory for a host of reasons.

But with their position guarding the front of the vehicle, it's fair for 4WD owners to ask: will they impact my parking sensors?

The short answer is- yes. Typically they do. However, some manufacturers have taken steps with their design to prevent it.

This blog tells you about how parking sensors work, how bull bars can affect their use, and what can be done to avoid it.

How do parking sensors work?

Parking sensors are modern contraptions that alert drivers to objects (or obstacles) near their vehicles. 

They work in a similar way to how bats find their food! Emitting a high-pitched sound, which reflects off other objects to discern how far they are away.

There are two types of parking sensors: ultrasonic and electromagnetic.

  1. Ultrasonic sensors emit a high-level frequency that bounces off the car's surfaces. The sensor takes these sound waves and uses them to calculate the distance of any obstacles or other vehicles close to the vehicle and alerts the driver with that beeping noise.
  2. Electromagnetic work similarly, detecting an even wider range of information (as sound can be obstructed).

Sensors are paired with cameras to the front and rear of the vehicle so the driver can see what the other vehicle or obstacle is and where their vehicle is in relation to it.

Bull bars at the front of the vehicle can obstruct these waves themselves- with the sensors wrongly assuming that another vehicle is in close proximity.

Do Bull Bars Interfere With Parking Sensors?

The backup camera behind the vehicle is unaffected, but bull bars have the potential to affect the one at the front bumper.

In this instance, there are a few choices. 

Option one, just leaving one sensor, is a personal choice. Although we have managed to survive all these years without them, they do serve a purpose, so this is not what we would recommend.

We would recommend avoiding tinkering with the front parking sensors’ locations too. They have been engineered for maximum efficiency in their exact position, and even minor tweaking can leave a blind spot that leaves your vehicle vulnerable.

Buying a bull bar that is parking sensor compatible is the common sense solution if you want all the benefits of the bull bar without losing the functionality of both your parking sensors. Check with your manufacturer or dealer to ensure yours is before making your purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do parking sensors detect?

Parking sensors help your vehicle alert you to other vehicles and obstacles while manoeuvring at slow speeds- such as parking. This measure proximity in front and behind the vehicle, alerting the driver with a series of audible beeps- getting faster and more frequent the closer the vehicle is to the obstacle or object.

Do parking sensors need calibration?

Most can suffer some ageing, though this depends on the product. Higher-end products with more accurate measurements typically need more frequent calibration- as often as once every six months.

If the sensor or the bumper is hit or removed, they may need re-calibration too

Do bullbars affect insurance?

Almost all insurance companies have no issue insuring vehicles with a grille guard or bull bar installed, assuming:

  • They have been informed and have agreed to them
  • They are not performance-enhancing
  • They comply with the Australian design rule

We hope you've found this article educational. In summary, yes, most bull bars affect your front sensors- unless you can find ones that are already parking sensor compatible. Luckily, we know just the guys!