What is a Bull Bar & What Does It Do?
A bull bar is a steel or aluminium bar that goes in front of your vehicle's bumper to protect against damage from collisions with an animal or pedestrian. Bullbars are very popular in rural areas, hunting outposts, and Aboriginal communities where people may have to deal with wildlife close-ups.
In Australia, it's also known as a "roo bar" or a "roo shield" due to kangaroos being the primary road hazard.
This article explains what a bull bar is, what it does, and how to choose one for your vehicle.
What is Exactly a Bull Bar?
A bull bar is a steel or aluminium bar typically attached to the front of 4WD vehicles. The bar can be used on all types of cars, but they are commonly seen on SUVs and off-road vehicles because it protects them from minor collisions with other vehicles or animal strikes while driving off-road.
As its name implies, bull bars are designed to protect the front of the vehicle. The bars can easily withstand impacts from animals because they're made of thick steel or aluminium.
Cars and trucks driving through rural areas need some form of protection from what might happen on the road. A bull bar is an absolute necessity for off-road vehicles in Australia because kangaroos can leap right onto the vehicle's hood if they see it stopped or going slowly.
However, people often confuse bull bars with other bars that offer frontal protection for vehicles.
Bull Bars vs Nudge Bars: What is the Difference?
Bull bars and nudge bars are very similar in that they are both installed at the front of the vehicle for the sake of additional protection. However, the main difference is in size. Bull bars are larger and bulkier, sitting on the front of the vehicle. On the other hand, Nudge bars sit on the lower end of the front of the vehicle.
When it comes to vehicle protection, these two types of bar are very different. Since bullbars are much bigger, they can protect the entire front side of your vehicle, including your headlights.
Nudge bars are smaller and will provide protection only for straight-on collisions. Since nudge bars are not as strong as bullbars, the amount of protection is also lesser.
For example, if you are driving your vehicle offroad and you have a collision with an animal, a nudge bar will protect your vehicle only if the animal hits the front side of your vehicle. On the other hand, a bull bar will protect your vehicle even if you do not hit the animal directly front-on.
How to choose between bull bars and nudge bars?
It all depends on what you want to use them for. Nudge bars are not designed for protecting the vehicle from an animal strike or a collision with cars, so it's very unlikely that one would be able to stand up to a kangaroo crash.
A bull bar is what we recommend if you're going off-roading and need some frontal protection while driving off-road. However, if you need something to prevent your vehicle from bumping into things in the parking lot, a nudge bar will be just enough.
What's the Purpose of a Bull Bar?
The primary purpose of a bull bar is to protect your vehicle from collisions with pedestrians and animal strikes.
Bull bars are made of heavy-duty steel or aluminium, which can also perform like a push bumper in front of the vehicle. This means your bull bar can help you push other cars out of the way if you need to.
How Does a Bull Bar Work?
Bull bars are extremely sturdy and usually attached with welds or bolts to the vehicle's front end. Some manufacturers make them in two or three pieces, with the separate sections bolted together.
Some bull bars are built with lugs to accommodate accessories like fog lights or spotlights. Others might feature moulded-in steps for easier access to the engine compartment if you need to change your oil or do maintenance work on the underside of your vehicle.
What Does a Bull Bar Look Like?
Bullbars are designed in many different shapes and sizes. They can be square, rectangular or oval. Some are flat on top, while others feature more dramatic curves that might tie into your vehicle's design better.
Bullbars are often divided into the following types:
- Bumper Bar: A bumper bar is the most basic front-end protection, though it provides more than the stock fender.
- Single Hoop: These have a single hoop attached to the bumper area and hang over your vehicle's radiator. Bull bars with a single hoop provide a nice weight balance and front-end protection.
- Triple Hoop: This bull bar provides the most protection at the expense of the most weight. A triple hoop bull bar is recommended if you'll be travelling in locations where animal strikes are common.
- Nudge Bar: As the name implies, a nudge bar is meant for light impacts and is commonly utilized for aesthetic purposes. They aren't attached to the chassis like a 'real' bull bar and aren't designed to resist a significant animal strike.
- A baja bar: Very similar to a bumper bar. They have enhanced chassis reinforcement so they can readily be used with high-power winches. These are intended for off-road competition, not for usage on the road.
- Competition Bar: These are designed to protect while allowing maximum ground clearance. These bull bars are generally utilized in off-road contests because they may be easily removed when broken.
The Benefits of Bull Bars
While a bull bar is an optional accessory, it has many benefits. Here are just the top benefits of installing a bull bar on your vehicle.
- Protection for the driver and their passengers
A bull bar offers more shock absorption, reducing the impact and risk of any collision on the vehicle's passengers.
- Protection for the vehicle
Bull bars protect the vehicle in the event of animal collisions (for which they were built) and also from the loose rocks and debris off-road driving brings them into contact with.
- They provide an excellent mounting point
They provide a sturdy base to mount accessories such as winches, lights and antennas.
- Many also like their aesthetic appeal
Although functionality is the primary consideration (or it should be!), many also enjoy the sleek-but-rugged look they add to their vehicle.
Five Reasons Why You Should Get a Bull Bar
When you're driving off-road, visibility can be difficult, and you want all the help you can get. A bull bar will not only shield your vehicle from what might happen when driving off-road, but it's also a good idea for pulling stumps and pushing cars out of ditches if that kind of thing happens to come up.
Here are five reasons you need to get a bull bar for your vehicle.
Many people get bull bars for protection. A robust front end will shield your vehicle if it hits pedestrians or other objects while driving off-road. Bull bar design includes safety features like high-strength steel, energy-absorbing bumpers, and near indestructible frame materials, making them tough pieces of equipment.
Many people get bull bars because they look good on their vehicles. A well-designed, high-quality bull bar can supplement the look of your entire car, whether you have an off-road Jeep or an Audi destined for the race track. You don't have to sacrifice looks when protecting what's underneath, either. There are many attractive designs that will fit right into what you already have.
- Fog Lights
A bull bar is an ideal place to mount fog lights because it prevents them from being exposed to damage when driving off-road, which means you'll have a much better chance of being able to use your fog lights if the weather conditions are not optimal for driving.
- Driving Lights
Driving lights are a great way to illuminate what's ahead of you on dark trails and roads, even when the sun goes down. A bull bar is an ideal mounting location for these lights because it keeps them enclosed in protective housing, so they aren't prone to damage if your vehicle happens to go off-road.
Spotlights are ideal for when you need to see what's ahead of your vehicle in low-light conditions. They can be a lifesaver if you have an exceptionally dark trail or road ahead. A bull bar is an excellent place to mount spotlights because it will protect the lamp from damage that could happen while your vehicle is off-road.
The Definitive Guide to Choosing a Perfect Bull Bar for Your Vehicle
Now that you're more familiar with bull bars, how they can be used, and what is their purpose, it's time to choose one for your vehicle.
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a bull bar for your vehicle.
- Your Vehicle
Before you begin shopping, take a careful look at what's underneath your vehicle. If there are pre-existing holes above the bumper to attach a bull bar, this will be an easy decision. If not, you'll have to do some measuring before purchasing one so that it fits perfectly.
Are you looking for a bull bar to give your vehicle more protection, or are you looking for one to make your car stand out? Keep what you want out of your bull bar in mind before shopping so you can find what is suitable for what you need.
Again you need to consider what you need from your bull bar. Different materials offer different qualities. Typically the more robust and durable materials (such as high-strength steel) are also a good deal heavier than, say, aluminium.
You need to consider whether your vehicle needs- and, indeed, can handle- that extra front-end weight.
- Mounting Options
There are three options for what you can do with your bull bar: attach it directly to your vehicle's frame, bolt it on, or weld it in place. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so keep this in mind when choosing what kind of material will work best for what you need.
Lastly, what kind of accessories do you want to include with your bull bar? Many of them are designed to mount fog lights and driving lights in mind, but what else can they be fitted with? Depending on what you need, different features may or may not work for different types of bull bars.
Why Choose Jungle 4 x 4 Bull Bars?
Jungle 4×4 was born out of a passion for the Australian way of life.
All our bull bars have been designed and tested in Australia and are airbag compatible and ADR approved. Jungle 4×4 has made a huge investment in ensuring the bars have an aesthetic appeal while meeting the most stringent safety standards.
If you're looking for deluxe bull bars, sports bull bars, side rails, side steps, and recovery gear, you're in luck; check out our range.