4WD with bullbar

QUICK GUIDE TO 4WD BULLBARS

Bullbars for 4WD vehicles have come a long way. There are those that offer superficial protection and those that will literally throw up anything that gets in your way. Here is a look at the most common bullbars for your 4WD to help you make the right decision for your needs.

Something else to think about before you make any additions to your vehicle is the need to keep your airbags operating properly. If your vehicle has airbags, you will need to make sure the bullbar you choose is airbag compliant.

WINCH AND STEEL BULLBARS

The steel bullbar is my favourite because there are a lot of accessories that can be used with them. Once you have a winch on your 4WD, you won’t want to go outdoors without one. A winch bar is a bar that has the strength to mount a winch. It will not rip off when you use your winch to pull yourself out of the mud. These are the strongest of all bullbars. I still prefer steel over alloy or aluminium because I know I have all the strength I need.

When adding a steel bullbar to your 4WD, you must understand that you are adding a considerable amount of weight to your vehicle. You may need to upgrade your suspension to cope.

Not all steel bullbars are winch bars. If you want to put a winch on your vehicle, make sure you are getting a steel bullbar that is designed for a winch.

ALLOY BULLBARS

Alloy bullbars often look better than steel bullbars. Aluminium bullbars are very lightweight compared to steel bullbars. That means you don’t have to be concerned with suspension upgrades. A downside with alloy and aluminium bullbars is the fact that they require specialist welding when being repaired. This can be an issue when you are far in the outback.

PLASTIC BULLBARS

As far as I am concerned, these bullbars are really for use driving around town than they are for serious 4WDing. It depends on what you need. If you are just using your 4WD for camping, a plastic bullbar will be of some use when in camping grounds to protect your vehicle.

NUDGE BARS

Nudge bars are designed to cover your existing bumper and radiator. They are best used strictly for normal driving to protect your vehicle from dings and damage in the carpark. They have some use in caravan and camping grounds too. They are definitely not going to offer much protection for any serious 4WDing.

IN SUMMARY

If you are looking for some serious protection, you will need an alloy or a steel bullbar. If anyone is going to invest in a new bullbar, I think it only makes sense to get a bullbar that is capable of handling a winch. Above that, there are a few points worth considering, including:

• Does the bullbar have a design with recovery points to fix straps and the like?
• Does the bullbar have good mounting points for accessories as you want to add them?
• Does the bullbar allow for good airflow to your radiator as well as protecting it?
• Does the bullbar allow for good ground clearance on your approach angle?

 


Do you have any bullbar recommendations you can share with everyone? Let us know through the comments section below.

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Martin White
martinw@dinga.com.au

Martin is huge on everything outdoors and is even bigger on driving and technology. He loves boats, new stuff and writing about it.