Most 4WD owners who are looking to buy 4×4 bull bars essentially want the same thing — an added layer of protection for their vehicle, especially when driving in rural areas, off-road, or anywhere potentially dangerous collisions with animals are a possibility.
However, although there might be a common aim, when it comes to buying 4×4 bull bars the 4WD driver has a range of choices that means there is a little to more to selecting the right bullbar than may at first appear.
The type of 4×4 bull bar you opt for will to some extent be determined by your vehicle make and model, as well as how and where you drive. However, beyond simply finding a bull bar that fits your 4WD, there are a range of other design features that you should consider.
Accessorising your bullbar
As well as offering your 4WD additional protection in the event of a collision, it can also be an extremely useful tool for adding accessories to your vehicle.
For instance, a winch can be an extremely useful addition to your 4WD (in some driving environments, it’s a necessity), so when you’re looking at bullbars, check whether it has an integrated winch mount that enables you to add this feature.
You should also check out whether driving lights can be easily fitted (especially important when driving in poor conditions, or when the risk of hitting animals on the road is high). You might also want to consider whether integrated fog lights and combination indicator/parking lights are a feature of any bullbar you’re looking at.
When you’re on the road away from urban centres, communication can be important, so it also pays to look at whether dual aerials can be attached and how easy they are to fit.
What sort of protection does your bullbar need to provide?
The degree of protection you need from your bullbar is another important consideration. For instance, if you’re driving in rural or isolated environments, or on country roads at night, you’re going to want a bullbar that offers more protection than the occasional off-road driver.
This means that if you drive regularly in the outback, you may need a bullbar with 4 or 5 folds, and a wing design that offers protection to the side of the vehicle as well as the front in the event of colliding with an animal.
Crucially, you should also ensure that any bullbar you are considering conforms to Australian Design Rules (ADR) with regard to airbag compatibility, so you can be sure that your vehicle’s airbags will deploy correctly whenever they are needed.
Choose a bullbar that won’t affect your 4WD performance
Most 4WD drivers are looking for a strong bullbar that at the same time won’t impact too significantly on vehicle performance. Therefore, the material from which it’s made — alloy or steel — is another important consideration, as their relative weights can, depending on the vehicle and driving conditions, affect things like fuel consumption and tyre wear.
Alloy bullbars are significantly lighter than those made of steel (up to 30% lighter in some models), but this does not automatically mean that they offer less protection. They also have the added advantage of not rusting, perfect if you drive or live in a coastal environment. Alloy bullbars do, however, require a degree of maintenance if they are to maintain their appearance.
Steel bullbars are heavier than alloy models, so the suspension on your 4WD may need to be upgraded. They do have the advantage, however, of greater strength, and are also generally easier to accessorise. Steel bullbars are also simpler to manufacture, and as a result tend to be less expensive than alloy ones.
TJM Perth for Australian 4×4 bullbars
TJM Perth manufactures a range of steel and alloy 4×4 bullbars for the most popular makes and models of 4WDs currently on the road in Australia. Call us on (08) 6444 6632 or get in touch via email to find out more.