If you own a 4×4 wheel drive, you probably know that the cornerstone of your vehicle is the bull bar. The bull bar is essentially a shield that strengthens and protects the vehicle’s front end in the event of a road accident or any kind of impact. However, this piece of 4×4 equipment can also give you a commanding presence by toughening up your drive’s looks. Therefore, when considering to by a bull bar, it’s understandable that you would want something with an intimidating design but with great focus on protection.
I remember the days when all you had to do was pick one out of the three or four seemingly identical bull bars that managed to fit your vehicle. Luckily, today we are spoilt for choice. On the market for 4×4 bull bars you can find options that range from winch mounts hidden inside the factory bumper to steel models that would easily eject a full-grown cow in your way. So, I’ve decided to assemble a quick guide to help you find the best 4×4 bull bars for your pride and joy.
Before you worry about finding the best polish for your 4×4, the first major step you need to take is decide on the actual material the bull bar will be made of. The old tradition of buying bull bars went like this: Choose steel for areas with cattle or if you want something heavy-duty, or alloy for adding a fancy touch to your adventures. But today, there’s also plastic which tends to complicate the choice.
Nevertheless, all of these materials have their good sides and bad sides. For instance, steel models are considered the best protective bull bars due to their high density and incredible tensile strength which can handle extreme impacts. However, higher density also means more weight that can slow down the vehicle. On the other hand, there are some better grades of aluminium bull bars with strength properties close to steel but which are 30 percent lighter. And then there are the plastic models which can be UV-stabilised for longevity and tend to be safer for pedestrians.
While your grizzled grandpa behind a half-rusted FJ45 will have you believe otherwise, looks are placed pretty high on the want list for 4×4 bull bars. The most popular styles of bull bars are the ones that provide extra space to mount some accessories such as winches, aerials, bash plates and driving lights. These bull bars are usually plate-steel, plate-aluminium or roto-moulded plastic and based of a lower bumper replacement. This sleek look does not interfere with the rest of the vehicle’s body, and still offers considerable protection.
However, the ultimate decision should depend on the way the bull bar complements the unique contours of your vehicle model. This means that you should always aim to pick a good fit, not something that will be too short or extend too much on the side. Aesthetically, you can later transform the bull bar you picked into something more outstanding by colour coding it to your vehicle for a more integrated look.