A GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT 4X4 BULL BAR

June 21, 2021 4 min read

A GUIDE TO THE TOP 4x4 ACCESSORIES & UPGRADES 2021/2022

Wanting to customise and upgrade your 4x4 with off-road accessories can be a deeply personal thing. It's often based on the opinion of experts, friends or possibly even your wife or mum(!), but in any case, it can also be highly subjective… and not to mention expensive!

To try and ease your burden, we've put together a list of the top 4x4 accessories and upgrades in 2021/2022.

In our humble opinion, there are four accessory upgrades that every 4x4 owner should be investing in to make both the on and off-road driving experience as good as possible:

  1. CHOOSING 4X4 PANEL & PAINT PROTECTION
  2. CHOOSING THE RIGHT 4X4 TYRE
  3. CHOOSING A 4X4 LIFT KIT
  4. CHOOSING A 4X4 BULL BAR

4. CHOOSING A 4X4 BULL BAR

With so many bull bar choices on the market to suit a wide range of vehicles, how do you know what's right for yours?

As with all 4x4 Accessories, a lot of the choices are based on pure subjectivity. One man's dream is another man's nightmare! 

When it comes to choosing a bull bar for your 4x4, it's often tempting to simply go with the best-looking bar from a reputable brand… skimping on this piece of essential equipment is never a good idea! There is far more to consider than aesthetics when choosing a bull bar, one of them being functionality and, importantly, safety!

What's the reason for a bull bar?

The primary function of a bull bar is protection. It's the first line of defence, protecting vital engine components in the event of a collision with some of Australia's native and not so native wildlife! You're more likely to hit a Kangaroo than any other native animals in Australia than a bull or deer, but either way, choosing the right equipment is essential.

Secondly, bull bars are used as a mounting platform for all your essential 4×4 accessories, including driving lights, winches, UHF antennas, and recovery points. You need to ask yourself, where do you intend to drive your 4x4, the terrain you'll be driving on, how much gear you are lugging around, and what accessories you want to install.

Of course, you'll also need to make sure the bull bar you choose is appropriately designed, engineered and manufactured to the highest Australian standards and able to withstand our testing landscapes.

Finally, it needs to be compatible with your vehicle make and model and all of your vehicle's safety systems, including airbags, parking sensors, lane-departure warnings, etc.

So, here's a quick guide on how to pick the right bull bar. It all starts with 'what do you need it to do?'

Do you need a bull bar mainly for mounting accessories?

Most bull bars have been designed to provide plenty of mounting options. However, you'll need to make sure they are Australian Design Rules (ADR) compliant and compatible with your vehicle's airbag system. Most modern 4x4's have additional safety features, including parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking systems which all rely on sensors and cameras to function. Manufacturers will generally state which model bull bar is compatible with these systems, so check your options. 

Do you go serious off-roading?

If you plan on tackling some of Australia's most hectic off-road tracks, such as the Powerlines at Mundaring or the Gun Barrel Highway, you'll want to opt for a bull bar that is both functional and protective. But be careful. A heavy-duty triple-hooped bar has greater approach and departure angles which will take precedence in tough spots.

A lightweight and simple single-tube bar may be the answer, as they can combine good looks and extreme off-road capabilities, as well as being airbag and ADR compliant. They are lighter than traditional bars, and smart wing designs allow for fast, easy replacement while maintaining strength. Features can include:

  • ADR and airbag compliant
  • Modern lightweight design
  • Built-in hi-lift jack points
  • Mounting positions for winches, tow hooks, recovery points, aerials, driving lights and sand flags, etc

Do you often drive on dark remote roads?

For those who spend most of their time travelling to remote locations day and night, you'll need maximum protection and functionality of a triple-hoop style bar. There are incredible options available here, but the most will feature:

  • Wing design for greater strength and maintains optimum offset approach angle
  • Aerial brackets
  • Driving lights provision
  • Winch compatibility
  • Off-road jacking points
  • Large tubing and steel uprights

Do you just want it for the street cred?

If you're just after aesthetics and simply want the best looking 4x4 on the street - providing the bull bar you choose is ADR compliant, legal, and compatible with your vehicle's airbag system - then you're spoilt for choice!

The Final Word

The best advice we can give you, always consider ADR and airbag compatibility, can it house the accessories you want and is it road legal. It just makes more sense to get a top-quality bull bar from a reputable manufacturer that's suited to your lifestyle AND fulfils your 4WD requirements!