A Hilux Bull Bar: What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages?

What Is the Purpose of Having a Bull Bar?

Cannot wait to test drive your Nissan Hilux into the outback? Off-road trips sure are exciting. But going into challenging terrains without any protection or equipment can leave you vulnerable. All it takes is a bewildered animal, a large rock, or an over-extended tree branch to crash into, and your new wheels will be taking in some pretty severe damage. If not, you can get your 4WD stuck in a ditch or stranded somewhere ill-prepared. A bull bar’s primary purpose is to provide superior protection against vehicle collisions like these. They function as your vehicle’s armour, shielding the vital points in the front security, so you can drive wherever you want with confidence and security! Let’s explore more of this key piece of equipment’s advantages below.

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What Are Benefits of Owning a Bull Bar?

Ask any off-roader which accessory to deck your 4WD with first, and many of them will swear by bull bars. And there’s no wonder why. A bull bar is your first line of defense against the perils of the wilderness. But there’s more to bull bars than being an armor to your Hilux or other 4×4. 

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Shield Against Animal Collisions

Going off-road means encountering various animals one way or another. That’s exciting, except when they suddenly block your road or hit you. Colliding with a strong animal, like a kangaroo, can easily damage and disable your car, leaving you stranded. Luckily, a high-quality bull bar can provide enough protection to keep your vehicle’s vital parts intact. So, when you do collide with an animal, you’ll still have a working vehicle to drive away safely. 

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General Protection

You’ll never know what you’ll encounter in the outback. That’s why it’s essential to keep your Hilux well-protected from all sorts of hazards you could run into. For example, rocks, ruts, and sticks may seem harmless to your 4WD. But they can be a real problem when they get caught up and jammed into odd places, like the front of your under body. So, while you may never know when you’ll need a bull bar or how it would save you, significantly increasing your chance of survival should be enough to have a bull bar installed.

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Strong Accessory Mount Point

Going off-road ill-equipped is like going to war without any weapon or protection. You must keep your vehicle armed and ready for any situation. Bull bars offer solid mounting points for accessories that will prove handy during your outback excursions. Unlike nudge bars, it can provide a steady and robust base for driving lights and LEDs to provide visibility at night. You can also mount your UHF antennas to help you communicate and navigate the terrain. They also offer the steadiest mount for winches to help you recover your vehicle.

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Various Vehicle Recovery Points

Bull bars offer a great way out of some sticky situations. Like when your vehicle gets stuck in the mud while driving off-road; bull bars can help you escape with recovery points that are easier to access. Plus, they provide a better mount for winches than any other accessory.

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Disadvantages of Owning a Bull Bar

While bull bars offer many benefits and safety features, there are things that you must consider. For example, a lot of safety issues surround subpar bull bars. High-quality bull bars follow the Australian standards to minimise these hazards though. That is why you must carefully consider these factors before shopping for your bull bar and look closely to determine the quality. 

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Too Heavy

Hilux Bull bar, particularly those made of full steel, add significant weight to your vehicle (up to 40 kg and 65 kg with a winch added). This extra bulk can affect your vehicle’s handling, as well as pump up its fuel use. 

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Affects Your Vehicle’s Crumple Zone 

The latest vehicles with the monocoque chassis design provide structural safety features called crumple or crush zones. These features help absorb energy from the collision and redistribute the impact to lessen the damage. It protects the cabin space in front of the vehicle, so it won’t get easily damaged in a collision. In other words, the crumple zone distributes and reduces the energy during an impact before it reaches the cabin space. So, if a bull bar is installed, it will prevent the crumple zone from performing as designed, transferring the impact directly to the chassis where it is mounted. 

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Unsafe for Pedestrians & Two-Wheeler Riders

Because bull bars offer superior protection to your vehicle, they pose a threat to anything that comes crashing into it. They can cause severe injuries and death to other road users, especially pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler riders who have no shield against an impact.

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Obstruction Against Airbags

Installing a bull bar in front of your airbag sensor may affect its efficiency and effectiveness. Since a long piece of metal blocks the sensors, it may take longer to detect the collision impact. Thus, it can slow down the airbag deployment or, worse, not work at all. Airbags are supposed to go off at the right time. They won’t be able to correctly do their job, protecting the driver from a head injury, if they deploy late. Your head may strike the steering wheel before the airbags deploy. 

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How to Ensure Your Bull Bar Is Safe

Ensure that your bull bars are perfectly fitted to your vehicle to avoid the issue described above. More importantly, your bull bar should meet the requirements of the Australian Standard (Sections 1.2 and 3.1 of the Australian Standard AS 4876.1 2002) and comply with VicRoads regulations found in Vehicle Standards Information VSI1 – Bull Bars. 

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Is It Worth Getting a Bull bar?

A bull bar gives your Hilux the best front-end protection, especially when you go off-road where there’s a high chance of animal collisions. Plus, it’s incredibly convenient for carrying your 4×4’s the most essential accessories. A bull bar provides convenient mounting points for accessories, such as winches, lights, and antennas. Not only that, but it also offers the most convenient recovery points in case your vehicle gets bogged. With all these factors considered, bull bars are not just beneficial — they are necessary! Just make sure you’re getting high-quality bull bars that comply with the Australian Standards and VicRoads regulations. Subpar bull bars will put you in danger instead of protecting you. 

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Ensure Safe Off-Road Travels

Get bull bars that are designed for your vehicle. Make sure that you only buy it from companies that follow strict quality control to ensure all Australian Standards and Vic Roads Regulations are met. Having a perfect fit and a standardised bull bar ensures these accessories are designed to be compatible with the airbag triggering system and other safety features. 

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