I recently got back from a trip overseas, where I talked to a friend of mine who’s an off-road enthusiast just like myself. After a couple of hours of discussion about everything off-road, the biggest surprise to him was the fact that I “wasted” money on a costly bullbar for my HiLux. I was shocked at his reaction and had to remind him that I live in Australia, where everything is out to get you. Animal collisions are a common occurrence and hitting a roo can easily disable your vehicle and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, or if you’re lucky, it’ll just do some major damage.
A bullbar protects the entire front of your vehicle if you collide with an animal, and it gives you a decent chance of continuing your journey. I’ve hit my fair share of roos at high speeds, and thanks to the bullbar my HiLux only had a broken driving light. Ideally, you don’t want to hit anything, but if you do, a bullbar can be a lifesaver. Of course, if you want to minimise your chances of hitting anything, especially animals, travel at times other than dusk and dawn.
But a bullbar does much more than just protect you from animal collision. It offers general off-road protection, which typically involves protection against hazards like ruts, sticks, rocks. Sticks, contrary to popular belief, are the largest nuisance out of all debris you’ll come across, as they tend to get caught up into the oddest of places. Moreover, a bullbar HiLux made offers a winch mounting point, making winch mounting easy, effortless and safe. Although you can probably install a winch onto your HiLux without a bullbar, doing so is not recommended.
Furthermore, bullbars usually involve recovery points, allowing your HiLux to be easily recovered when stuck. Besides winch and recovery points, a bullbar HiLux allows for more accessories. You can install a sand flag, driving lights and UHF antennas. In other words, the bullbar is a versatile piece of equipment that no off-roader should go without, regardless whether you’re driving around the Australian outback, or elsewhere overseas.
When shopping for bullbars, you’ll come across many different styles – deluxe, simple, alloy, plastic and steel. Although different in design and shape, all of these styles offer the same advantages. However, they all have their own disadvantages, whether it’s cost, weight, durability, etc. Aluminium and stainless steel bullbars are very durable, however, they add weight to your HiLux. In order to handle the extra weight, you might want to consider upgrading the front suspension.