Are vehicle bull bars the same as nudge bars?
First off, it is important to differentiate between what a bull bar and a nudge bar are.
So what are bull bars and nudge bars?
A bull bar, sometimes called “kangaroo bars” in some parts of the world is collision damage protection accessories similar to nudge bars but are more heavily built. Bull bars are attached to the front-end portion of a vehicle and are used primarily for the protection of the front end of the vehicle and its occupants in rural environments. As bull bars are heavier and larger than nudge bars they are generally attached to a vehicle using much more robust and heavier brackets or clamps that are often welded during their manufacturing.
Bull bars are generally made of heavy-duty powder-coated steel or stainless steel and can be used in conjunction with or without a nudge bar. Bull bars are expressly designed to withstand impacts from pedestrians, vehicles, and even large animals in the event of collisions.
Bull bars always provide maximum collision protection for drivers, passengers, as well as the front-end and steering components of a vehicle. Bull bars generally are designed to wrap-around all headlamps, the vehicle’s radiator, and its grille, the sheet metal around the driving lights and front end, and even the top of a vehicle’s engine. Bull bars can also be used for mounting different vehicle accessories such as driving lights, fog lamps, and even heavy-duty recovery winches.
On one hand, nudge bars are generally made from lightweight aluminum-alloy or other metals, including thick plastic, and are mounted to the front end of a vehicle to protect pedestrians from being hit in an accident. By being manufactured, generally using only thin and lightweight metals and plastics, a nudge bar’s main purpose is to protect the front end of smaller vehicles from minor and commonly slow-speed collisions and accidents.
Nudge bars are deliberately designed as lightweight collision bars that are, sleek and also aerodynamic so that they will not affect the fuel consumption or drastically alter a vehicle’s appearance.
The differences in benefits between using bull bars and nudge bars.
The benefits of bull bars.
While not inexpensive, being heavily built bull bars are considered one of the best vehicle accessories for protecting the entire front end of a vehicle in the event of collisions, especially in rural areas.
- Bull bars effectively prevent impact damage to a vehicle’s radiator, its grille, and the surrounding areas of a vehicle’s entire front end.
- Bull bars can be used with or without a nudge bar.
- Bull bars are generally tougher looking as well as provide the best level of front-end protection from collisions.
The benefits of nudge bars.
Even though nudge bars are lightly built from less strong materials they still provide minimal protection and are still very useful during low-speed collisions.
- Prevents or reduces injuries in low impact and low-speed collision situations.
- Nudge bars reduces the severity of injuries in pedestrians during high speed and high impact collisions.
- Nudge bars slides off pedestrians away from the front of the vehicle in the event of a collision.
- Nudge bars are very inexpensive and very easy to fit into any vehicle.
If a vehicle is only used predominantly in rural areas bull bars offer the best level of protection from collisions with larger objects, such as rocks and even large wild animals. Bullbars are much better suited for off-road driving even though their extra weight can take a toll on an off-road vehicle’s fuel consumption.
Choosing the right bull bars.
With plenty of bull bars available in the market, it is relatively easy to find the right bull bars that suit a wide range of vehicles. While aesthetics can sometimes take a priority over functionality vehicle owners need to choose the right bull bars appropriate to the intended use of a vehicle. Many important factors will influence which type of bull bars are exactly required for a vehicle’s specific mission. Bull bars must meet the following criteria:
- Bull bars must be thoroughly designed, well-engineered, and manufactured to a very high standard.
- Bull bars must be compatible with a vehicle’s factory-installed safety systems, such as its airbags and parking sensors, lane departure warning systems, and traction-control and active cruise control systems.
- Bull bars must be made with the right material from heavy-duty steel, stainless steel, high-grade aluminum, or even impact-resistant plastic.
As a rule, heavy-duty powder-coated steel or stainless steel offers the greatest strength and is best suited to vehicles that are driven with a high chance of an animal collision, such as in extremely rural areas.
While aluminum alloy bull bars are not as strong as steel or stainless steel bars they have the added advantage of being significantly lighter which has less of an effect on a vehicle’s overall handling as well as greatly reducing the wear and tear on important vehicle components such as its suspension, steering, and tires.
Additionally, aluminum alloy bull bars also offer greater corrosion resistance than steel bull bars and are also readily available in an attractive and very highly polished finish.
Another alternative to steel and aluminum alloy is plastic. Plastic bull bars are made from high-grade polyethylene plastics that are UV-stable and resistant to harsh chemicals.
Plastic bull bars are very light and have only a very negligible effect on a vehicle’s overall handling and in the unfortunate event of minor impacts, plastic bullbars generally will often to their original shape resulting in less vehicle repair costs.
It is also important for vehicles to have bull bars that are purposely designed to be compatible with other off-road vehicle accessories such as auxiliary lights, fog lamps, and recovery winches. In the case of steel bull bars, it must allow a heavy-duty recovery winch to be easily bolted-in.
Additionally, in the case of light-duty oriented aluminum or plastic bull bars, is should have a winch cradle installed, preferably from the bull bar’s manufacturer. Vehicle owners should make sure that their preferred bull bars should have sufficient provision for the installation of their required off-road vehicle accessories.