Is fitting an aftermarket bull bar a good idea?

Take the following into consideration when contemplating the fitment of an aftermarket bull bar

Reuben Van Niekerk
bull bar
vehicle accessories

With the popularity of bakkies and SUVs these days, many owners are tempted to modify their vehicles in certain ways in order to stand out from the crowd. A bull bar is one of the most popular vehicle accessories as it completely transforms the look and is often the basis for other accessories such as a winch or spotlights.


However, unless you are using your vehicle exclusively for off-roading or in a farming environment the fitment of an aftermarket bull bar is not generally a good idea, below are 5 reasons why.


1. Risk of serious injury

Rigid bull bars made from steel or aluminium stiffen up the front end of the vehicle and negate the crumple zones that are designed as part of the vehicles structure with safety in mind. Being involved in an accident with a bull bar fitted vehicle will see the occupants subjected to extremely high g-forces as the sudden stop will be more sudden and could result in serious injuries or even death.


2. Risk of injury to road users

Bull bars also severely change the exterior impact characteristics of vehicles that are designed with pedestrians and cyclists in mind and could cause serious injury to these road users in the event of an accident.


3. Risk of structural damage

Bull bars could be the cause of structural damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident due to the method in which they are mounted, such as directly to the chassis, as the impact will be disproportionally distributed.


4. Significant weight added

The addition of a bull bar means added weight and reduced aerodynamic efficiency, which will in turn have a negative effect on your fuel consumption.


5. Risk of failing systems

Vehicles these days rely on a myriad of sensors and cameras that control safety and convenience features such as airbags, radar-based cruise control and park distance control. Fitting equipment like a bulbar could hamper the operation of these delicate systems or even cause them to not work at all, when you need them most.


In certain cases like when off-roading, bull bars or replacement bumpers do offer some great benefits and if you feel that the benefits of fitting such an accessory outweigh the risks, it is recommended that you do fit a product that is at least approved by your vehicle manufacturer.