Front-end vehicle protection is what keeps your car unscathed if worst comes to worst. Collisions and accidents are an inevitable part of everyday driving, especially with more cars on the roads. To keep yourself, your loved ones and your vehicle protected in such scenarios, you’ll need to equip your car with the best protective gear. Different options are available and what you ultimately choose will depend on the vehicle you drive, where you drive, and how often. Drivers can choose to have their stock bumpers, the ones the car came with or go for something more robust. You can find quality, locally-designed nudge bars Australia wide that are great as an all-around solution, or get something bigger, like a full-blown bull bar.
What are Nudge Bars?
Nudge bars are the metal bars that fit the front of the car’s chassis with bolts and brackets. They extend just over the bumper bar, to a height that serves to protect the radiator and the engine. Any items, objects or animals that cross your path are nudged or pushed away. Protecting the bumper, front body panels, and engine components is the main purpose of nudge bars. They do this adequately in collisions with other vehicles at slower speeds, say in rush hour traffic, in minor scuffs or mishaps while parking, and in dirt trials during unexpected meetings with Australian wildlife. In addition, nudge bars are designed to be pedestrian-safe, meaning the risk of injury is minimised. Their smaller size and weight as compared to say vehicles with decked-out bull bars helps in this respect. This also means that they can be fitted to a large variety of vehicles, from smaller hatchbacks and SUVs, to full-sized 4WD station wagons, and won’t look out of place on any vehicle.
Benefits of Nudge Bars
Nudge bars dominate the middle ground in terms of protection. They provide so much more than a stock bumper in any sort of collision, while having less weight than a full-sized triple hoop. Driving dynamics aren’t affected, so you don’t get eerie changes to steering feel, and there is less tire wear or the need for upgrading suspension and brakes as with bull bars. This makes nudge bars a reasonable solution for everyday driving. Urban settings are where they excel.
Installation times and costs are other factors to consider. They are considerably cheaper than bull bars, and installation times are way shorter. If you decide to remove the nudge bar, an added benefit is that the bumper stays on all the time. There are no modifications done in fitting, like the drilling often required to fit top-heavy bull bars. Good during resale, when potential customers can be put off by unwieldy modifications.
What to Look for in Nudge Bars
Australian Designed Nudge Bars
Not all nudge bars sold in Australia are created equal. Though there are stringent controls as to what makes it on the Aussie market, there are dodgy imports that you should avoid at all costs. Better buy locally designed and produced nudge bars Australia that meet strict design and materials regulations. All true-blue nudge bars meet the specified ADR requirements, so no headaches here. Passive safety systems like airbags, parking sensors and cameras are compliant with most models with little or no modifications. More restrictions exist for bull bars, simply because of the size and weight affecting things like visibility and ground clearance.
In terms of materials, you can choose between steel and aluminium. Steel bars are a little heavier, though endure less damage in collisions. They are also the choice for most tradies, as they easily handle the weight of an attached H-rack when carrying longer items. Coated steel bars in black look good both on utes and cars. Alternately, get a flashier finish with a chrome coating. Both types offer good protection against rust and wear, extending longevity. There are also nudge bars in aluminium, with good overall strength, and a slightly lower price tag.
Long Accessory List
As for accessories, there are many options depending on what you need. If you hit the dirt trails often, look for bars with fitted bash plates. These keep rocks and debris from damaging the underbody. Some nudge bars are sold with integrated H-racks and you can save some cash buying these as a package. Also, LED light bars are a good addition if you frequently drive at night, or in areas with low visibility. Mounting points along the tubing allow you to attach various items, like CB antennas, and extra fog lights.
Vehicle Compatibility and Installation
When buying, look for nudge bars that suit your car. Universal bars can fit more than a few vehicles, but may not necessarily fit yours. Check for compatibility, especially if you intend to fit the bar yourself. To be on the safe side, there are nudge bars for different makes and models, as well as the production year. Retailers also offer installation, which is much cheaper compared to getting it done at your local shop. If you want brand names, then visit your local car dealership, but be prepared to spend more.
When considering front-end vehicle protection, decide on the level of protection you need. Nudge bars are more than enough for daily commuting to and from work in urban environments with high traffic frequency. They’ll save you from minor collisions on the road or the car park, and can also be used for work or recreation with a rich accessory list. Sturdy materials are light enough for easy driving. Compared to stock bumpers, they won’t shatter on contact. The only reason to go for a full bull bar is if you’re regularly hitting the bush, need a winch, and traversing really rough terrain.