Are Bullbars Good For Cars?


Are bullbars good for cars? We present our detailed analysis

So your daily commute comprises of tackling traffic infested streets, where tailgating is the norm and having your car bumper indulged in some impromptu kissing is a phenomenon you’ve learnt to live with. No surprise, then, that having your car bumpers in pristine condition is a dream that you’ve always harboured. And to finally live this dream you’ve just resorted to usage of bullbars, probably at both ends of your car. You do end up saving your car bumpers from all sort of damages, but is it really smart to use bullbars? NO . . .not even a bit! Surprised? Allow us to take you through the disadvantages of using a bullbar!

Bullbars on some popular Indian cars

Let me bore you with some info on car technology. Today, most cars have either of the two kinds of chassis – Monocoque or Ladder on frame. The former is found in most road going cars we have today, with the usage of latter restricted mostly to bigger vehicles such as trucks and buses. For a layman, like you or me, a monocoque is a setup where the chassis is a part of the body itself! Basically, this setup compromises of a body shell that has been strengthened at strategic points to eliminate the requirement of an extra chassis!

Coming back to the topic, every car on sale today has been designed to absorb/re-channel forces in an event of a crash. This is done in a way that the passenger cabin is the most protected part of the car. By introducing an extra element, such as a bullbar, the original design is disturbed, as the bullbar is fitted directly to the car’s frame, thereby bypassing the bumper and rendering it functionally useless. In case of an impact, the force is transmitted directly to the car’s frame, which is then passed on to the passenger cabin, completely bypassing the bumper and crumple zone! Ultimately, the passengers are prone to sustaining injuries, while the chassis has high chances of getting misaligned! Oh . . you do end up saving the bumper!

Also, fitting a bullbar might also lead to malfunctioning of airbag sensors! It maybe noted that airbags are triggered by strategically positioned sensors, which read the severity of an impact and choose to (or not to) launch the airbags. Fitting a bullbar however, poses a potential threat to the effectiveness of these sensors. The result? Higher risk of injury or death of the passengers, all due to the malfunctioning of the airbags.

It is hence clear that usage of bullbars in most cars should be simply avoided. Fitting these things on a car with a ladder chassis is still understandable, but on most road going cars, such as a hatchback, a sedan or a MPV, bullbars should be a complete no no!