Guide to All Things Bull Bar
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Guide to All Things Bull Bar

Bull Bars

When customers first come looking for or asking about Bull Bars, most of the time the thing that pulled them in is just that sick look of a Bull Bar in general. I mean, come on. Just look at it. That’s pretty sick.

Bull Bars tend to make your truck look more aggressive and badass. Plain and simple. But why might you need a Bull Bar on your vehicle other than looks? What’s the purpose of a bull bar anyway? We’ll lay it all down in this

Guide to All Things Bull Bar

Starting at the top: the most obvious reasons one might purchase and install a Bull Bar:

What are the reasons I should install a Bull Bar on my Truck?

What purpose does a Bull Bar serve?

Bull Bars are useful in several ways:

  • Bull Bars give an aggressive or intimidating look to the front of your truck.
  • Bull Bars protect your vehicle by pushing debris and any object you might hit while driving away from the radiator, engine, and windshield.
  • Bull Bars prevent your front bumper from taking heavy damage during a head on collision.
  • Bulls Bars also may help prevent frame warpage during an accident.

Now with all that being said, we venture to guess that the majority of customers buy Bull Bars simply for the look of them. And they do really transform the front end of your pickup truck. But the added protection against bodily harm and serious vehicle damage is well worth noting.

Deer Season

The story is as old as time, I suppose. Or at least as old as cars and deer. If you live in a part of the country that is frequented by deer, then you already know where this is going. But let me start with the importance of bull bars.

See the thing about protecting yourself and your vehicle is, you never seem to realize how much you need that protection until it's too late. All the fathers reading this already got the double entendre, but you youngins will have to just keep reading and trust me.

When it comes to deer and country cruising, well, it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to put it all together. But this one happened to a buddy of mine, so why not share the lesson learned.

As the story goes, my buddy--let’s call him Steve, so he can at least save some face--had been out hunting deer all day. He had a stand in a tree and everything. Sporting camo and a hunting rifle, he’d gotten up in the wee hours and stayed vigilant through the early afternoon. We’ve all been there. Out hunting all day, with nothing to show for it.

Now this particular Steve always had a story to tell about a “big one” that got away. We’ve all heard it before and likely you have a friend just like him. Now occasionally, he’d bring home a buck during deer season. It’s not like he didn’t know how to shoot or nothing. But still there would always be a story about some 13 pointer or something that he shot at and hit but somehow it managed to get away. We just always figured he was either making these up or exaggerated. He shot, but missed wide. Nothing more.

But on this particular morning, he’d seen a massive buck come stalking into the edge of a barren corn field. Now according to Steve, this buck was at least 500 yards away from his perch, but he was nervous that he might not get another chance. So he sighted up and waited.

He’s watching this fine animal for the better part of a minute, when the buck makes a move back towards the trees at the edge of the field. And Steve just can’t help himself. He takes the shot.

They say a shot feels different when it finds home. Some claim it's all in the sound. Others say the recoil just feels right. Or maybe it’s just something you know. Steve watched that buck leap off into the woods that day. But he swore up and down all night down at the bar and to me personally that he hit that buck. For certain he did. And it must have been at least a 20 pointer.

Sure, Steve. I thought. Sure.

A couple days go bye and I find out ol’ Steve is in the hospital laid up pretty good. So I go off to visit him and see what the story is. Poor guy’s in traction. Broke an arm and a leg and messed up his back something fierce.

So you know me. I’m a sucker for a story. So I ask him what happened. And he gets this twinkle and his eyes. He points over to his phone, charging on the nightstand there. And as I go to unlock the screen, I see this massive gotta be at least 20 point buck there. He’s got it as his background and lock screen too.

And guess what? The damn buck is all smashed up into what appears to be the hood and grille of Steve’s Dodge Ram. I can just make out the Ram emblem, covered in blood and gore, bent up into what’s left of the hood.

“What happened, Steve?” I stammered.

He smiled a big toothy grin. “I got me that buck, man. I a got him.”

Now I tell you that story so I can tell you this. First, Steve didn’t have a bull bar. Furthermore, he didn’t even have an aftermarket front bumper, which I’d highly recommend. And his Dodge Ram was totalled. So he’ll make an insurance claim, right? Yeah, I’m sure he did.

But he also was laid up in the hospital for weeks, and honestly even now his back and his right leg aren’t what they used to be. But he got that big buck, alright.

On average, in any given year here in the states, around 1 million deer related accidents happen, each causing roughly $3,000 worth of property damage. And that’s not to mention anything like hospital bills.

But Steve must have come out on the high end. Cause he lost his vehicle and was out of work and in the hospital for around a month. Probably should have had Aflac, right?

The point is, if he’d had more protective equipment, like a strong steel bull bar, it is quite possible that he could have got that buck and not wrecked his truck so badly nor ended up in the hospital at all. A strong all steel bull bar can deflect the force of such a collision and at the least decrease the amount of damage and at the best prevent you and anyone else riding in your vehicle from getting injured.

I know this isn’t what most people think of when they consider installing a bull bar. But for me, I almost always think of ol’ Steve when I think of bull bars. They look great too. Don’t get me wrong. But the added protection to vehicle and human life is nothing to sneer at either.

Bull Bar Construction

Now if you’re considering getting a Bull Bar for the added protection they can offer, you’ll want to check out the individual construction of each. Most of the Bull Bars we sell are constructed of steel and manufactured using a process known as the Mandrel Bending. 

Now when I say “steel” I think pretty much everyone gets what I mean. Steel is very durable. While heavier weight than say aluminum, many customers prefer the idea of steel. Aluminum construction is still great especially if you’re looking to save weight and on fuel economy. And aluminum will take care of most dents and dings as well as fender benders. But when push comes to shove, with a serious accident, honestly, I’d much rather have the steel myself. But what do I know.

But when I say “Mandrel Bending” most people just stare at me blankly, like I’ve started lecturing them about the finer aspects of electron symmetry. So this probably warrants a bit more of an explanation. Here’s the quick version: you want Mandrel Bending over any alternative, like say the really cheap and crappy old school crush bending.

Mandrel Bending: An Explanation

So anytime you’re dealing with pipes or any hollow metal structure, like say a bull bar, these pipes / hollow pieces will have to be bent or pressed into shape. There are two really common ways to do so:

  • Crush Bending
  • Mandrel Bending

And Mandrel Bending is much preferred. But first, let’s explain the crush.

You’re familiar with crush bending even if you have never heard of it. Do you have a dryer in your home or apartment? Have you ever taken a look at the vent pipe? That’s crush bending. You’ll note that at any bend or corner there will be some minor distress, like crinkles or cracks. And crinkles are bad for a number of reasons.

Now before you go screaming at your HVAC guy or replace your dryer vent, this really isn’t that big of a deal when it comes to your dryer. That was just the most common example I could think of. But to continue the example, if you were to send a camera into that dryer vent pipe or cut it open, you’ll see that there will be more dryer lint stuck around those bending corners and crinkles than likely anywhere else in the vent pipe. And why?

Well, it’s probably obvious, I guess. The lint just gets stuck there cause there are cracks and openings. Or to put it more scientifically, there’s more friction or resistance there. The goal of a pipe or vent should be to allow the smooth, unrestricted flow of whatever--in this case, hot air and dryer lint. And crush bending creates more restriction.

Again, don’t panic. The dryer thing is just an example. And as long as the lint stuck in it isn’t restricting any air flow, you’re in the green. But this issue comes up especially with exhaust systems on automobiles, and it can get really nasty and even damage or restrict your engine's output. So why bring it up with Bull bars?

The second big issue with crush bending is that those crinkles and cracks are weakening the structure of the pipe or hollow metal tube. With exhaust systems and dryer vents, this isn’t as big of a deal. Hopefully you are using an exhaust pipe to try to absorb impact damage or sword fighting with dryer vent tubes. No judgment here if you’re doing the latter. What you do in the comfort of your backyard or in the town park when LARPING wearing Harry Potter garb is your own business.

The point is, Crush Bending weakens the structural integrity of the pipe or tube. And when you’re talking about Bull Bars, that’s a real problem. You want your Bull Bar to absorb as much impact force as possible. And crush bending limits that absorption. In fact, Crush Bent pipes are much more likely to snap or break at the bend than ones which are created using a Mandrel Bend.

What’s a Mandrel Bend?

How is a Mandrel Bend created?

Mandrel Bending is a process of bending tubing using a metal rod, which is inserted into one end of the tube, while a clamp holds the other end in place. Rotating the rod forces the tube to bend, creating a perfect curve that is both smooth and super strong, maintaining good molecular structure.

While Mandrel bending is great for reducing resistance in vent pipes, like an exhaust, it also keeps the metal as strong or as close as possible to what it was before the bend. This is especially important when it comes to Bull Bars.

If you are looking to a Bull Bar in order to protect your vehicle from damage during a collision, we highly recommend you go with a bar that was created using Mandrel Bends. Most of the bull bars we carry are manufactured using this technique. Nevertheless, we want you to be as informed as possible.

Some Final Words on Bull Bars

So now that you know at least more than you probably did before about Bull Bars, it's time to get shopping. We hope this guide to all things Bull Bars was useful to you, and that you will pick up your next Bull Bar here at Midwest Aftermarket.

Midwest Aftermarket's collection of bull bars, front bumpers, truck rear bumpers, and much more includes all the leading styles and brands. Midwest Aftermarket is the #1 online retailer for aftermarket truck and Jeep accessories, selling products at the lowest prices and providing the best customer service in the industry. With the goal to provide the highest quality product with the fastest shipping at affordable prices, look no further for your vehicle’s aftermarket accessories. From UTV’s to Jeep-fanatics to F150’s or Chevy Silverado’s, Midwest Aftermarket will give you the customer support you deserve.