Depending on your vehicle, and the type of body armor and protection you need, bull bar installation can range from a super-easy Saturday-afternoon love-fest to a driveway-hosted blood-match between you, the bull bar and every tool you have in the garage. A lot depends on the vehicle and your level of fabrication expertise, but it’s mostly dependent on the bull bar itself. So, ask yourself, “What is it made from?” and “Who made it?”
Some of the biggest names in the bull bar business are Westin, Aries, Steelcraft, and Dee Zee. They’re all pretty much similar, and each brand uses top-notch materials like stainless steel. But honestly, whether it’s a Westin bull bar and Aries bull bar, or a Dee Zee bull bar, they are each so similar that their marriage is illegal in 49 states, and maybe even in Florida. As long as you do your homework and purchase from a reputable retailer, you’re sure to get a great bull bar.
The Install Process
Once you get your hands on your bull bar of choice, here are some general installation steps. We'd tell you exactly how to do it, but we don't know what you drive or which bar you're getting.
- Open up the packaging of your bull bar and read the installation instructions.
- Check to make sure you have all the necessary tools and that no parts are missing.
- Crawl under the front of your rig and locate the factory-drilled holes.
- Bolt the bull bar brackets into the holes and torque them down.
- Connect the bull bar to the mounting brackets, ensuring that everything is even and level.
- Double-check that all the bolts are tight.
How Bull Bars Work
So, what do you drive? Like the nascent difference between bull bar brands, there’s also not much difference between vehicles. In fact, in many cases manufacturers use the same bull bar part number for different vehicles that share a similar platform. Even a Silverado bull bar is going to look quite similar to a Toyota Tundra bull bar, though the mounting style will be very different. The point is, a bull bar is a bull bar, and a quality bull bar is always a better bull bar.
The other half of the quality bull bar equation is that aforementioned, “reputable dealer.” You see, most bull bar manufacturers are not marketers. They certainly know their MIG welder from their hydrogen rod, and their Honda CRV bull bar from their Ford Escape skid plate, but they usually have no time to market their stuff. That leaves a middleman, and whether it’s the off-road shop down the street or one of those online super-retailers, if you trust the guy who’s selling you the bull bars, you can trust the bull bars he’s selling you.
A Tip From the Mechanic!
Bottom line: bull bars are large, heavy, unwieldy pieces of steel, and installing one alone can be a real test on your constitution. Instead of going it alone, recruit a friend for help. The secret is not to be bullish about it. If the friend feels bullied, or like you’re feeding him a line of bull crap, she’s likely to cow out. So do the opposite, bowl ‘em over with promises of ice-cold beverages and piping-hot pizza pie, and you’re certain to have a helping hand or two hanging around on bull bar installation day.