The new Ford Ranger might already be in showrooms, but it’s the older T6 Australian-designed and developed PX Ranger that’s gained the love of Aussie motorists. This is the Blue Oval’s best seller and one of the most sought-after cars. The car has been around for over a decade and benefits from the wide range of OEM and aftermarket accessories currently on offer. Most buyers look for protection, convenience, and usability and this is where a dedicated bull bar for your Ranger comes in.
Why Have a Bull Bar?
Obviously, the main reason to get a bull bar is for increased front-end protection. When installed, you’ll be shielding vital engine parts like radiators, as well as headlights, bonnets, steering and suspension components, and other vehicle parts. For the typical settings where utes are used, the worksite and off-road, bespoke bull bars for Ranger will keep the car intact from any unexpected encounters with curious wildlife, and scrubs and brushes against boulders, stumps, building materials and anything that comes in the way. The best way to ensure the looks of your Ranger doesn’t collect unwanted scratches, dents, or anything major, is to go for a metal bull bar, either in aluminium or steel. These will also last in inclement weather and keep their rugged appearance longer.
What most ute drivers overlook is that bull bars also serve as the foundation for dozens of aftermarket additions that extend your ute’s versatility. With specially designed recesses to fit things like winches and attach CB antennas or additional driving lights, you’re better off when off-road with higher visibility, and where mobile reception doesn’t work. The use of a dedicated winch helps when you get bogged down, or recovering a mate in the same position. Moreover, bars that have allocated recovery tow points, and provisions for hi-lift jacks mean peace of mind in technical terrain, Other less obvious extras are side brush bars with a decent pair of side steps to keep the side of the Ranger unscathed and make exit and entry easier. Lastly, with the addition of H-bars, Ford Ranger bull bars let you carry especially long and bulky building materials or sporting goods.
Choosing the Right Bull Bar for Your Ranger
There are quite a few different bull bars that fit the Ranger. They differ in the use of materials, how they’re designed, and whether installation is quick and simple. Cheaper variants forego the winch cradle and may be missing some of the off-roading and work goodies mentioned above.
Aluminium or Steel?
Most buyers will be looking for a metal bull bar, though plastic mesh variants work well in urban environments to keep the ute clear of dust and debris and in areas with high pedestrian traffic. However, where protection is the main purpose, nothing beats metal. Aluminium bars have the advantage in that they’re lightweight but still tough, and won’t succumb to denting or scratches in high-speed collisions. Plus, they hold up better against rain and mud in that the material is anti-corrosive, so also easy to clean and maintain.
When going for steel, consider that you’ll be adding a lot more weight up front, and there might be the need for steering and suspension adjustments so the ute isn’t top-heavy and you have difficulty steering. Another consideration is rust coatings can wear off in time, and the steel can stain, leaving a messy look. Where steel bars excel tough is their unparalleled strength and longevity in heavy-duty use. The prices for both bull bar types aren’t much of a difference, so choosing between the two will be down to personal preference.
Traditional designs that look better on older Ranger utes are triple-hooped, with the large main bar sitting higher up, and in line with the radiator, in addition to two smaller left and right bars taking care of the lights. Cheaper are single-hoops but these miss out on headlight protection and you’ll have a hard time fitting side brush bars. More modern looks are undeniable with hoop-less bull bars. These assume a neater and lower profile, but with enough solid metal to protect all the vitals. Most come as winch-ready and some even have included bash plates to protect your ute’s underbody.
Bull bars are real-world tested and need to be compliant with ADR regulations. This is in terms of air-bag activation in the case of accidents, and unobstructed operation of secondary safety equipment such as parking sensors. The bars must also be pedestrian-friendly. Any bars that don’t meet strict ADR requirements should be disregarded since you can get a fine when pulled over by the authorities.
Room for Extras
Look for bull bars for Ranger that have the appropriate mounting holes if you need to install a pair of driving lights or an LED bar, match tabs for antennas, and side tubes to add side brush bars. Other goodies that are nice to have are number-plate swivel brackets. Some bars also come ready with high-spec LED and fog lights.
While most bull bars bolt onto the chassis rails and are supplied with all the right mounting kit and hardware, sometimes a pro fit will be better. This is a heavy piece of gear that takes a bit of time to install, considering things like wiring for cameras and lights, or any required changes if you opt for heavier steel versions. Usually, the shops that sell bar bars and other ute-specific gear will have their own fitting service.