There is not much the Australians have not perfected in the off-road world, and that’s especially true when it comes to strike protection. While here in the States, we may have the occasional 100lb deer scurrying across the road, Australians are overwhelmed with 200lb kangaroos that are vertical instead of horizontal. The taller, heavier bounding animal is lethal when it comes to the front of Australian vehicles, and have left many stranded in the wilderness with a disabled vehicle.Most of the bull bar/brush guards that are sold in the U.S. are for decorative purposes, and in many cases are more efficient at multiplying the damage to the vehicle during a frontal strike than preventing it. The thin tubing, and long, unsupported reaches by these lesser models easily bend back with minimal effort and aid that pesky deer in its attempt to total your vehicle. They are also normally only attached on by two points, where your tow hooks previously resided, compromising your front end recovery options because of the poor engineering.
Manufacturers like ARB in Australia recognized early on that they had the opportunity to produce a product that would protect the vehicle from a head-on animal strike and do everything that they could to protect the vehicles bodywork and more importantly, the critical components like the engine and coolant system. Often times when rolling through the outback, one is totally isolated from any civilization, and the risk of being disabled is too much to worry about.
When ARB set out to design their bumper system, they opted for a full replacement bumper. This allowed them to fully integrate their upright radiator and headlight protection into the bumper’s structure itself, increasing its strength and effectiveness. Additionally, the replacement allowed them to tailor the crash characteristics so that their product worked seamlessly with ABS sensors and replaceable crush components built into the OEM design of the vehicle.
Ultimately the design proved to not only be very tastefully done, but increased the protection value of the vehicle by several fold. Now the headlights and radiator are fully protected and the thin steel and sometimes plastic stock bumpers are replaced with heavy steel plate-stock with durable powdercoat finishes to ensure that if you do hit something big, you can keep on going.
If you’re interested in learning more about ARB and their products, check out their website or reach out to your local off-road retailer.