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    The Most Important 4×4 Accessories for Off-Roading

    By on Last modified: December 12, 2022

    When most people think about modifying their 4×4 to prepare for the off-road, they often turn to bull bars as the first accessory. It only makes sense, as bull bars protect your most fragile parts located at the front, such as the radiator, and other parts under the hood, from impact. However, there are other accessories that are worth considering, especially if you plan on travelling through challenging terrains, such as brush bars, sidebars, and fender flares. Here’s everything you need to know about these protective accessories.

    4x4 accessories

    Bull Bars

    Bull bars, as aforementioned, are arguably the most important protective accessory for off-roading. They protect the fragile, yet important parts located under your bonnet. As a result, they’re the first choice for modification for most avid off-roaders. Bull bars come in a wide range of designs and can be made using different materials. Quality bull bars are either made of aluminised or stainless steel. Both these materials offer the needed protection to withstand the harshness that comes from driving through the rugged Australian off-roads, with the key difference between them being their weight and level of protection.

    Stainless steel bull bars are heavier, but offer more protection, whereas aluminised steel bull bars are lighter, but offer less protection. Moreover, stainless steel bars are more resistant to rust and corrosion, whereas aluminised bars require powder coating to achieve the same resistant properties. Aluminised steel, being lighter, will go easier on your fuel economy, and help you keep your weight under your recommended gross vehicle mass.

    As far as designs go, you can generally choose between single-hoop and triple-hoop bull bars. Single-hoop bull bars have just one hoop going over the grille, making them lighter. However, they offer less protection. Triple-hoop bars, on the other hand, provide the most protection, but are also the heaviest.

    Brush Bars

    Also known as scrub bars, brush bars protect the front quarter panels. They connect from the bull bar to the side steps. They’re usually made of steel and offer protection against the impact of brushing when coming across trees, rut walls and boulders. After all, the panel work is quite delicate and can result in costly damages. 4×4 brush bars are affordable accessories that provide necessary protection when going on off-road adventures.

    4x4 brush bars

    Instead of impacting your quarter panels directly, the vehicle will slide, rub or knock against the object you come across. This makes the brush bar take most of the damage, which is then easier to cover up or repair. The best thing about these bars is that they’re easy to remove and install, yet provide great protection and peace of mind.

    Side Steps

    Side steps are multi-purpose accessories. They not only provide protection to your side panels from impact. but they also serve as an extra step for getting in and out of your vehicle. Side steps come in a wide range of designs, and you may see them called rock sliders. While both terms can be used interchangeably, they are somewhat different. Moreover, not only are these accessories great for off-roading, but they’re also beneficial when driving through the city, especially if you park in public parking. Since side steps stick out from the sides of your car, they prevent other people from jamming their doors into your vehicle in tight spaces.

    Just like bull bars, side steps can be made from a wide range of materials. Most are made using aluminised or stainless steel, with a rubber grip surface on top of them to prevent slipping. The same pros and cons apply to aluminised and stainless steel as in bull bars, with aluminised steps being lighter in weight but not offering as much protection, whereas stainless steel is heavier but offers the best possible protection. There are also plastic side steps, but those mainly serve as an extra step for getting in and out of your vehicle. They don’t offer much protection, if any at all.

    Fender Flares

    Fender flares are the parts that extend out from the body of the vehicle from the wheel. Some 4x4s feature fender flares from the factory, but more often than not, they’re an aftermarket accessory. These accessories protect against the debris and objects that come as a result of your spinning when driving through rough terrain. They come in a wide range of designs, based on what they’re intended for. The most commonly used designs are OE-style, street-style, bolt-style and pocket-style fender flares.

    OE-style fender flares match the original equipment that your vehicle comes with. Street-style fender flares are usually street-legal and low-profile. Bolt-style fender flares feature decorative bolts, but they’re mainly just for show rather than functionality and protection. Last but not least, the pocket-style fender flares are the more extreme version of bolt-style fenders.

    While affordable, fender flares can completely transform your vehicle’s looks, and they can eliminate the need to wash your vehicle after every off-road trip, as instead of dirt going up to your side panels, it will stick to the flares, which are easier and faster to hose down.