Brush guard, bull bar, bumper guard; while all of these aftermarket components have essentially the same goal—protecting your Jeep’s front—they seek to accomplish this goal in different ways.
Put ‘Em Up: Protecting Your Front End
Brush guard, bull bar, bumper guard; while all of these aftermarket components have essentially the same goal—protecting your Jeep’s front—they seek to accomplish this goal in different ways. Determining which front end protection your rig needs will depend on the potential obstacles you face on your drives.
Bull bars offer the most basic protection, covering only the middle of your front bumper so as to not completely alter the appearance of your ride. This add-on is beneficial for a rig that is also a daily driver; it won’t add a substantial amount of weight or affect the drivability while also still giving you the protection you need to give your buddy’s stalled vehicle a nudge out on the trail.
Bumper guards, as their name implies, offer protection to the full bumper. Typically, the factory bumper is removed and a much sturdier aftermarket part is installed. While there are downsides, such as a great deal of added weight and a changed steering dynamic, a full-on bumper guard is a great addition, featuring bolt-on areas for a winch, tow hooks, and additional driving lights, while also being tough enough to drive through a brick wall.
Brush guards offer the most complete protection for the front end of your vehicle. While a bumper guard can completely defend the bumper, a brush guard does a good job of protecting some of the more vital parts of your vehicle, such as the radiator and the lights when plowing through the underbrush.
There are plenty of aftermarket solutions for the choosing on this subject, but on the chance that you can’t find one for your make and model, or you don’t have several hundred dollars to drop in this area, there are some DIY solutions you could try.
For a basic grill guard to protect your radiator from thrown rocks and sticks, overlapping layers of chicken wire cut to shape can do wonders to catch all but the worst trail missiles.
If you can get your hands on a spare bit of heavy steel railing, it can be bolted onto the front bumper for some added protection. However, if you or a buddy have any skill with welding, you can cut, shape, and weld together your own custom grill guard for your vehicle. This will offer the most protection and an added benefit is that you can include any features you wish for a truly one-of-a-kind design.