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Can You Tow From A Bull Bar?

Bull bars serve a variety of functions, making them grow in popularity in the United States. If you are wondering if you can use a bull bar to tow, we can help you. We researched this accessory in depth so that you'll know for sure what they can and cannot do.

Bull bars should not be used for towing unless they are specifically rated to do so. Bull bars that are safe to tow will need to have rated recovery points and winch mounting frames. You are better off leaving your truck equipped with the tow hooks and using them for this task.

Now that we know that bull bars shouldn't normally be used for towing, we'll take a look at what they are used for. You might also be wondering if bull bars are a good idea or if bull bars are banned anywhere. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

Automobile winch on off-road vehicle, Can You Tow From A Bull Bar?

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What Is The Purpose Of Having A Bull Bar?

You now know that the bull bar isn't sufficient for towing. In this section, we'll discuss the various reasons why you might install a bull bar on your truck or SUV.

Keep in mind that some locations severely regulate bull bars. Check to see what bull bar regulations exist in your country. Then it will be okay to install.

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Protection From Minor Collisions

A bull bar is commonly used to protect a truck or an SUV from body damage. If you drive off-road, this accessory will minimize the damage from hitting small animals, brush, and limbs. This can save your vehicle from scrapes, dents, and even collision damage.

The cost to have a bull bar installed can be far less than the damage it protects your vehicle from. Small impacts to your front end can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Many owners have these accessories installed for this reason alone.

The frame of the bull bar is strong enough to deflect objects away from it. Some are so strong that they pose an even bigger risk to pedestrians and cyclists. We'll discuss that in greater detail ahead in this post.

You Can Add A Winch Mount To Your Bull Bar

Car winch

Your bull bar might include a winch mount. This will enable you to attach a winch to your truck. The winch will come in handy for a variety of tasks.

A winch can be used to pull stranded vehicles out of ditches. Bull bars are great for removing large pieces of debris from roadways. They are particularly useful for downed trees and utility poles.

Aesthetic Reasons

Some bull bar owners have these accessories installed for the sake of aesthetics. They enjoy the rugged "tough" appearance the bull bars give their trucks and SUVs. 

Can You Use A Bull Bar For Recovery?

Bull bars won't always be the best accessory for recovery. The smaller versions, called nudge bars, are not strong enough to handle this task. Just because a bull bar is full-sized doesn't mean it is meant for recovery, either.

For a bull bar to be used safely for recovery, it will need to have rated recovery points. It will also need to have a winch-mounted frame. These indicate that it was made with this task in mind.

If you attempt to tow or recover another vehicle with a bull bar that isn't rated for it, you risk great damage to your vehicle and your bull bar. The bull bar can collapse outward from the force of the pull. It can also be ripped away and damage your front end.

Are Bull Bars A Good Idea?

Stand for demonstration of car body elements reinforced for off-road and made of metal

Bull bars will work to protect your vehicle from some impact damage. This accessory works best when driving off-road. But if you are driving at any low speed, they will still offer your vehicle a good deal of protection.

If you are driving at high rates of speed, the bull bar will not be as effective. Your vehicle will not be impervious to damage caused by larger animals, like deer, if you are driving on a highway. The faster you are driving, the less likely the bull bar is going to save your frame from damage.

Bull bars are great for those who want some protection when off-roading. They are also a good idea for someone who wants to attach a winch to their vehicle. Bull bars also give you a place to install additional front-facing lighting to your truck or SUV.

Where Are Bull Bars Illegal?

Bull bars are legal in all 50 U.S. states at the time of this writing. But these accessories are not legal everywhere. Some nations have banned them outright, while others have placed some fairly significant restrictions on their use.

Most notably, the European Union banned the use of most styles of bull bars in 2007. As full-sized steel bull bars will not crumple when colliding with smaller objects, they pose great harm to pedestrians and cyclists. The bull bar will throw whatever it hits away from it with great force.

Bull bars are also illegal in the United Kingdom for the same reason. Officials in England cite studies that show the serious injuries and deaths caused by bull bars. This led to their ban in this country.

Sport utility vehicle Nissan Terrano in the city street

Do Bull Bars Interfere With Parking Sensors?

Special parking sensors are installed on many modern vehicles. Some sensors will alert the driver of nearby objects. Others will assist in parallel parking the vehicle.

Bull bars have the potential to interfere with the parking sensors on your truck or SUV. Before installing a bull bar, you should have both the bull bar and sensors carefully evaluated to see that their placement will not keep the sensors from working. 

Some will find that the tradeoff is worth losing the parking sensor feature. Fortunately, the bull bar will not interfere with the function of your backup camera. The backup camera is mounted on the back and out of the way of the bull bar.

Self-driving smart car auto parking

Will Installing A Bull Bar Void Your Warranty?

You might be hesitant to install an aftermarket add-on to your vehicle out of concern that it might void your warranty. This isn't a simple matter, however. In our research, we discovered that the burden of proof is more on the automaker than the consumer when it comes to accessories and warranties.

Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act in 1975. This states that it is up to the dealer to prove that the "aftermarket component caused the need for repairs before denying warranty coverage.”

Warranties aren't for collision damage and tend to cover moving parts, electronics, and other components of a vehicle.

Ask the dealer if installing a bulbar will void your warranty the next time you buy a vehicle. If they state no, we suggest getting that in writing. Having their assurance in writing will come in handy just in case.

Final Thoughts

Bull bars will help protect your truck or SUV from collision damage. You will not be able to use many model bull bars for towing and/or recovery. Many countries have banned the use of bull bars, but they remain legal in all 50 U.S. states. Drive safe!

We hope this post on bull bars answered all of your questions. You can get additional information by reading the following posts:

13+ Pickup Truck Customization Ideas (Some Will Blow Your Socks Off!)

How Much Does It Cost To Install A Bull Bar In The US?

Can You Mount A Winch On A Brush Guard? [And How To]