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Old 31st May 2013, 10:03   #31
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

Friends - here's my first hand experience.

Earlier this year, I had installed a front and rear bull-bar on my 2009 innova- mainly as a knee-jerk reaction to the few dozen times that the bumpers had got scratches either due to my own carelessness when parking in tight spaces and due to careless habits of other road users.

It worked for a while - for the few months following the installation, the bumpers were in pristine condition, and I was satisfied.

Until one morning , on the drive to work, I had somehow managed to get on the single -lane flyover on Rao Tula Ram Marg. It was stop-and-go traffic, and due to a moment of inattentiveness, I rammed into a Santro in front of me.
Luckily both of us drivers were not injured, and quite surprisingly the Santro's rear exhibited no sign of damage whatsoever despite a 2 ton vehicle ramming into it - at least - what must have been 10-15 kmph.

When I turned around to look at the Innova - I was in for a shock. The entire front section had caved in, and the bonnet had come loose.

Later the front bull bar had to sawed out. The extent of the damage -
a) Perforated front bumper - had to be replaced
b) Broken Front Grille
c) Broken Support strut for the lock mechanism of the bonnet.
d) Both Front headlights damaged.

Total bill -> 25000.

The service advisor remarked , that I am lucky the bull bar did not cause more damage. Had I not installed it, at worst the bumper would have had to be replaced as it is designed to absorb shock of low speed impacts. Besides had it been a hi-speed impact, the air bag would not have deployed, instead the force would have been transmitted to the body-shell, bypassing the air-bag system.

Lesson learnt. No more bull-bars for me.
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Old 31st May 2013, 11:15   #32
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

Really quite surprising that the Santro did not suffer any damage, despite a monster ramming from behind. I guess the low speed and the bumpers of Santro absorbing that impact worked in its favour.

Also, there is no doubt that whatever your SA said is true. What I used to think is that bull bars are only lethal in major crashes, but your experience forces me to think about those minor crashes too, where you ended up paying that hefty amount for repairs!

Regards,
Saket
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Old 31st May 2013, 11:26   #33
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

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Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Luckily both of us drivers were not injured, and quite surprisingly the Santro's rear exhibited no sign of damage whatsoever despite a 2 ton vehicle ramming into it - at least - what must have been 10-15 kmph.

When I turned around to look at the Innova - I was in for a shock. The entire front section had caved in, and the bonnet had come loose.
But isn't sometimes its difficult to judge the physics and its dynamics that take place during a collision? For instance so much damage to your car with no damage to Santro seems so unreal. Agreed that his bumpers might have absorbed the force but they would in that case go for a toss right? So I am not sure if you can entirely blame it on the bull bars. One doesn't know the extent of damage to your car incase they weren't there. The SA would tell you whatever you want to hear, so can't be trusted.

I feel bull bars really protect your car from the everyday city bumps and scratches that fellow road users so generously donate specially on Delhi roads. In particular the rear bar has saved my Innova a zillion times from two wheelers hitting it in a jam or stop-go traffic.

Last edited by drmohitg : 31st May 2013 at 11:28.
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Old 31st May 2013, 15:00   #34
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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
But isn't sometimes its difficult to judge the physics and its dynamics that take place during a collision? For instance so much damage to your car with no damage to Santro seems so unreal. Agreed that his bumpers might have absorbed the force but they would in that case go for a toss right?

I feel bull bars really protect your car from the everyday city bumps and scratches that fellow road users so generously donate specially on Delhi roads. In particular the rear bar has saved my Innova a zillion times from two wheelers hitting it in a jam or stop-go traffic.
Doctor Mohit saab- 1 month ago I would have 100% agreed with you. And even I was amazed that the Santro lived unscathed through it all - with not even so much as a dent to show for the tremendous force. One possibility is that it may have been on neutral at the time of impact, allowing the car to move forward thus expending some energy? - anyway can't be sure of why that as not damaged as much as it 'should' have been. Lucky for me - else it would have been 25k + Santro repair bill from pocket.

I feel that yes the front bull bar protects bumper from nudging the pavement when parking in tight space, but given the experience, I now feel I need to be more careful when parking.
What happened was that the entire bull bar assembly had risen a couple inches and bent backwards on impact. It had deformed the bumper slightly , but because it had risen, it had also caused damage to both headlights and the grille.
Now when I had the damaged bull bar removed , I examined the bumper. It's deformation was not significant , but had to anyway be replaced because a number of punctures had been made by the bolts holding the fibre portion of the bull bar to the rest of the bull-bar frame.
The problem was really created by the upper frame of the bull bar- that had risen by a couple of inches and rammed backwards into the grille and headlights. Had it not been for the strut holding the bonnet lock in place (that had deformed also)- this is directly in front of the radiator, and had it not been a low speed crash, it was definitely possible for the radiator to be punctured by the bull bar's appendages.
Now had the bumper done it's job and deformed on impact, perhaps there would not have been a need to replace the grille, strut and headlights.

Last edited by joybhowmik : 31st May 2013 at 15:02.
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Old 31st May 2013, 15:07   #35
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

Bullbars on hatchbacks/sedans are definitely eyesore and proven that are not going to help in high impact crashes.

I wouldn't be bothered to go there to save few thousand bucks on bumpers replacement in eventaulity than having those ugly looking bullbars, sidebars seen on Indicas, Altos, Santros
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Old 31st May 2013, 15:44   #36
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

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Originally Posted by drmohitg View Post
BAgreed that his bumpers might have absorbed the force but they would in that case go for a toss right?
Mohit, what you say is very practical but I have seen some minor crashes where bumpers absorb the impact and come out clean.

I will like to share an incident which I witnessed last night. Our society has its water pump installed a little outside the building, about 5 metres. There is a metal pipe which runs from deep inside the ground and then the thick plastic pipe (don't know the exact material, may be PVC) takes over. This entire set up is enclosed by a shoddy brick work from 3 sides. Then there comes an Alto at about 10-10:30 at night, probably driven by a new driver and hits the set up.
The brick work is gone and so is the plastic pipe. The only thing that remains as of today morning is the metal pipe and the Alto bumper. I was amazed to see that the car's bumper showed only some minor scratches and nothing else!
Same thing happened to my other neighbour whose Chevy UVA was rear ended by an i10. The bumpers lost its locking clips only, nothing else. At times, I am really amazed at the strength of these bumpers.

Probably the flexibility saves them.
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Old 31st May 2013, 17:32   #37
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

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Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
And even I was amazed that the Santro lived unscathed through it all - with not even so much as a dent to show for the tremendous force. One possibility is that it may have been on neutral at the time of impact, allowing the car to move forward thus expending some energy? - anyway can't be sure of why that as not damaged as much as it 'should' have been. Lucky for me - else it would have been 25k + Santro repair bill from pocket.
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Mohit, what you say is very practical but I have seen some minor crashes where bumpers absorb the impact and come out clean.
Same thing happened to my other neighbour whose Chevy UVA was rear ended by an i10. The bumpers lost its locking clips only, nothing else. At times, I am really amazed at the strength of these bumpers.

Probably the flexibility saves them.
This is what I meant. I still haven't been able to figure out the exact force that a bumper can take. Every accident has its own set of forces at play that dictate the damage to the car. For instance My honda city got rammed from behind by a wagonR on the ring road when I had to brake suddenly due to the car that braked ahead suddenly. To my surprise my car's rear was jammed inside with the whole bumper crushed and the boot caved in. The wagonR was as good as new with not even a scratch or a loose bumper from the sides.
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Old 1st August 2013, 17:03   #38
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

Man, this bull bar fascination has gone through the roof in the NCR! Just today, I saw an i20 with a rear and front bull bar (if it can be called that). Whats worse is the homegrown variety that seems to be catching up rapidly to the better designed ones - their exclusive clientele being the cabs. These are outright dangerous and forget a car, if god forbid, they hit a living being - man or animal - they will injure it very very severely! It just a straight L section/box section/c section iron rod welded on to the chassis! Sometimes even metal pipes - the kinds used in household plumbing! Makes me sad and angry at the same time, I wonder if there is any law preventing these contraptions. If not, its high time they put one in place.
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Old 30th July 2014, 20:10   #39
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I was doing some work-related research online when I saw this report prepared for the UK Parliament on legalities of bull bars.

SN01216.pdf

Apparently bull bars are banned in the EU since 2007. The findings on heightened injury to humans by such contraptions that have long ceased serving the intended purpose is astonishing.

In our country people have a fascination for bullbars which originated to maximise impact of force on an animal obstacle (like bovines, kangaroos) and minimize danger to the vehicle. Since it is next to impossible for an animal to come in the way of most motorists on most Indian roads, this likely results in more grievous injuries to pedestrians who are hit by vehicles sporting bull bars.

As for keeping your vehicle safe, I have increasingly found that cars and particularly SUVs equipped with these bull bars tend to take more risks while driving -- a manifestation of the Peltzmann effect (where the perception of increased safety actually induces increased risk). While speaking to a couple of off-duty engineers at the service centre while picking up my car last month I quizzed them about a bull bar they were installing on a car and they replied that "these are good sir, once you fit them you can safely drive without risk of scratches / dents, it will give you 100% protection" (translated)

I wonder how long it will take before our PVD / RTOs / State governments think it fit to examine these subtleties of road safety.

And I'm not commenting on the heightened damage to the vehicle itself due to the extra load on the chassis - as several BHPians have already done.

Note to Mods : I think this thread can be merged with another bearing the same title. I realised this after posting

Last edited by Kumar R : 30th July 2014 at 20:12.
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Old 30th July 2014, 21:52   #40
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Apparently bull bars are banned in the EU since 2007. The findings on heightened injury to humans by such contraptions that have long ceased serving the intended purpose is astonishing.
Correct, in Europe it's not only illegal, it was/is also considered to be anti social for the same reason; you increase injuries to humans in case of an accident. In Europe it is quite rare to have animals on the roads. You might have the odd deer in some rural parts of Europe but that's about it.

Slightly of topic, but there is more to those bull bars then just good/bad for you, your car, somebody else's car or pedestrian and or animals

Most bull bars were fitted to SUV type of cars. Although I don't have any concrete data on it, my impression is that in those days, the main reason people fitted bull bars was for cosmetic reasons, and nothing else. Looks macho or whatever.

Those cars, or rather their owners, do not enjoy a particular good reputation with certain political parties, environmental groups and such. Although now without bull bars a still increasing number of people believe it is ridiculous and anti social to drive around town in what they see as gas guzzler, environmental unfriendly cars.

When we are in our house in Suffolk in the UK, just about everybody that lives in the countryside has some sort of SUV, because during autumn/winter time you really need a car like that. But you bring those SUVs into some of the main cities in Europe and you'll have people spitting at you and scratching the paint if you're unlucky.

People who own and drive SUV's (other then those living in the country) are considered by a still growing number of people as unpleasant, unsavory and the type you would not invite for a dinner party at your home.
Or as some would put it, you look like a prat, if you drive a SUV in town.

When we lived in Kansas City, all of our friends, living in the suburbs, owned multiple SUVs. The women, just about all of them, all had Range Rover Sports.
We owned a proper original 1998 Jeep Cherokee. No bull bars.

There it was very much a common thing. House in the suburbs, garage with room for 3/4 cars, 1 or 2 being SUVs. The SUVs were used by mum during the week for the school run and the shopping and in the weekend by dad to tow the trailer with the speed boat.

Loved my Jeep, but never felt the need to have a bull bar fitted. And the amount of road kill in Kansas and Missouri is absolutely staggering. All sorts of deer, coyotes, prairie dogs, raccoons possums etc etc.

Jeroen
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Old 18th December 2014, 16:18   #41
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

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Originally Posted by joybhowmik View Post
Friends - here's my first hand experience.


Lesson learnt. No more bull-bars for me.

Guys, I know this is quite old thread, but I have a question to ask . If bullbars are risky and damaging, why many cars have them in stock? I know some model in duster also comes with bullbar, what tests these cars goes from for not to compromise safety? How does airbags deploy in case of crash in stock bullbars?

Regards
SE
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Old 18th December 2014, 17:31   #42
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Originally Posted by speed_edge View Post
Guys, I know this is quite old thread, but I have a question to ask . If bullbars are risky and damaging, why many cars have them in stock? I know some model in duster also comes with bullbar, what tests these cars goes from for not to compromise safety? How does airbags deploy in case of crash in stock bullbars?

Regards
SE
Your information is wrong. No car/SUV today has bullbar as standard fixture. They are provided as accessories by the dealers post purchase. Ideally speaking they are illegal in India.
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Old 18th December 2014, 17:39   #43
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No car/SUV today has bullbar as standard fixture.
The Renault Duster Adventure has a plastic bullbar with 2 extra fog lamps as a stock fitment FYI.

Bull bars, good or bad??-renaultdusteradventureeditionfrontlive.jpg
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Old 18th December 2014, 18:29   #44
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I think the metal bull-bars are the dangerous ones.

The huge house gate type ones with an array of auxiliary lights and additional horns mounted.

The plastic bull-bars IMO work just like bumpers providing crumple zones to dissipate the crash force, unlike the metal contraptions which are mounted to the chassis directly and transmit the impact to the chassis.

Last edited by batterylow : 18th December 2014 at 18:33.
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Old 18th December 2014, 18:33   #45
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Default Re: Bull bars, good or bad??

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Your information is wrong. No car/SUV today has bullbar as standard fixture. They are provided as accessories by the dealers post purchase. Ideally speaking they are illegal in India.
What the Mahindra Thar, Maxx PickUp (and other similar old jeep based vehicles that they sell) come with a steel bumper that really is a bull bar with no fancy looks.

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Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
The Renault Duster Adventure has a plastic bullbar with 2 extra fog lamps as a stock fitment FYI.

Attachment 1319876
The plastic thing isn't really a bull bar at all. Its just a cosmetic plastic add-on.
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