Mitsubishi have a long history in the Australian car market. With the Adelaide plant beginning production in 1980, the company churned out popular models like the Sigma, Colt, and Magna. And though it has faced the fate of all local car producers, Mitsubishi is still going strong in Australia, with models like the Triton selling by the bucketload, consistently figuring in the top 10 models sold in 2021. The shift to SUVs and utes comes at the expense of mid-size sedans and small hatchbacks, marking a global trend well suited to the Australian terrain and our driving habits. Utes, in this sense, have proven to be both versatile and rugged, either as work vehicles, family cars (especially dual-cab models), or recreational vehicles up to the task of tackling difficult terrain.
Protecting Your 4WD
If you’re venturing off-road, bear in mind to equip your vehicle with the goodies that will protect you and your 4WD in any situation. Added vehicle protection and any modifications, like the exhaust will give you the confidence to tackle any terrain without worrying about potential damage. Let’s take a detailed look into the types of protective equipment you can fit your Triton or any 4WD you choose.
Essential front-end protection comes in the form of bull bars. Bull bars come in various shapes and sizes, for various driving conditions, and a wide range of materials and finishes to best suit your needs and budget. Finding the right triton mq bullbar will be easier once I go through each type.
Bumper bars offer aesthetic appeal to your vehicle while adding a little more protection over your stock bumper. They are relatively cheap, easy to install, and suited for daily driving on sealed roads.
Nudge bars can be added to bumper bars for additional front-end protection to radiator grilles in minor collisions. They are low-weight, easily installed bars, ideal for avoiding dents or scratches in city driving.
Single hoop bull bars have a single hoop covering the radiator grille, while still showcasing the rest of the vehicle. They are robust enough to protect from collision with smaller animals or potential damage from dirt and debris when off-roading. Though heavier and a bit more expensive than nudge bars, they’re the bar to have if you intend to do any serious off-roading.
Triple hoop bull bars, like the single hoop variant, feature added hoops for protecting front lights. Triple hoops cover more of your 4WD and offer added protection, and mounting points for extras, like fog lights and H-brackets. This is handy in extreme technical off-roading and gives you versatility if you use your 4WD for work.
Both single hoop and triple hoop bull bars are sold as winch compatible variants, which can come in handy if you plan to install a winch.
Materials in Bull Bars
Bull bars are made of different materials, each having its pros and cons. Most traditional bull bars are made of steel, as it is often seen as the most robust choice, able to withstand impact at higher speed. Steel bars require little maintenance, provide good weather resistance, and most have coat sprays that protect from rust and moisture. However, steel bars are heavy and may require changes to your front suspension to cater to the load. This is especially important to avoid top-heavy steering which might get you into trouble on more technical terrain.
Lighter, but generally more expensive options are available in the form of aluminium bull bars. Aluminium offers similar rigidity to steel bars, especially with advancements in tubing and welding, but is yet to pick up in popularity. Aluminium bull bars also lack the weather resistance of steel and may stain over time.
More recent bull bars are made of plastic. But plastic lacks the overall strength of both steel and aluminium bars. They are extremely light, and ideal for city driving conditions with a high frequency of pedestrians.
Choose the material that best suits your driving needs and consider where you’ll be driving.
Driving with Bull Bars
Bull bars definitely give your vehicle a go-anywhere look. However, keep in mind that they may affect how your 4WD drives. With the added weight, especially of larger steel bull bars fitted with a winch, you might need to change your stock suspension to stiffer struts and springs. Weight will also mean that your fuel consumption will be slightly higher. Heavier vehicles may need additional changes, like higher-rated brakes. All this comes at a cost.
Installing and Buying a Bull Bar
When outfitting your Triton, you can accessorise it with a wide range of add-ons, including bull bars. This can be pricey, both for parts and labour. Genuine factory bull bars may cost a few thousand, though you do get genuine, brand-name bars and a professional fit, compliant with Australian driving safety regulations.
If you’re buying aftermarket, you have the choice to fit bull bars yourself or by a pro. Most opt for the second choice, as fitting may require drilling, changes to wiring, or complicated work most of us don’t have time and skills for. Aftermarket bull bars are typically cheaper, available for a variety of vehicles, and are built to a high standard. Some come with rated tow points and brackets for extras like high lift jacks. If you’re set to do the work yourself, bear in mind that some models may not include installation details.
Stores selling gear for 4WDs will have brand-name and aftermarket models in stock. Here, you’ll also find towing and recovery equipment for serious off-roading, and more general items like camping gear. When buying bull bars, compare prices online, and go to your nearest workshop or dealership for installation.
I mentioned that most bull bars are compatible with winches. Look for models that suit your make and model. You can also fit additional spotlights and antennas to bull bars using clamp brackets that slide along the tubing, allowing you to place them where you want. These accessories come in handy when driving at night, or in places with poor reception.
For added protection, you might also consider fitting a rear bar to your Triton. To complete the look, aftermarket body kits containing fender flares, bonnet scoops, or headlight trims can keep your car clean, while also protecting it from flying debris.