Essential 4×4 accessories to outfit your off-roader with
Outfitting your 4×4 for the Australian outback can be one of the most exciting things you get to do. That is, as long as you know what you need and understand what you need to look for. Otherwise, it can be a stressful, time- and money-consuming endeavour. On top of that, if you get things wrong, you risk having a mishap while out on the road, and that can completely turn you off from off-roading.
If you’re doubtful and uncertain about which 4×4 accessories for sale you need to look for – worry not. This article will cover the most essential accessories and explain what exactly makes them essential. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.
Bull bars are the most sought-after 4×4 accessories, for multiple reasons. First and foremost, they provide much-needed protection for your vehicle’s front-end from upcoming animals, debris, and other hard objects you may come across while driving across the Australian outback or wilderness. If you’ve never been off-roading, you probably don’t know just how frequent run-ups with ‘roos can be. While most of them will stay out of your way, you may come across a curious bunch that are eager to come and say hi, resulting in a completely wrecked vehicle.
However, not all bull bars are not equal. These differences are not just in terms of size and shape, but also material and features. Here’s all there is to know about bull bars.
Aluminium vs Steel
Bull bars meant for off-roading are generally built using steel or aluminium. Aluminium bull bars are the more expensive option, but they’re also lighter in weight. Their lightweight makes it so your vehicle doesn’t spend as much fuel, which is quite important when travelling long distances.
Steel bull bars, on the other hand, are stronger, and they’re generally the go-to choice for people traversing the most extreme terrains. There are also plastic bull bars, but those are mainly used to alter your vehicle’s appearance, and they don’t offer much in terms of protection.
Bull Bar Features
Bull bars can come with a wide range of features. The most important ones, though, are winch compatibility, rated tow and lift points, and mounting points for other accessories.
Having a bull bar that’s winch-compatible can make a world of difference when out in the outback. Chances are, at some point you’ll get stuck, and you’ll need a reliable way to get out. Winches are the most effortless and efficient way to pull yourself out of virtually any sticky situation.
Rated tow and lift points are also important features to look for. What they mean is that the bull bar has been tested by a third-party engineer, who has given the product its ratings, meaning you can rest assured of its quality.
Mounting points are just that – places where you can mount a variety of accessories, including auxiliary driving lights.
4×4 Roof Racks
Roof racks are another popular accessory. They’re also versatile, as they allow you to pack and transport more things, including other 4×4 accessories, just like the bull bar. There are different types of 4×4 Roof Racks based on how many parts the kit includes, as well as the material they’re made of. Similarly to bull bars, roof racks can be made of aluminium and steel. Aluminium is the preferred choice in most cases, due to its lightweight nature. The weight of the roof rack plays a huge role because after all, it does sit on top of your vehicle. And you probably know – every vehicle has a maximum amount of weight it can carry on its roof. Keep in mind, not only are you adding the weight of the roof rack itself, but also the weight of all your luggage or equipment, as well as accessories.
Roof Rack Parts
As briefly aforementioned, when you look for these 4×4 accessories for sale, you’ll notice that they’re available with a different number of parts. This is because vehicles come with different roof setups, and some may include most, while others may include none of the necessary parts to attach a roof rack.
The towers are the most important and generally most expensive part of roof racks. These parts need to withstand all of the weight of everything that goes on your roof, and they’re placed at the roof’s strongest points. Most towers are accompanied by a locking feature so that nobody can remove the roof rack.
In order to mount the towers, you’ll need a vehicle-specific kit that consists of clips, clamps or bottom pads. The clips and clamp attach the tower to the roofline or rail, whereas the bottom pads sit between the vehicle’s roof and the tower, providing stability and preventing damage.
If your vehicle is equipped with towers, you’ll only need to get a pair of crossbars. Crossbars run the width of the roof, which you can mount the rack onto. The purpose of the crossbars is to support the weight of all the luggage and equipment you bring along. There are different types of crossbars, including square, round, factory and aerodynamic.
Having recovery equipment can give you peace of mind, no matter where you drive. Most experienced off-roaders say that you should have at least two different pieces of recovery equipment. That said, most use a winch and recovery tracks. While their purpose is the same, they’re polar opposites in how they accomplish it. Winches are the more expensive option, but they’re electric, so you don’t have to do anything manually besides tie the cable around a static object. Recovery tracks, on the other hand, are quite affordable, but you’ll have to dig around your tyres, then place them under the tyres so that your vehicle can get some traction and momentum.
That being said, if you must choose one piece of recovery equipment, consider your budget. If you can afford it, a winch will do wonders for you. If you can’t, don’t fret – recovery tracks will be more than enough to pull you out of any bog, muddy or sandy terrain.
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