Owners of a 4×4 vehicle know that keeping them in top shape is a work in progress. Depending on the time you tend to spend in an off road adventure you also need to perform regular maintenance tasks and tackle upgrade projects.
There is no paved highway in the outback. Opportunities to scratch the paint are in abundance. And if you are not careful enough, you can even damage the vehicle on an unassuming road. Fortunately, 4×4 owners are part of a great community of like-minded individuals, so getting some friendly advice and finding good aftermarket parts is not an issue. These are some of the best accessories to protect your ride from damage and road debris.
It’s not rare or unusual to experience stones, chips, and bugs flying onto the hood of the vehicle. The likelihood of this occurrence increases as you leave an urban setting behind. This kind of incident can happen anywhere. Now, people are aware that they can find a car bonnet protector on the market, but they still have second thoughts about installing on. There are three main reasons for this (and they are all misconceptions): it is believed that putting it in place will damage the car, the upgrade itself will take too much time and the aerodynamic profile of the car will be changed.
But bonnet protectors definitely work to keep road debris from damaging the important parts of the car and its paint. And opposed to popular opinion, there’s no risk that installing a car bonnet protector will damage your hood in any way. Sometimes bonnet bras cause little aggravation if you leave them too long in wet conditions. But bonnet protectors don’t work like that.
The installation of a bonnet protector, or also called a stone guard, is straightforward and you can do it by yourself. The main issue would be to make sure the type of front hood protector you are getting is compatible with the model of your vehicle. And if you are not confident to go DIY on this one, you can always schedule an experienced fitter to do it for you. Most retailers offer auto bug shields which can be installed without drilling or cutting.
Then there is the issue of botched aerodynamic after installing 4×4 bonnet protector. This is practically a non issue as the shields are streamlined and designed to snugly fit the outline of the ute. Would they be called truck eyebrows if they are not aerodynamic? It’s how all parts that stick out of the chassis work, including rock sliders, roof racks and antennas. They wont affect your fuel economy in any significant way.
Another aftermarket part designed to keep small rocks at bay. However, since the flares are placed high above the wheels (and tires rim) they stop only debris that comes from the tires. This is in no way inconsequential. Those small rocks that can be found on an off road surfaces can inflict damage to the paint in no time. Especially if you floor the pedal to get the truck out of a ditch as you normally do while in the outback. So, with fender flares you’ll protect the body from the outside and you dampen the noise on the inside.
In terms of aesthetics, fender flares can serve to give off a mean and rugged vibe. You are already pushing the limits when you drive along nearly impossible tracks, so why not look like it, too. If you like the flares to remain inconspicuous though, you can also do that. They can be made to follow the curves and fit seamlessly as long as you get the right pair for your ute model.
In terms of materials we are looking at heavy duty resistant acrylic. One can find fiberglass versions on the market, but they are not great for 4×4. While almost unbeatable in terms of sturdiness, fiberglass is not flexible enough to take regular beating from small sized projectiles. You might end up with cracked fiberglass and then this translates into hours of work. Acrylic is more flexible and conducive to enduring multitude of small impact horizon’s.
The front is not the only part of the vehicle that warrants protection. The rear is also exposed to risks, albeit they come from different type of threats. While you are not likely to sustain damage to the ute tray from hurled rocks, there are still many reasons you’d like to protect it. This comes into play when you want to protect the things you haul along in your ute tray. Some things require waterproof, dustproof and shock proof protection during transport. Professionals need their gear neatly tucked away in toolbox drawers. And off road campers want their barbie away from the passenger cabin.
There are many options for covering the ute tray. It all comes down to your needs (at the moment and as you move ahead). If you want just to cover your cargo to protect it from dust clouds and rain, you can use a semi-permanent fixture to be put in use when needed. It’s not the same for everyone though. If your spend long hours outdoors with highly specialised gear, you need to seal the space and protect it. Aluminium and galvanised steel are used to make sturdy and durable tollbox ute trays.