If you’re heading out for a long trip in the bush, odds are you doing it in a 4WD. It will already have the necessities to keep things running smoothly no matter what obstacles come in your way. Decent full-sized bull bars will brush off anything from kangaroos to fallen stumps. You’ll also be wise to have a few bits of recovery gear, like a winch up front, a few straps, and an appointed tow bar at the back. For the underbody, bash plates will keep the exhaust, steering and fuel lines intact. But what about everyday driving in less demanding circumstances, like suburban streets or light dirt trails? Here too you might come across surprises that might end up damaging your car and hurting your pocket. To keep everything clean and protected, here’s a list of useful accessories to help with everyday wear and tear.
Side steps are not just for looks. Sure, they give your 4WD a nice wide stance while also reeking ruggedness. But they’re also a must-have protective item stretching the length of the doors on either side. They’ll shield tyres and vulnerable side panels from rocks and road debris on and off-road. And in tight city streets or parking lots, you’ll avoid scraping doors and side mirrors when backing up, or from unspeakable acts of careless drivers. Besides this, side steps give you the comfort of entering and leaving your car without too much hassle. They can come in handy if you’re installing them on a taller vehicle, or you’ve got young children. And lastly, they keep things clean, considering all the different types of places you drive. Mud comes off easily so you won’t spoil the inside, and having a higher step means you won’t be wiping anything with your jeans when getting out.
You’ll find a range of 4×4 side steps for sale, in different materials, sizes and colours. Decent aftermarket models come in high-quality and durable aluminium or stainless steel with dented grooves or holes along the length for a non-slip surface. There are side steps to fit most 4WD and SUV makes and models, just look out for the manufacturing year of your car to ensure that everything’s good. Look for 4×4 side steps for sale that are compatible with a set of mudguards to protect wheels and suspension, and keep things dry and clean. Mounting side steps is done either on the rocker panels or the frame, and generally doesn’t require drilling. You can fit them yourself or with the help of a mate or at the workshop. Genuine OEM brands will be much dearer though not noticeably better, and you’ll pay more for labour at the dealership.
A useful and cheap addition to your vehicle are bonnet protectors, especially if you regularly drive on gravel or unsealed roads. Bull bars will get rid of the bigger things, but not smaller rock chips and dirt that might cause dents in the bonnet or cracks in the windshield. Bonnets protectors are made of hardened plastics and are up to the task. They’re easily installed with supplied clips, and are available for most cars, including all 4WDs.
Headlight trims and protectors give some substance to bland-looking headlights while also protecting them from flying debris. Headlights will remain clean, which can be very beneficial if your car doesn’t have headlight washers. Protectors are made from transparent plastics and won’t affect beam quality. Aftermarket trims come in black moulded plastic to fit most 4WD headlights. Both parts need no work to the vehicle, but stick with double-sided tape, which is supplied in most kits.
To continue with the go-anywhere look, a set of window weathershields or visors will allow drivers to keep windows open during any kind of weather. You’ll get fresh air in, but no rain or hail, so they are good if you want the windows down in the wet. Visors are tainted and UV resistant, meaning much-needed shade and protection in hot Aussie summers. They’re run along the door and roof lining and attach easily with adhesive tape, without drilling. They’re durable too, made of high-quality acrylic and a cheap aftermarket option that combines functionality and up-market looks for a range of vehicles.
If you carry all sorts of things in the boot, like tools or oil, water and jerrycans, and anything that gets dirty, a decent rubber or plastic protector tray or boot liner will help. They’re waterproof, meaning no nasty spills or leaks to the seats, or anywhere else. Boot liners are textured, providing a non-slip surface for safely carrying larger items. And if you have big dogs with an appetite, these do just fine. Boot liners are moulded for a variety of vehicles and have a snug fit, without any nasty curling or wrinkling.
Buying Vehicle Protection Accessories
As I mentioned above, bull bars and nudge bars, along with rear bars will protect you and your vehicle from accidents or impact with wildlife. They’re not, however, the only thing you need and want in most driving situations. 4×4 side steps provide comfort and protection and are combined with exterior door liners and mudguards for maximum results. A decent and inexpensive kit consisting of bonnet protectors, headlight trims and protectors, and window visors up your 4WD’s look while also giving assurance that no expensive repairs will result from driving in any weather or on any type of road.