How to keep your aluminium and alloy bullbar clean and shiny

Welcome to our guide on cleaning alloy bull bars! Whether you’re a proud owner of a shiny new bull bar or you’re looking to restore an older one, keeping it looking clean and bright is essential for maintaining its appearance and prolonging its lifespan. 


But where do you start? 


Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll walk you through a simple and effective process for cleaning your alloy bull bar, from gathering the materials you’ll need to buffing it to a gleaming finish. So grab your cloth and metal polish, and let’s get started


Why is it important to clean your bull bar? 

Cleaning your alloy bull bar is important for several reasons. 


  1. Maintains appearance: Regular cleaning helps keep your bull bar looking new and shiny, improving the overall appearance of your vehicle.
  2. Prevents corrosion: Dirt, grime, and road salt can cause corrosion over time, which can weaken the structure of your bull bar. Regular cleaning helps to remove these substances and prevent corrosion.
  3. Prolong lifespan: By removing dirt and grime, you’re helping to extend the lifespan of your bull bar and maintain its performance.
  4. Improves visibility: Cleaning your bull bar will improve your visibility on the road by removing any grime or dirt that has accumulated on its surface.
  5. Increases resale value: A clean, well-maintained bull bar will make your vehicle look more polished and improve its resale value.


Why is alloy harder to clean than other materials? 

Alloy bull bars can be more difficult to clean than other materials because of the nature of the alloy itself. Alloy is a combination of aluminium and other metals, and its surface is porous and prone to oxidation. This means that dirt and grime can penetrate the surface and be more difficult to remove than with other materials. 


Additionally, alloy can be easily scratched, so it’s important to be gentle when cleaning and use soft cloths and specialised metal polishes to avoid damaging the surface. 


Furthermore, some types of metal polish or soap can cause discoloration or streaks on alloy surfaces, so it’s important to choose a product specifically designed for use on alloy bull bars


Overall, the delicate nature of alloy requires a more cautious and gentle approach to cleaning, which can make it more challenging than cleaning other materials.


8 Steps on how to clean your bull bar 


  1. Gather materials: The first step in cleaning your alloy bull bar is to gather all the materials you’ll need. You’ll want a mild soap, water, a bucket, a soft cloth, and a specialised metal polish. Make sure to choose a soap that is gentle and won’t scratch the surface of the bull bar. For the cloth, use a soft material such as microfiber to avoid scratching the bull bar. If possible, opt for a metal polish specifically designed for use on alloy surfaces.


  1. Prepare the solution: In a bucket, mix a small amount of mild soap with water to create a cleaning solution. This solution will help to remove any dirt, grime, or road salt that has accumulated on the surface of the bull bar.


  1. Wash the bull bar: Dip the cloth into the cleaning solution and wash the bull bar thoroughly. Make sure to pay special attention to any areas that are particularly dirty or rusty. Use a gentle motion to avoid scratching the surface of the bull bar.


  1. Dry the bull bar: After washing, use a clean, dry cloth to dry the bull bar. Make sure to dry it thoroughly to avoid water spots. If necessary, use a separate cloth to buff the bull bar to a shine. By drying the bull bar promptly and thoroughly, you’ll help to prevent rust and other types of corrosion from forming on its surface.


  1. Apply metal polish: To bring out the shine in your alloy bull bar, apply a small amount of metal polish to a soft cloth. Work the polish into the surface of the bull bar in a circular motion, making sure to cover all areas evenly. Let the polish sit on the bull bar for a few minutes to allow it to work its magic.


  1. Buff the bull bar: After the metal polish has had time to work, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the bull bar to a shine. Make sure to buff evenly to avoid streaks. This step will help to remove any remaining dirt or grime, and will bring out the natural shine of the alloy.


  1. Repeat the process: If necessary, repeat the entire process until you achieve the desired level of cleanliness. Keep in mind that it may take several rounds of washing, polishing, and buffing to get your bull bar looking its best.


  1. Maintenance: To keep your bull bar looking great for years to come, it’s important to clean it regularly. Dirt and grime can accumulate quickly, especially if you drive in harsh weather conditions. Regular cleaning will help to prevent corrosion and maintain the bull bar’s appearance. It’s also a good idea to apply a coat of wax or protective coating after cleaning to further protect the surface.


Important to note:

It is important to note that different alloy bull bars may require different cleaning methods, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning your bull bar. Regular cleaning will keep your bull bar looking its best and prevent damage from dirt and grime.


Bull Bar Material Guide

The material of the bull bar you choose is very important. Different materials will offer different levels of protection, will be easier or harder to clean, and will have different weights. Here’s what you need to know:


Material 1: Everything You Need To Know About Steel Bull Bars 

Steel bull bars are the most sold and strongest bull bar material. For large animal encounters (kangaroo and bigger), a steel bull bar will give you the best protection. They are also reasonably priced.


However, steel is a heavy material and the added weight can wear down tyres, dampen your braking, and sag your front suspension by up to 10mm. As such, they are best suited to larger vehicles.


Steel Pros 

  • Strong 
  • Moderately priced 


Steel Cons 

  • Heavy 


Material 2: Everything You Need To Know About Aluminium Bull Bars

Aluminium bull bars, or alloy bull bars, are a blend of light-weight and strong. They will not have the same wear on your vehicle as a steel bull bar with only slightly less strength and protection. They are half the weight of steel bars and do not rust!


The trade off with aluminium bull bars is their price. They are the most expensive bull bar material on the market. If you do have an incident, replacing an aluminium bull bar can be debilitating. However, the price you spend on an aluminium bull bar may save you money on general wear and tear compared to a steel bull bar. 


Aluminium Pros 

  • Light-weight 
  • Good strength 
  • Don’t rust 


Aluminium Cons 

  • Expensive  


Material 3: Everything You Need To Know About Plastic Bull Bars 

No surprises here, plastic is the lightest and most affordable material of bull bar. They are suited to lighter brushing and protection to your front end. 


Although metal tends to be stronger than plastic, that doesn’t mean plastic bull bars aren’t a suitable option. Plastic bull bars, as mentioned before, are good for protecting your vehicle from light brushings and debris. In the case of animal impact, they still offer a crumple zone that helps to reduce the impact of the animal striking your car. It will more than likely ruin your bull bar if you hit a larger animal, but the damage to your car will be significantly reduced, and the bull bar is relatively replaceable. 


Plastic Pros

  • Affordable
  • Somewhat replaceable 
  • Lightweight  


Plastic Cons 

  • Metal tends to be stronger
  • May be prone to sun damage 


What if you need to get a new bull bar? 

If you need a bull bar installation, Total 4×4 is the one-stop shop for all truck, passenger and 4WD accessories with over 30 years of experience in both residential and commercial. Not only do we have the best brands of bull bars for you to pick and choose from, we also have the friendly team to put it on your vehicle. We have the products, we have the installers, come give us a visit!


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