Off-roaders are constantly looking for ways to protect their 4WD vehicles.
That’s why they buy accessories to protect their investment. These days many drivers have bonnet protectors or guards. As the name suggests, these act as a shield to defend your 4x4 or car from flying debris.
If you’re wondering what a bonnet protector does, then you’re in the right place!
In this guide, we’ll break down the purpose of a bonnet protector. Then, we’ll look at the steps to install one.
Let’s get started!
What are bonnet protectors?
Bonnet protectors are protective devices that drivers install on the front of their vehicles. They are usually made of durable materials like vinyl or acrylic.
Some people don’t like the aesthetic of bonnet protectors but they serve a useful function. While they won’t make your vehicle invincible, they offer another layer of protection.
This makes them useful if you’re driving on country or outback roads, where gravel and stone chips can flick up and wreak havoc on your bonnet.
What are the benefits of using a bonnet protector?
Now let’s look in more detail at a bonnet protector’s benefits.
Acts as a Shield
The main benefit of bonnet protectors is that they act as an extra layer between the world and your car.
Nothing has 100% effectiveness but it’s much better than not having any form of guard. Strong winds can throw stone fragments and chips into the air. These can scratch the vehicle and cause unsightly damage.
A good bonnet protector will often prevent this from happening.
Have you ever pulled up after a day of driving to discover dozens of squished bugs on your windscreen and bonnet?
Unfortunately, this is the reality of driving in Australia. Bonnet protectors will reduce the number of insects that make contact with your vehicle. Some will inevitably get through but these guards are surprisingly effective.
Remember to wipe the protector at the end of the journey to avoid getting a build up of dried insects.
How much do bonnet protectors usually cost?
Bonnet protectors vary in price but you can expect to pay around $100.
Some cost more while others are cheaper. It depends on variables like the make and model of the vehicle and the material that the protector is made from. Many car manufacturers design vehicle-specific guards. These make sense because they will be a perfect fit for your 4X4.
It’s also possible to get custom bonnet protectors. These may offer more protection depending on the design features. However, they’ll also be more expensive.
Beware of cheaper bonnet protectors because they may do more harm than good. If they don’t fit well they can actually scratch your bonnet or provide ineffective protection.
How to install a bonnet protector?
Next, let’s look at the general steps for install a bonnet protector. There may be some variance between brands, so consider this a very general guide only, to give you a feel for the work involved. For a visual guide check out this video from OCAM.
The good news is that there’s no need to drill any holes and the steps are quite simple!
- Screws/washers/screw plugs
- Adhesive strips
- Non-permanent marker
- Phillips head screwdriver
1. Mark out the bonnet protector
Place the bonnet protector on top of the car bonnet. Using your non-permanent marker/highlighter, mark the holes.
2. Apply adhesive strips
Cover the marked areas with adhesive strips. These will ensure that the clips don’t scratch the bonnet later.
Fold one half on top of the bonnet and the other half underneath its lip.
3. Insert the first clips
Open up the bonnet. Now it’s time to attach the larger clips provided with the kit. Use the screw plugs, screws and washers with the screwdriver.
Usually, the big clips fit in the external holes, not in the middle. The square opening should be on the bottom. There’s also no need to tighten the clips too much.
4. Fit the bonnet protector
Close the bonnet lid. Then position the bonnet protector on top. Take a screw and washer and fit the protector to the clips beneath.
5. Add the remaining clips
Reopen the bonnet and follow the same process to fit the remaining clips. Remember to apply adhesive tape first!
6. Tighten the screws
Go back over all of the screws to tighten them. You may want to remove the bonnet protector at some point so don’t make it impossible to open them!
What to consider when purchasing a bonnet protector
Vehicle Make & Model
As with any 4x4 accessory, you need to make sure that the gear you are buying is designed for your specific make and model. Check out these guides for various popular 4x4 models:
Frequency of Use
If you live in a major city, you probably won’t see the value of a bonnet protector. However, rural dwellers and avid off-roaders may benefit from using one.
This isn’t the most expensive accessory but if you’re only going to use your product once a year it might not be worth it.
Some people question the effectiveness of a bonnet protector.
This is fair because it varies depending on the vehicle. There are pros and cons to using one. While they do provide a degree of protection, it’s limited to a specific area of the vehicle.
Bonnet shapes vary depending on the car and this influences their ability.
Bonnet protector detractors criticise their appearance.
In the end, this comes down to personal opinion. They think it’s pointless to protect a vehicle from chips by clipping an ugly lump of plastic onto it. However, the other side is that it’s much easier to remove a protector than the scratches and dents you’ll get from having one.
In that way, it’s a bit like the screen protectors people put on their smartphones to prevent the glass from shattering when you drop it. It’s easier to remove the shattered protector than replace the glass itself!
Keep in mind that a bonnet protector will reduce damage to your bodywork and therefore may also safeguard the resale value.
Some drivers worry that bonnet protectors will interfere with the aerodynamics of their SUVs.
It may affect drag but it’s unlikely to be an issue for regular road users. The benefits outweigh the negatives when it comes to this aspect.
Bonnet protectors are increasingly popular in Australia.
Some people swear by them while others don’t think they’re worthwhile. However, they’re not a bad investment considering their cost. If you know that you’ll be travelling on rough roads or terrain then it’s wise to protect your 4X4.
Another positive is that they’re easy to install or remove. When you don’t need it, you can take it off and store it away.
If you have any questions about bonnet protectors please leave a comment below!
This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.
Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.