Welcome! You heard correctly about the brush guards. They also cause additional damage in small front end collisions. Not a huge issue if you have good insurance, but nonetheless an issue. Look into real armor if you want to get out on the trails and avoid the superficial stuff that looks cool.
For a front bumper, HeftyFabWorks makes my favorite, followed by Shrockworks. This will replace your brush guard with something more substantial for those deer.
For a rear bumper, Bucksnort, from thenewx.org is close by and makes some killer rear bumpers. That will handle the back armor.
Now, avoid the step bars and add some White Knuckle sliders and you will be set. Good luck and post pictures!
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2007 Xterra S 4x4
Wheels, Tires, and Suspension
285-75 R16 BFG AT-KO, Pro-4X Wheels, 2" OME Lift
NXRocks Skids, TAG Rear Bumper, White-Knuckle Off-Road Rock Sliders
Xoskel Bumper Mount Bracket, Blacked out Emblems, Weathertech Vent Visors, FOURTREKS Hi-Lift Mount, Wilson1000 CB Antenna
Pioneer AVHP3200DVD, Midland CB, Compass Mirror, Nissan All-Weather Floor Mats, Nissan Carpeted Cargo Mat