Rock Sliders: Protective Accessories Are Always a Good Idea

If rock crawling has piqued your interest as of late, and you’re seriously contemplating taking your HiLux off the road for an unforgettable adventure, you need to make sure it’s properly protected from all the potential hazards that come with rock crawling. One area that’s most prone to damage from rock crawling is the side panels, or in simpler terms – your doors. For that reason, every experienced rock crawler will you that rock sliders are one of the most valuable aftermarket accessories you can install on your vehicle. However, a lot of people confuse rock sliders and side steps. Hell, even some experienced off-roaders use the terms interchangeably.

Toyota HiLux rock sliders and side steps are actually quite different. The main function of side steps is to give you easier access to your HiLux, whereas rock sliders are designed to support the weight of your HiLux and protect its side panels from damage. That’s the gist of it. But if you’re curious about the specifics, keep reading, I’ll discuss the key differences, specific features and where to find the ideal Toyota HiLux rock sliders or side steps.

rock slider

Rock Sliders

Rock sliders are one of the most beneficial accessories you can add to your HiLux when going off-road. Their main purpose and what they’re specifically designed to do is protect the side panels from damage, as well as support the weight of your HiLux from the underside. These two things are especially beneficial if you don’t have enough grand clearance while going over aggressive rock trails. Additionally, you can use them to belly slide your HiLux across sand ridges. Of course, you can still use them as a side step, whereas you can’t use side steps as rock sliders.

They are incredibly useful in protecting your side lower panels and sills, which can save you from having to pay for expensive repairs. That being said, it’s best to invest in quality rock sliders instead before you take your HiLux off the road. The main features of rock sliders are the twin-tube design that comes with four or more connections between the tubes, their ability to be attached to the chassis with only a few mountings, and the ability to use a high-lift jack on them.

side steps

Side Steps

Side steps can be made from a wide range of materials, but their use and structure remain the same. They’re mainly used to provide easier access in and out of your HiLux while providing minimum protection. They aren’t designed to withstand the weight of your HiLux, simply because they flex a lot. If you do put your HiLux’ weight on them, they’ll eventually bend, and they won’t be safe to use, even as steps. If that happens, you’ll have to replace them, otherwise, you risk damaging your HiLux further.

Typically, side steps are made of aluminium, as that’s the lightest option available that’s still somewhat durable. You can get side steps with a plastic outer shell to improve your HiLux’ look. The last option is steel. Steel side steps come in a single tube design, and they’re usually attached to your HiLux with the help of two steel brackets.

side rails

Side Rails

Side rails, also known as brush bars offer further protection to your HiLux. They’re mounted to the chassis and connect to the bull bar. Side rails help prevent dings, scratches, dents, while also protecting your flared wheel guards from damage that results from driving on Australia’s rugged off-road trails. Now you may think “There was no mention of side rails thus far, so why talk about them now?” Well, the great thing about side rails is that you can integrate them with your rock sliders and side steps.

Where Should You Buy Your Rock Sliders or Side Steps?

Side steps and rock sliders can be bought from a wide range of brands, and even a wider range of retailers. You should do your due diligence before you decide on a brand and a particular set of rock sliders or steps. Moreover, you should make sure the rock sliders or side steps you buy are compatible with your HiLux so that you have to perform minimum modification and drill work to install them. Side steps are more affordable than rock sliders. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars for decent quality side steps, whereas you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for rock sliders. Check a few different vendors and compare prices, as you may find the exact same models at a better price. You can install them yourself if you want to save money, but you should consider getting an extra pair of hands to make the task easier. At the end of the day, the investment will be well worth it, and you’ll save a lot of money down the road that you’d otherwise spend on repairs and paint.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.