The Ultimate Guide To Choosing the Right Rock Sliders and Side Steps for Your 4x4

Author: PX Wholesales   Date Posted: 1 April 2020 

Rock sliders and Side steps are both sound investments when it comes to your 4x4, but they are often confused for one another, which can be a very costly mistake. It is important that you are able to tell the difference between the two, whilst also knowing how each product can benefit your vehicle.

What are Side Steps?

It is important to know the distinct differences between side steps and rock sliders, as each has varying benefits and limitations for your vehicle. As the name suggests, a side step provides a practical use when getting in and out of your vehicle. The step is quite literally attached to the side of your car, allowing for easier access up to the seat in your four by four. These should not be confused with rock sliders as side steps are not designed to offer car side protection to your vehicle. They are also not designed to take the weight of your vehicle. If you are using your side steps for either of the two previously mentioned purposes, then they will bend or break, causing potential damage to other parts of your vehicle. When this happens, you will have to replace the side steps and repair whatever damage the warped/broken ones caused.

Key features of alloy side steps

Alloy side steps have a number of different properties that make them unique from side steps made from other materials. It is important to know the differences between alloy side steps and other types on the market to ensure you get the best possible product for your vehicle and your personal needs.

  • Alloy side steps are made from aluminium
  • These side steps are rigid enough to stand on due to the form of channelling used
  • Some alloy side steps have plastic outer shells for aesthetic purposes
  • These side steps are usually attached to the vehicle via two thin pressed brackets
  • Alloy side steps work extremely practically as steps
  • However, alloy versions offer very little in the way of vehicle protection
  • You will be unable to use a high lift jack with alloy side steps

Key features of steel side steps

Steel side steps vary from the alloy alternatives in a number of ways, making them a unique option for your vehicle. It is important to know the differences between steel side steps and alloy side steps in order to ensure you get the best possible product to suit the needs of you and your vehicle.

  • Steel car side steps offer a single tube design
  • Steel car side steps also feature an alloy checkered plate on the top
  • They are attached to your vehicle chassis via two steel brackets
  • They offer some limited side protection to your vehicle
  • However, steel side steps will not consistently support a vehicle’s weight over time
  • You will be unable to use a high lift jack with steel side steps

What are Rock Sliders?

A rock slider is very different from a side step, as their purpose is more targeted towards supporting your vehicle rather than assisting you in accessing it. Rock sliders are very important for anyone who is looking to take their 4x4 off-roading. They support the vehicle from the underside, which is particularly useful when you do not have enough ground clearance on rocky ground, hence the name rock sliders. You can also use them to ‘belly slide’ across certain sand ridges and rocky terrains. The ultimate aim of a rock slider is to ensure that your vehicle is less likely to take damage on uneven terrain, protecting things like your sills and lower panels. Not only does this assist you in getting across the terrain in the first place, but it also helps to avoid any expensive repairs after your trip is finished. Rock sliders are definitely a worthy investment for any 4x4 owners looking to do consistent off-roading. 

Do you need rock sliders?

You should definitely invest in rock sliders if you are regularly going off-roading on rocky/aggressive terrain and your vehicle is currently unprotected. Rock sliders can support the weight of your 4x4 and protect the sills and sides from picking up some costly damages.

Key features of rock sliders

You should always do your research before purchasing any rock sliders to ensure that you get the very best options for your vehicle and your needs. It is always best to opt for a rock slider that has been built to last and can take a hit. Here are some of the features to look out for:

  • Rock sliders attach to the chassis using three or four mountings
  • They feature a twin-tube construction – at least four connections between the tubes
  • Rock sliders are the best options for sill and car side protection
  • They are sturdy and should be able to take hits in place of your vehicle
  • They are normally attached on an upswept angle
  • Rock sliders are built to be strong and rigid enough to support your vehicle’s weight
  • You can use a high lift jack off of your rock sliders 4x4

Should I swap my side steps for rock sliders?

If you are looking to take your 4x4 out off-roading and currently have side steps rather than rock sliders, then investing in the latter is a sound decision. They may not be the first accessory you buy for your vehicle, but if you are constantly going off-roading and coming up against some nasty terrain, you should see rock sliders as a good investment and an insurance policy. Shelling out for rock sliders now may just save you from paying for sill or side repairs further down the line, which would be far more expensive. Side steps will not offer you anything close to the support or protection of rock sliders, and may even actively cause damage if used in the wrong way.

Can rock sliders be used as steps?

Despite the fact that the primary use of a rock slider is to provide vehicle support, they can still be used as side steps. However, it is important to remember that the same cannot be said for the opposite, so side steps are not to be used as a substitute for rock sliders.

PX Wholesales

PX Wholesales is Australian owned and operated, with years of experience in the wholesale automotive industry. We go out of our way to order our sourced products in bulk to ensure that we can offer you, our customers, the very best prices. Not only this, but all stocked goods are hand-selected and tested by us to ensure that you are investing in a top-quality product. If you are looking for the latest lighting, 4x4, side steps, car side rails, rock sliders, and outdoor adventure gear, contact us today or visit our showroom to talk to one of our experts.