If you’re new to 4×4 off-roading, you’re probably hearing a lot of new terms crop up and having them fly right over your head. “Rock sliders” is likely one of them. What are they? What are they used for? As the name suggests, they have something to do with rocks – though they don’t let you slide across them! We’ll explain what they’re for and if you need them for your 4×4. Also, there can be a bit of confusion between rock sliders and similar bars you fit on to your 4×4, which we’ll clear up here.
Rock sliders defined
4×4 rock sliders are a type of bar that attaches to the side of your chassis, intended to prevent damage from rocks and other sharp obstacles kicking up into your rocker panel and underside. It sits between the front and back wheels and serve as a pivot point when manoeuvring over obstacles. You can also use them as a step to climb back into your vehicle.
Pictured: Xrox Rock Slider
Why you need rock sliders
Rock sliders are essential for going off-road and protecting the body of your 4×4. Rock sliders will prevent rocks and logs from ripping out holes in your bodywork. Some sliders also have a kickout stand, that can help your vehicle over obstacles. As mentioned, rock sliders act as a pivot point around obstacles or tight turns. Well-built and attached sliders can also serve as attachment points for flipping you back on to your tyres after a rollover. Of course, you can also use them as a step for easy entry into your vehicle.
The difference between rock sliders and “nerf bars”
The main difference between rock sliders and nerf bars are that nerf bars are more decorative than useful. One can easily attach nerf bars as an extra step, but that’s about all they’ll do for your 4×4. A rock slider is made out of two types of steel – Hot Rolled Electric Resistance Welded (HREW) and Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM), two types of manufacturing processes. HREW is usually more economical than DOM, which roll-cages are made from. However, both are suitable for rock sliders, when it comes to protecting your 4×4.
Attaching rock sliders
The best attachment methods for rock sliders are either the weld-on or bolt-on methods. They need to be securely attached for the best use scenario and to support the weight of your 4×4. Belt-ons require drilling to the underside of your 4×4 for attachment – once they’re on, there’s no going back. Holes can let water in, and collect dust. You may need to unbolt your sliders every year or two to make sure there’s no build-up. Welding, as it suggests, welds the points directly on to the frame of your 4×4. Both achieve the same effect when it comes to effectiveness and toughness.
The right stuff for rock sliders
Rock sliders can come in three finishes, that being bare metal (which you may want to paint yourself), painted, usually black, and powdercoated. Powdercoating looks nicer but will become scratched and scraped due to the nature of rock sliders.
For more information on rock sliders, check out TJM’s range of rock sliders here.