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What Are Off-Road Rock Sliders?

What Are Off-Road Rock Sliders?

No matter how careful you are while off-roading, accidents can happen. Rock sliders can help minimize damages to your vehicle when those accidents occur. If you’re planning to do any serious off-roading, you’ll want a quality set of these sliders. Luckily, there are plenty of options to consider and most people can install them independently.

Curious about off-road rock sliders and if you need them? Read on to learn more!

What Are Off-Road Rock Sliders?

Rock sliders are an accessory often used on vehicles that will go on off-road adventures. These bars run along the underside of a vehicle between the wheel wells. They help protect it when navigating low clearances, especially on rocky and jagged terrains. They should be capable of holding the entire weight of a vehicle.

DIY Rock Slider
You can install manufactured rock sliders or build your own DIY versions.

What Do Rock Sliders Do?

Rock sliders protect your off-roading vehicle from expensive damages. While navigating rocks and other uneven surfaces, it’s common to bump or ding the underside of your vehicle on occasion. Body damage at the bottom edge of the doors is very common. Without these sliders to absorb the blow and hold the weight of your vehicle, you would otherwise be looking at an expensive repair and damage that may prevent doors from operating properly. 

If you’re planning to do tactical off-roading, a quality set of these sliders is essential to avoid damaging your vehicle. They can often pay for themselves if they help you avoid a single incident or damage to your vehicle.

Close up of muddy RAM 5500
In addition to acting as a step running board, a slider like this is designed to take the weight of the vehicle and prevent a rock from damaging the body on the edge of the vehicle.

Can You Use Rock Sliders as Steps?

Rock sliders not only protect your vehicle but also are useful as steps. Getting in and out of an off-roading vehicle isn’t always easy. So, stepping up onto the rock slider to help hoist yourself into it can be extremely helpful, especially for those who didn’t get blessed in the height department.

Using your rock sliders as steps is also helpful when getting out of your vehicle. They give you something to step onto to help safely lower yourself and can help you avoid a painful fall to the ground from trying to jump down out of the vehicle.

Pro Tip: Need help getting in and out of your vehicle? Check out these 7 Best Running Boards for Trucks that will make your life easier!

Truck with rock sliders traveling off road
Go off the beaten path safely by attaching rock sliders onto your truck, Jeep, or SUV.

How Do Rock Sliders Attach?

When attaching rock sliders to a vehicle, they’ll need to be connected to the frame. This process usually involves using U-bolts through the frame to connect to tabs on the sliders or welding them directly to the vehicle’s frame. Welding your rock sliders to the frame provides the strongest results, but that also means not being able to adjust them.

Luckily, some manufacturers are making a variety of fantastic bolt-on options. Even if you only have minimal experience with DIY projects, installing a set of bolt-on rock sliders is relatively simple. If you have a handful of basic tools and can crawl around on the ground under your vehicle, you can likely install them yourself. You may need an extra set of hands or jack stands to help hold things when securing them to the vehicle. However, it’s a quick project you can bang out in a couple of hours.

DIY Rock Sliders on Jeep Cherokee
Installing rock sliders onto your vehicle is an easy DIY.

What Do Rock Sliders Weigh?

Any rock sliders worth buying will be at least 50 pounds each. These are often double the weight of traditional steps you see on many taller vehicles. If you’re worried about weight, you’ll want to consider that you’ll be adding at least 50 to 75 pounds of extra weight by adding these sliders.

However, those extra pounds make a difference when protecting the underside of your vehicle. Standard steps or nerf bars will not be sufficient to help you avoid damage. If you find yourself needing these sliders but are using steps, you will likely damage them and the underside of your vehicle. They’re worth sacrificing a bit of weight.

Pro Tip: Want to go on the path less traveled? Make sure you carry these 8 Critical Recovery Gear You Must Have Off-Road and Overlanding.

Off-Roading Jeep
When on an off-roading adventure, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging your vehicle.

What Are They Made Of?

Rock slider manufacturers typically use steel tubing, typically SAE 1020 mild carbon steel. Hot Rolled Electric Resistance Welded (HREW) and Drawn Over Mandrel (DOM) tubings are the most common materials used in construction. They’re extremely durable and provide more resistance to dents and gouges than lighter aluminum options.

DOM is the strongest option but also the most expensive of the two. No matter your choice, you want to ensure the rock sliders will get the job done. If they’re capable, you’re wasting your money.

Building Your First Rock Sliders Full DIY. Ultimate Toyota Tacoma Build Episode 2

Are Rock Sliders Worth It?

A few bumps and scratches are relatively common in any off-roading vehicle. However, rock sliders help protect the underside of your vehicle from serious damage that can derail your off-roading adventures. If you plan to push your vehicle to its off-roading limits, there’s no doubt that these sliders are worth it. They can quickly pay for themselves if they help you avoid a single damage incident. However, these sliders aren’t worth the investment if you don’t plan to push the limits of your vehicle or your driving skills. 

Do you see yourself investing in off-road rock sliders? If you have them, what’s been your experience? Tell us in the comments!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
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