If you are going to be spending your time on rocks or in ruts, you need a pair of rock sliders. Rock sliders are installed to protect your vehicle from debris and provide support as a handy pivot point whenever you need to get around or over an obstacle. In some cases, they can also serve as a step and provide extra support for getting in and out of your 4×4. That being said, let’s go over the different types of materials, finishes and installing methods.
Why Should You Get Rock Sliders?
Some people don’t drive their rig as often and some just cant seem to get enough. I feel like my perception of off-road driving changed significantly after installing a slider and I’d recommend this addition to any avid adventurer. There is huge range of driving styles and also different acceptance levels of damage once you have these helpers installed. Assuming you don’t want things to just look good, sliders can provide a few uses on the trail besides the obvious one – body protection.
1. Kick out – You can find sliders that have a kicker which is a little bump at the back end of the slider. They are put in place to push your rig over and away from any obstacle and provide additional support to your rear tire.
2. Pivot point – Ever since installing my fj cruiser rock sliders I’ve been wanting to test this out. Basically, your slider can act as a pivot point for your vehicle which can you to do some pretty fun driving. I personally love the leverage they provide when going over obstacles.
Rock Slider Materials
Most rock sliders are made from HREW or DOM steel tubing. My fj cruiser rock sliders are DOM steel, and based on the type of torture I put them through, I would say they are an excellent build. HREW and DOM both refer to a process. For example, in the specification section of your manual you will see “made from 1020 DOM” which tells you about the material process. DOM stands for (drawn over mandrel) whereas HREW means (hot rolled electric resistance welded). The latter is the more economical alternative of the two and it’s used in lots of fabricated parts for 4x4s, although it’s not preferable for roll cages. DOM is stronger, but also the more expensive option. Both of these materials are great for rock sliders, however the DOM steel is more resistant to dents.
Rock Slider Finishes
There are a few different options available for your sliders’ finish and the thing to keep in mind is if you wheel your truck hard, coating doesn’t matter. There is no coating in the world that can be saved from repeated abuse on rocks.
Here are three types of finishes you can get from your manufacturer:
Bare metal – This is the cheapest option but also offers the most regarding customizability cause you can do a custom paint job.
Painted – Usually black, simply because it looks great and doesn’t reveal the damaged spots.
Powder coated – This is by far the best finish appearance wise, but while it looks great it can easily chip after being kissed by a few rocks, so I would say go for it if you are not planing your vehicle to undergo too much abuse