Skip to main content
Edit PageControl Panel

12th December, 2020

Side Steps vs Rock Sliders


When off-road, we encounter terrain that can damage our vehicle's vital components and body panels. Bumpers will protect the front and rear and skid plates will protect the hidden components under your 4WD. But what about the side of your vehicle’s body? When exposed, it is extremely vulnerable to damage. If not addressed, damage can be so extreme that your door may no longer open or close. Adding side rails & steps for rocker protection is an investment that will help shield the rocker panel of your 4WD. With many options on the market, it can be difficult to choose the correct option for your needs.


Side steps come in many different forms for instance nerf bars, running boards, and protection steps. Although, most offer some protection, only a few will hold up on the trail. Nerf bars and running boards make getting in and out of your vehicle much easier. However, most are structured from thin-walled aluminum or plastic. There have been countless instances where I’ve seen them lying on the side of the trail because they didn’t hold up to the terrain. If you are doing any off-roading or overlanding, a side protection step is the best choice. They will act as a strong barrier between your vehicle and the obstacles encountered off-road, making your rocker panel far less likely to sustain damage.

ARB offers a line of protection steps that are constructed from a high grade steel that bolts directly to your vehicle’s frame. They also include a non-slip plate which makes it easier to get in and out of your vehicle. For additional protection, ARB has developed side rails that connect to your ARB protection steps and ARB front bumper. These protect your fenders on the trail. All of which are fully compatible with vehicle side air bags.


Rock sliders are the strongest option and are highly recommend for tactical off-roading. They protect the vehicle rocker panel from nasty trail terrain and are also designed to bear the weight of the entire vehicle while spreading the load. This is important when going over an obstacle that doesn’t have enough clearance for your tire to land on the ground. Instead, you land your rock slider onto the obstacle and use it slide along the trail until your tire gains traction.

Rock sliders are offered in either frame or body mounted options. It is important to choose a rock slider from a reputable manufacturer like ARB to ensure you receive a quality product that will hold up on the trail. ARB offers rock sliders for certain vehicles such as the Jeep JL and Jeep Gladiator, they’re designed to mount to both the body and body mounts which provides maximum strength. The ARB rock sliders feature a functional step which also provides additional protection to your body by acting as a barrier.