The Guide to Choosing Rock Sliders and Rocker Guards

Did you know that there were an estimated 1.8 vehicles available per U.S. household in 2016?

Driving is one of the easiest forms of getting around, especially in America, where there are a lot of remote areas that don’t have reliable public transport. However, if you’re planning on driving in more rural or remote areas, you might be wary of the terrain and the damage it can do to your car.

Keep reading to discover how to protect your vehicle and how to choose the right rock sliders and rocker guards.

What’s the Difference Between a Rock Slider and a Rocker Guard?

4×4 vehicles are great for off-roading, however, the rough terrain can damage your vehicle. For example, if you’re driving on a rocky road then loose rocks may bounce up and hit your vehicle.

Rock sliders and rocker guards are designed to protect your vehicle from rocks and stumps. They also can provide a pivot point when you’re going around obstacles.

Rock sliders are generally attached to the frame of your vehicle and stick out from the body of it. They use thick materials to ensure that your vehicle is protected. A rock slider helps to keep your vehicle away from anything that could smash into the rocker panel.

While rocker guards are designed to help nullify the impact of anything should it come into contact with your vehicle. Rocker guards run along the bottom side of your vehicle, offering support to your car’s underbody and doors.

Find out what are rock sliders, what are nerf bars, and which ones you need for your Tacoma.

How to Choose the Right Rock Sliders and Rocker Guards

Every car is different and has different requirements when it comes to rock sliders, rock rails, and rocker guards. However, there are several things you need to consider when choosing the best rock sliders and rocker guards for your vehicle.

For example, you need to think about

  • the protection it offers your vehicle
  • the material thickness and durability
  • other features it offers such as a functional step
  • and how easy it is to install.


When researching different rock sliders and rocker guards, the number one thing to think about is the protection it offers your vehicle. The best slider materials for hard use (i.e. the best protection for your vehicle) is 1020 DOM steel and 1020 HREW steel.

Most sliders and guards are built with DOM or HREW steel tubing, which helps to ensure your vehicle has the utmost protection.

DOM, or Drawn Over Mandrel, steel is stronger but more expensive than HREW. DOM is ideal for particularly heavy use and for preventing denting in your vehicle.

HREW, or Hot Rolled Electric Resistance Welded, steel is used in a lot of fabricated 4×4 parts and it plays a vital role in protecting your car.

Alternatively, you might want to get aluminum rock sliders as these are lighter. It is a more expensive option than steel due to how it is welded. Despite their lighter load, aluminum sliders aren’t as strong as steel and won’t provide the best protection for your vehicle if you go off-road a lot.

Some manufacturers can create custom rock sliders, so if you want to reduce the weight you add to your car but still have the protection that steel provides then this might be an option for you. However, this is the most costly option of the three.

Material Thickness

The material of a slider is made to resist bending, denting, and splitting at the tube weld seam. So, the thicker the material is the better it will resist bending or denting.

Considering the thickness of your rock slider or rocker guards material is important. Manufacturers typically produce specific tubes that cater to your needs.

Round tubing is usually 0.120″ thick, this is often cheapest. However, it comes at the cost of being lighter and easier to bend.

Square tubing come in 1/8″-3/16″, although you can get truck sporting 1/4″ sliders too. If you want to reduce the weight, then it’s best to go for 1/8″ or 3/16″.

Panel or boat-side sliders that are designed to cover rocker panels should be 3/16″ thick. 3/16″ means that they are well-built and can often be braced along the length with a piece of tubing.

Additional Features

Rock sliders are great for protecting your vehicle, but some also come with additional features. For example, you might want to find one that offers a step up and down from your vehicle. If your vehicle gets stuck in the mud and you need to get out, these steps can be very handy to avoid big muddy puddles.

Rock sliders can also give your vehicle a visual upgrade. There’s also a range of different finishes available. So, if you want your rock slider to suit your car then you might want to think about how it will look when it is attached to it.


Finally, when choosing the right rock slider or rocker guard, you want to find something that is easy to install. Alternatively, you want to find one that can easily be installed by a professional in your area.

Some rock sliders can be installed by you at home, so if you want to cut costs then think about finding one that you can install.

Whilst heavier duty rock sliders and rocker guards might require an expert to install them. This is especially the case if they need to be welded onto your vehicle. Make sure you read the information before purchasing, so you know how to install them.

Find Your Ideal Rock Sliders Now

Choosing the right rock slider and rocker guards for your vehicle can be a great investment and save you a lot of money in the long run. So, if you’re frequently exploring the great outdoors and need to install something to protect your car, follow our guide on how to choose your ideal rock sliders and rocker guards.

If you’ve enjoyed learning about rock sliders then why not check out some of our other blogs. We have a whole range of automobile tips and tricks to help you learn more about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and automotive accessories.

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