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Rock Sliders & Rocker Guards Explained

Written By: Louis Orellana

Shop Jeep Wrangler Rock sliders & Rocker Guards

Rock sliders and rocker guards provide excellent protection for your Jeep. With these simple additions, you can keep your rock crawler protected on the trail while also improving you rides overall appearance.

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The bottom side of a Jeep Wrangler is often an exposed and vulnerable area if you plan on doing any type of off-roading. In addition, visually this area of the Jeep is where the body meets the frame and is held in place partly with a pinch seam, which isn’t visually appealing. Some Jeeps come equipped with plastic side steps or slim steel rails that hide or protect the pinch seam from very light trail use. In this information guide we’ll discuss adding or upgrading your Jeep with rock sliders and rocker guards. We’ll also discuss the differences between each and who should be in the market for these types of modifications.

Jeep Rock Sliders

Typically Jeep rock sliders are constructed from heavy gauged steel. They are designed to withstand the impact from hard rocky terrain and allow your Jeep to deflect or slide off the obstacle. They are relatively easy to install and generally don’t require any permanent modification to your Jeep. They are a great replacement for factory plastic side steps or a nice addition to your Jeep if you don’t have side steps.

 

 

How are Rock Sliders Different than Side Steps?

Most Sahara and limited edition Wranglers come equipped with side steps. You can also purchase aftermarket running boards or side steps. These steps are generally made of plastic and aluminum. They offer a good platform to get in and out of the Jeep, but do very little in terms of protection from large rocks or other hard surfaces. In addition, the side steps cover the Jeep’s pinch seam and give it a nice finished look, but are attached along the pinch seam through thin aluminum brackets that are designed to support just the weight of occupants getting in and out of the Jeep. Rock sliders also provide a nice platform to get in and out of the Jeep and cover the pinch seam, but they differ in construction and attachment points. Typically, rock sliders are constructed from heavy-gauged steel tubing that is finished in a corrosion resistant black powder coat finish, making them incredibly durable and capable of deflect or sliding off extremely hard surfaces, such as rocks or tree trunks. In addition, rock sliders are typically attached to the Jeep’s body mounts that run along the frame, providing a tremendous amount of support that can sustain the weight of the jeep if it come in contacts with a large boulder. 

Who Should Buy Rock Sliders?

If you’re a Jeep owner who has a Jeep that didn’t come equipped with side steps, then rock sliders offer a great, easy to install, visual upgrade that covers the exposed pinch seam, giving the Jeep a nice finished look. Rock sliders also offer a more rugged look than plastic side steps, providing a textured powder coat finish that complements the factory fender flares. Rock sliders can also be utilized as a great solid step to get in and out of the Jeep and due to the attachment points, can withstand a larger weight capacity. The main advantage of rock sliders however is their off-road protection. If you plan on taking your Jeep off-road through rocky terrain, or a wooded area where you might encounter tree stumps, then rock sliders are an essential modification to have on your Jeep. There are a large variety to choose from, differing in style, construction, attachment points and price. Even if you’re in the market for side steps, rock sliders offer a better solution, while also providing the same level of function.

Jeep Rocker Guards

The Jeep’s rocker panel runs along the bottom side of the Jeep. They offer a solid support beam for the Jeep’s underbody and doors. Due to their location, rocker panels often come in contact with hard obstacles while on the trail. In addition, the door sills also suffer damage from simply getting in and out of the Jeep in muddy or snowy terrain. 

What are Rocker Guards Constructed From and How do They Work?

Rocker guards are generally constructed from steel plates that are precisely cut to the contours of the Jeep. They are often attached to the Jeep’s rocker panel through nutserts, which require drilling holes into the side of the Jeep, making this a semi-permanent modification. They are typically finished in a textured high-quality black powder coat finish and often come attached or are integrated with rock rails, to provide a substantial amount of protection to the lower side of the Jeep. While rock rails are designed to deflect impacts from the bottom of the Jeep, rocker guards are designed to absorb lower side impacts, this is often seen on the trail through large branches from trees or rocks. In addition, rocker guards serve as a protective plate for the door sills, maintaining the overall contour and structure of the door opening while occupants get in an out with muddy boots.

Who Should Buy Rocker Guards?

Rocker guards come in a large variety of styles. They offer a nice noticeable visual upgrade to the side of your Jeep, that gives it a very rugged overall look. They are designed to work with factory fender flares, but also look great with aftermarket pocket or flat fender flares. In addition, rocker guards often have distinct designs that are specific to certain brands, giving your Jeep a distinct look. It’s important to note that rocker guards are secured into place via nutserts, which require drilling holes into your Jeep’s rocker panels. The guards are then held into place with the stainless-steel hardware, making the overall install a bit more complicated and semi-permanent. If you plan on doing an extensive amount of off-roading through rocky or wooded terrain, then rocker guards are a good investment to protect the structural integrity of your Jeep’s rocker panel. In addition, if you live in a colder/wet climate with an excessive amount of mud or snow, then rocker guards do a great job of protecting the Jeep’s exterior door sill from scratches or dents due to heavy boots. Finally, if you’re looking for a more rugged overall look for your Jeep, rocker guards provide a distinctly noticeable modification to the side of your Jeep. They can often be powder coated a different color for additional styling possibilities to fit your Jeep’s intended look. 

Fashion and Function

Rock sliders and rocker guards are often two modifications that are done at the same time to your Jeep. When combined, both elements offer a tremendous amount of protection to the lower side edges of your Jeep’s side rail and body. These are very important areas of your Jeep’s overall structure and often meet hard terrain while off-roading. If you’re looking for a more rugged distinct look for your Jeep or a functional layer of protection, both items are great additions. 

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