Why You Need Additional Protection
If you’re off-roading, you know that most obstacles are beneath you. It makes sense to add on aftermarket bumpers or grille guards. It’s a different story for the sides. What may happen may be considered redundant because you can always avoid the obstacles, right? The facts are that collisions with trees and large rocks are pretty much inevitable. Even as a good driver, it’s a good idea to add protection all around because there really is no telling what can happen.
Where to Add Protection
What areas can be protected on your Tacoma? With the appropriate setup, the entire truck can be armored from front to rear. The level of protection is entirely up to you. It can be done with some minor protection underneath or set up like a full on knight ready for battle.
As you crawl up and over stumps and stones, the rocker panels come dangerously close to obstacles that can beat them into a crumpled beer can. Rocker rails, also known as rock sliders, add protection to the lower sides of the trucks. The idea is that when something comes up to the bottom of the truck, the rails allow the truck to slide safely over the top rather than crumbling the rockers to bits.
Rocker Guard Plates
Rocker rails and rocker guard plates both work to protect the rocker panels but in totally different manners. Rocker guard plates are great for keeping things like sticks and rocks from scratching up the paint underneath. Sure, this is great for keeping the factory paint job intact, but underneath paint is bare metal. And without any paint, there’s a high risk of corrosion.
The quarter panels take a considerable amount of abuse, and it seems like very little can be done to protect them. While no particular piece is designed to keep the whole rocker panels protected, there is still an option. Tubular rear bumpers can be designed to wrap around the rear of the truck to keep the lower quarter panels intact. The lower panels are protected from the factory, but these tubular bars will keep trees and other large obstacles from colliding with the entire quarter in the right situation.
When the Tacoma is crawling under rocks, the undercarriage is in just as much danger as the rocker panels. The skid plates keep mechanical parts safe, but also make it easier for the Tacoma to slide across the top of obstacles without getting snagged on the moving parts. The skid plates arrive in either case hardened steel or aluminum. Aluminum is lighter, of course, but costs more.
Aluminum Skid Plates:
Steel Skid Plates:
The differential is the lowest hanging part of the undercarriage of a Tacoma, even when lifted. The differential can easily come into contact with sharp rocks that can tear into the cover with ease. If the diff cover splits and loses all of its fluids, you can quickly run into a bad situation - and fast. Beefier diff covers are a no-brainer for off-roading and can have benefits of not only protecting the internals but keeping the fluid within cooler.
The lights on a Tacoma are easily the most vulnerable parts of the entire truck. This isn’t because of the location of the lights; it’s because of the materials they are made of. The plastic may be on the durable side, but will perish in the hands of a log or rock in a moment’s notice. To keep the housings from busting, light guards can be added to the outside. It’s a simple idea, but it is effective.
Grill guards are designed to wrap up around the front end of the truck and keep the grille and lights safe from debris, trees, and other brush that could otherwise damage the truck. These units are lightweight and easy to install. Again it’s a simple design but very effective when put to use.
Heavy Duty Bumpers
Heavy duty bumpers are a great line of defense when armor is needed. They keep the front and rear end safe from collisions and can be fitted with additional defenses for the truck. As mentioned earlier, the rear bumper can wrap around to keep the quarters safe, but the front can feature built in bull bars or grille guards that are anchored securely to the heavy-duty bumper. This is significantly sturdier than traditionally mounted grille guards and bull bars.
Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro