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Are Rock Sliders necessary? | How thick should rock sliders be?

Are rock sliders really necessary? Rock sliders don’t need until you need them. If you are an off-roader things happen unpredictably.

If you don’t want to put dents on the base of your doors or rocker panels, rock sliders are necessary. Standard wall thickness for round tube rock sliders is 0.120 inches.

In this article we’ll take a look up on the importance of rock sliders and what are the rock slider options you can have if you are willing to mount them for your vehicle.



What is a rock slider ?

4×4 rock sliders are strong metal bars that attach to the sides of the chassis to prevent the vehicle’s body, rocker panels and underside from damages caused by rocks or other obstacles on the off-roading trails.

There are different types of rock sliders according to the manufacturing process. We’ll discuss later in this article.

Rock sliders can be mounted to the frame rails in two ways. Bolt on method or welding according to your preference.

Normally I prefer welding. But it’s not a problem of mounting with bolts.

There you have to drill the frame. If you mount using bolts check the bolting points frequently for mud or debris accumulation and rusting.

When mounting rock sliders, don’t mount them too tight to the rocker panels.

Keep enough distance because if the load of the vehicle  comes to them, they can deflect for some amount.

Because of that when mounting you have to keep that space between rocker panels and rock sliders.

Otherwise rocker panels may not protect. But keep in mind not to mount them far away from the panel.

It will make it difficult to enter and exit the vehicle at different points.



What are the purposes of rock sliders ?

As I mentioned earlier mainly they protect the vehicle body from damages caused by different obstacles in the trails.

Mainly the lower body panels, rocker panels and lower areas of doors are protected by rock sliders.

Rock crawlers get many help from rock sliders. They face situations that they need to put the weight of the vehicle onto rock sliders.

Without rock sliders it will end up with a huge damage to the body of the vehicle.

Apart from those things rock sliders are useful for manuring sharp turnings of long wheel base vehicles.

With pivoting around a rock using rock sliders can do this.

Next thing is rock sliders are useful as attachment points for snach straps or winch when a vehicle is got into an off camber. Or else  if the vehicle got into a roll over rock sliders sometimes useful as a pivot to roll back the vehicle.

Rock sliders can be used to lift the vehicle using a hi-lift jack to change a tire or recovering purpose.

Finally rock sliders can be used as a side step for climbing up for the off-roading jeep.



Different rock slider options

Mainly there are two types of materials that rock sliders are made as I mentioned previously.

Actually the manufacturing process is different in these two rock slider options, because of that their strengths are somewhat differ.

They are DOM (stands for Drawn over Mandrel) and HREW (stands for Hot Rolled Electric Resistance Welded).

The DOM is an one solid tube with a uniform thickness while HREW is basically a flat sheet that was made into a circle and welded, so the thickness isn’t always going to be uniform.

Here the DOM and HREW both start their manufacturing process in the same manner but the DOM goes an extra step further which is where it is Drawn over a Mandrel.

Because of that the structure get more strength from the places where it got weakened due to welding works.

So DOM is more stronger than HREW. But both of them works fine. Normally HREW is cheaper than DOM.

There are aluminum bars also. But they are not much strong and they do not work fine with rocks due to stickiness when faced to abrasions with rocks.

Only advantage is they are lighter than a steel rock slider. But normally the price is also higher than steel sliders.

DOM Rock sliders
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DOM Rock sliders


Those are the rock slider types according to the materials.



How thick should rock sliders be?

For a normal sized truck dimensions can be as below.


Round Tube – diameter will be 1.5″ – 2″ and industry standard for wall thickness is 0.120″.

This thickness is chosen considering  light weight, inexpensiveness and easy to bending ability.

For Square Tube – 1.5″ – 2″ for sides and wall thickness is ⅛”  –  1/16″



Finishing  of rock sliders

There are generally three ways of finishing. Bare metal, painted and powder coating.

Bare metal will remain without any paint or coating on it. painted ones have a basic color like black on it.

Powder coating finished sliders also have some manufactures.

But either of these are not much friendly with rock sliders if you get the real work from these sliders in your off-roading activities.

If you have a painted or powder coated rock slider and you do sliding over rocks and other obstacles with these sliders those coatings will scratch.

So you have to do touch ups. But you can do paint touch ups by your own at home if you want. Powder coatings can’t do that.

Because of that if you are just wheeling on mud or sand powder coated one will be fine for you. Rock sliding will not work fine with them.



Are rock sliders and nerf bars the same ?

No nerf bars are not much strong like rock sliders. They just made for the weight of a man when using it as a step.

It can’t bear the weight of the vehicle. Next thing is it mounted on to the body of the vehicle normally existing holes with bolts.

Not for the frame rails of the vehicle like rock sliders. Some owners add nerf bars for the good looking of their trucks.

Nerf bars are cheaper than rock sliders and they are made of low quality materials than materials that made rock sliders.



Conclusion

Now I have been told why rock sliders are necessary for an off-roading truck and what are the rock slider options you have if you want rock sliders for your vehicle.

So the necessity of a rock slider may depend on things you are doing with your off-roading jeep.

But if you are going off-roading I think this will be a good insurance for your vehicle rather than making dents and scratches on your rocker panels and base of doors.

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Have fun and safe off-roading !!  

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