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Bronco Rock Slider & Side Step Bronco Rock Slider & Side Step

The Differences Between Rock Sliders & Side Steps

A good 4X4 vehicle is an investment, and as with all investments, you have to protect it. And whether you're an off-road warrior or a city slicker who occasionally ventures into the wilderness on weekends and holidays, your 4WD needs protection on all sides.

A good off-road build starts with a lift accompanied by larger tires and suitable wheels. Next steps usually involve new front & rear bumpers, followed by skid plates & guards. These non-negotiable protective features ensure that the front, back, and vehicle undercarriage are protected on the trail. While these upgrades are straightforward, there does seem to be some confusion regarding how to protect the sides of your vehicle. Are side-steps just as good as rock sliders in protecting the body sides from damage?

While both are great investments and serve essential purposes, the differences in their function are important to note. So let's take a closer look at them.

Off-Road Bronco Protection
Our MTO Front Bumper, Bronco Skid Plate, and Lower Control Arm Skid Plate took some hits here in Moab. They did their job protecting our Bronco!

What are Side Steps?

Side steps are designed primarily to act as a step to help you get in and out of your 4X4. Some vehicles sit exceptionally high, and these steps are handy when entering or exiting the vehicle. The steps are most often attached to the pinch weld of the body, and are available as optional extras, come factory-fitted, or are purchased from aftermarket parts companies.

Notably, side steps are not in any way, shape or form designed to offer protection to the side of your vehicle. They also cannot support the weight of your vehicle and, as such, offer no function in rocky terrain where you often don't have enough ground clearance and need to rely on side protection.

Side steps usually come in either steel or an aluminum. While the steel types are more robust than the alloys, they still don't offer enough protection for serious off-roading.

Bronco Side Steps
Our OE Plus Series Bronco Side Steps.

Side steps have the following features:

  • Mounts to the pinch weld of the body
  • The ability to withstand human weight
  • Provides both style and function
  • Often made from alloys or lower strength steel
  • Hi-Lift jacks cannot be used on a side step

What are Rock Sliders?

Rock sliders are built to protect the side of your vehicle from any trail obstacle. More specifically, they allow you to slide on the side edges of your vehicle over rocks when you don't have enough ground clearance. Since they support the weight of the vehicle from the underside, they need to be sturdy and mounted directly to the frame of your vehicle.

Even when one understands the differences, the main question people have is: "do I need rock sliders?" The answer to that question is simple: If you're planning to do some serious off-roading on extreme terrain, you should invest in rock sliders.

Ford Bronco Rock Sliders in Action
Our trail buddy Hal pointing out where to use our rock sliders as a pivot point on the Cliff Hanger Trail in Moab during 2022 Easter Jeep Safari.

Rock sliders have the following features:

  • Mounts directly to the frame
  • Twin-tube design with interconnection between the tubes
  • Extremely strong and capable of protecting your vehicle and taking its total weight if need be
  • Made of high-density and high-strength steel
  • Hi-Lift jacks can be used in conjunction with rock sliders

Get Your 2021+ Ford Bronco Side Steps or Rock Sliders Today!

DV8 Offroad, your one-stop-shop for everything off-road, has recently released Ford Bronco side steps and rock sliders. Now that you understand the differences, you'll be able to decide which one to get for your Bronco! But first, let's take a closer look.


Current Price: $799.99
Key Features:

  • 2mm Tube & 3mm Plate High Strength Steel
  • Micro-Texture Black Powder Coat Finish
  • Engineered for all 4-Door Bronco Trims
  • Easy Installation Using Provided Hardware

Find out more about the side steps HERE.

Bronco Side Steps


Current Price: $999.99
Key Features:

  • 3mm Tube & 5mm Plate High Strength Steel
  • Micro-Texture Black Powder Coat Finish
  • Engineered for all 4-Door Bronco Trims
  • Easy Installation Using Factory Hardware
  • Provides Unparalleled Protection While Rock Crawling

Find out more about the rock sliders HERE.

Bronco Rock Sliders

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