Journeying off the beaten track is one of Australians’ favourite pastime activities, and the number of 4×4 across Australia are proof of that. One 4×4 that’s head and shoulders above everyone else is the Toyota HiLux. The HiLux is an incredibly reliable and durable vehicle that can perform amazingly well both on and off the road. If you’re a HiLux owner who wants to explore the Australian wilderness, then it’s important that you properly equip your HiLux for the task in order to get the most out of the experience.
Getting a bull bar is an absolute must have, but most people already know that. Getting side steps, however, doesn’t come across most people’s mind, but it very much should be a top priority. Why? Well, HiLux side steps and rails protect your rocker panels from stumps and rocks, and they make a handy pivot point. Moreover, they can serve as steps, and they offer a stabiliser and recovery point in case you roll over.
But knowing the benefits of HiLux side steps and rails only reassures you that you actually need them – it doesn’t help you decide which ones are right for you. But worry not – I got you! The most important factor to consider when buying side steps, in order to get the most value out of them, is the materials they’re made from. Everything else, more or less, will depend on personal preference.
The most popular materials that side steps and rails are manufactured from are aluminium and steel. Steel is strong, relatively cheap, and widely available. Aluminium, on the other hand, is tough, more lightweight, but typically more expensive as well. That being said, if you’re putting the rock sliders through a lot of abuse, you might be better off with steel. Otherwise, aluminium is just as acceptable.
Next, you need to consider the attachment method. The most frequently used methods are bolting or welding the sliders to the frame. Bolting them onto your frame will require some drilling, unless your vehicle features bolt holes. Welding them, on the other hand, will require that you have some welding experience.
Regardless of how you attach them, you need to consider whether they interfere with any other parts of your vehicle. Most manufacturers, including Toyota, build their vehicles so that most protective parts can integrate without interfering with each other. However, there are times where the rock sliders and rail can mate up with rear or front fender protectors, or the internal and external roll cages. That being said, make sure the rock sliders you’re buying don’t actually get in the way of other parts.