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  • Tacoma Rock Sliders - Necessary Protection for the Trail Ahead

    by Ryan Horton May 03, 2024 8 min read

    Tacoma Rock Sliders

    In the world of off-roading, Tacoma rock sliders are a must-have defense that for some reason is often overlooked. This guide demystifies the selection process, focusing on rock slider features that shield your Tacoma and enhance trail performance. Find out about materials, designs, and top choices that protect your investment without compromising its aesthetics or utility. Prepare to equip your Tacoma not just for any path, but for your path.

    Key Takeaways

    • Rock sliders are essential for off-road protection, serving as a shield for the rocker panels of a Toyota Tacoma, providing a stable stepping point, and can also act as a point for a jack.
    • When choosing Tacoma rock sliders, consider materials like mild steel or DOM tubing, connection points to the frame, weight, top plates for added strength, angle for protection and design preference, and finish options to prevent rust.
    • Popular brands for Tacoma rock sliders include C4 Fabrication, RCI Offroad, Westcott Designs, CBI Offroad, and Rock Slide Engineering, each offering unique features such as removable step plates, customization in design, and no-drill, bolt-on installation.

    Understanding Tacoma Rock Sliders and Their Importance

    Tacoma rock sliders serve a dual purpose for your Toyota Tacoma. They shield the rocker panels on your truck and function as a secure stepping point for climbing in and out of your truck. In addition, they double up as a jacking point, eliminating the need to lug around a large jack. This is especially beneficial if your Tacoma has larger tires, where the OEM jack might not be an option.

    Tacoma rock sliders come in a variety of configurations, each using different materials. This diversity allows you to select the most suitable style based on your specific use case.

    But what materials are these sliders made of, and what are the key features to look out for when choosing your Tacoma rock sliders? Let’s explore.

    Key Features to Look for in Tacoma Rock Sliders

    When it comes to Tacoma rock sliders, customization is key. Most manufacturers allow you to choose from a range of options, including angles (usually between 0 and 20 degrees), top plates, finish options (powder coat, bed liner, etc.), material (HREW or DOM), and welding process (MIG or TIG).

    Understanding these options is crucial as certain ones may complement your needs better than others.

    Let's take a deeper dive into these options to make sure you have everything you need prior to making a decision.

    Material and Tubing

    Tacoma rock sliders typically come in mild steel (HREW - hot rolled electric welded) or DOM (drawn over mandrel) tubing. But what’s the difference?

    DOM tubing is a superior material for rock sliders as it boasts a higher impact resistance rating and is generally stronger.

    When it comes to the shape of the tubing, brands differ. Some use entirely round tubing, while others incorporate a combination of round and square tubing. There isn’t a “better” option per se; the choice boils down to design preference.

    Some sliders also offer optional top plates. These plates, mounted on top of the rock sliders, can add strength and provide a secure step.

    Weight and Support

    Weight is an important consideration when choosing Tacoma rock sliders. The weight can vary significantly based on the material used. As a Tacoma owner, you’re likely concerned about weight. It’s crucial to understand the tradeoff between design and weight. For instance, adding top plates to rock sliders will increase the overall weight, but if you value the added strength and secure step they provide, the added weight might be worth it.

    The number of connection points to the frame is another key consideration. Some rock sliders offer more connection points than others, which should theoretically increase the strength. However, keep in mind that extra connection points will add weight.

    Angle and Finish

    The angle of your Tacoma rock sliders can be customized, with a 0-degree slider being flat and a 15 or 20-degree option allowing the slider to hug the Tacoma. Angled sliders provide additional protection, while flat or 0-degree sliders are better suited as steps.

    Some sliders offer the option of “kick-outs,” where the rear portion of the slider sticks out more than the front of the slider. This design helps deflect rocks and allows your double cab Tacoma to navigate obstacles more efficiently.

    As for the finish, it is crucial to coat the sliders to prevent rust and corrosion. Some manufacturers offer powder coat options, but you also have the ability to order the slider with a bare finish allowing you to customize the color of the sliders as desired.

    Top Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Now that we’ve explored the key features of Tacoma rock sliders, let’s dive into some of the top sliders on the market. While there isn’t a single best Tacoma rock slider, the options we will explore come from reputable brands and are crafted from high-quality materials. Each offers unique features and nuances that might suit your specific needs better.

    Truck Brigade is a leading dealer of Tacoma rock sliders and has hands-on experience with nearly every Tacoma rock slider.

    C4 Fabrication Tacoma Rock Sliders

    C4 Fabrication has made a name for itself with its quality Toyota bumpers, and its Tacoma rock sliders are no exception. Constructed out of DOM outer tubing with a 3x2 inch rectangle tube for the main slider rail, these sliders are built to last.

    One standout feature is the removable step plates that come standard. These can be easily installed or removed as needed, offering flexibility in use. Each slider weighs 75 lbs. and the 100% bolt-on design requires no drilling or vehicle modifications for installation.

    C4 Tacoma Rock Sliders

    However, note that C4 Tacoma sliders are not available with a powder coat finish. They ship with a bare finish and will need to be coated.

    RCI Offroad Tacoma Rock Sliders

    RCI Offroad is a U.S.-based company known for its industry-leading skid plates, bed racks, and rock sliders. Their Tacoma rock sliders offer extreme customization, enabling you to choose a top tread plate, finish, and angle for your cab long bed truck.

    Construction-wise, the sliders feature a 2-inch square main tube with 1.75-inch DOM outer rails, reinforced with heavy-duty 1/4-inch thick gussets on all four legs. A 3/16-inch steel, laser-cut frame plate with a four-leg design is also included.

    At just around 60 lbs. each with a bolt-on no-drill installation, the RCI Tacoma sliders are an impressive option and something that should be considered.

    RCI Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Westcott Designs Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Westcott Designs takes customization to a new level, offering the most options when it comes to Tacoma rock sliders. They are the only manufacturer that offers TIG welded sliders and they also offer numerous other customization options such as different material choices (HREW and DOM), angle options, top plate options, and finish options.

    These options enable you to order the Westcott sliders to fit your exact needs. One unique feature is the ability to order them with a clear powder coat, a great choice for those who appreciate the artistry of TIG welded sliders.

    Westcott Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Cali Raised Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Cali Raised is another quality name when it comes to Tacoma parts and accessories. Their step edition and trail edition Tacoma rock sliders certainly impress and have a minimal lead time if any at all.

    In terms of construction, Cali Raised offers their Step Edition and Trail Edition with 1.75-inch DOM tubing and both come standard with grade 8 hardware. In addition, Cali Raised uses 3/16 inch steel for the frame place.

    The Cali Raised Step Edition rock sliders for the Tacoma come with an added top plate (referred to by them as a filler plate) that can be coated separately from the sliders themselves. This is an important distinction because Cali Raised is the only company that offers a bed liner coating which is a highly sought-after coating for the top plates since it provides grip.

    The Trail Series Tacoma rock sliders from Cali Raised are constructed out of the same materials but do not come with the top filler plate. That feature is unique to the Step Series sliders.

    Regardless of what variation you go with, both options feature an easy bolt-on design and will get your Tacoma trail ready in no time.

    Cali Raised Tacoma Rock Sliders

    CBI Offroad Tacoma Rock Sliders

    CBI Offroad offers three variations of Tacoma rock sliders:

    1. Overland Series: Comes with a top plate, choice of tubing (HREW and DOM), optional kick-out, and choice of black powder coat.

    2. Trail Series: Choice of tubing (HREW and DOM), optional kick-out, and choice of black powder coat.

    3. Classic Series: Choice of tubing (HREW and DOM) and choice of black powder coat.

    Each of the CBI rock slider variations features a bolt-on design and will provide your Tacoma with the protection you desire.

    CBI Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Rock Slide Engineering Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Rock Slide Engineering’s Toyota Tacoma rock sliders stand out with their unique plate construction, built from a 3/16 inch plate instead of tubing. The sliders come with a textured black powder coat, offering a no-drill, bolt-on design for easy installation.

    No vehicle modifications are required, making these sliders a great option for those seeking simplicity.

    Rock Slide Engineering Tacoma Rock Sliders

    Installation Process and Tips

    Installation of Tacoma rock sliders is typically a straightforward process. Most are designed for easy installation, requiring no drilling and utilizing existing factory mounting points on the vehicle’s frame. The installation process typically involves the following steps:

    1. Remove the OEM steps.

    2. Place the sliders on two floor jacks and align them with the factory holes, while setting out the provided hardware.
    3. Secure the sliders to the vehicle’s frame using the provided hardware, making sure to tighten all bolts securely.

    Following these steps will ensure a proper installation of Tacoma rock sliders.

    Ensure you have any lines (fuel lines, electrical, etc.) moved out of the way as they can interfere with the installation. Once you’ve verified the accessibility of all factory holes, moved any obstructions, and aligned the sliders, it’s useful to have someone help you install the slider mounting plate against the frame and start inserting the provided hardware. Once you have a few of the primary bolts in the rest can be completed by yourself.

    Repeat the process for the other side, and you are ready to go.


    Tacoma rock sliders are a versatile accessory that not only protects your Tacoma but also enhances its off-road capabilities. Their key features, such as the material and tubing, weight and support, angle, and finish, allow for a high degree of customization to suit your specific needs. Whether you choose sliders from C4 Fabrication, RCI Offroad, Westcott Designs, CBI Offroad, or Rock Slide Engineering, you can rest assured you’re investing in high-quality components from reputable brands. With some simple installation tips, you’ll be ready to hit the trails with confidence.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are Tacoma rock sliders, and why are they important?

    Tacoma rock sliders are important accessories that protect the rocker panels of your Tacoma, act as a secure stepping point, and can also serve as a jacking point, especially if your truck has larger tires. These help in maintaining the condition of your vehicle and provide additional functionality.

    What key features should I look for in Tacoma rock sliders?

    When choosing Tacoma rock sliders, important features to look for are the material and tubing, weight and support, and angle and finish, as they allow for customization to fit your specific requirements.

    What are some top Tacoma rock sliders on the market?

    Consider checking out rock sliders from C4 Fabrication, RCI Offroad, Westcott Designs, Cali Raised, CBI Offroad, and Rock Slide Engineering as these are considered top choices, each with unique features to suit different needs.

    How do I install Tacoma rock sliders?

    You can install Tacoma rock sliders by removing the OEM steps, aligning the sliders with the factory holes, and using the provided hardware. This process typically requires no drilling and utilizes existing mounting points on the vehicle's frame.

    Can I customize the finish on my Tacoma rock sliders?

    Yes, most manufacturers offer different finish options, including powder coat and bare finish for custom color customization.

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