Jeep TJ rock sliders ensure that your 1997-2006 Wrangler will have the added protection it needs for tackling the toughest off-road trails.
For those looking to add extra protection to their Wrangler, Jeep TJ rock sliders are a good place to start. The bottom of the Wrangler is vulnerable to damage if you do any serious off-road driving – particularly from rocks.
Rock sliders are, for the most part, made of rugged steel and they can help your Wrangler handle an impact while rock crawling and deflect you over the rock rather than have the rock have its way with the underside of your vehicle.
The good news is the aftermarket has quite a few options when it comes to rock sliders. In this article we will look at some of the best options in the industry to add extra armor to your Jeep TJ.
Lead image by Ogletree Photography/Shutterstock.com
Table of contents
1. Editor's Choice: Smittybilt XRC Rock Slider Rocker Guards
Smittybilt is perhaps the biggest name in aftermarket Jeep accessories and its XRC rock slider rocker guards are a fitting addition to this list for those looking to turn their Wrangler into a rock crawler.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of these sliders is their 3/16” cold rolled steel plating construction. Smittybilt says the steel is formed by hand to the exact specifications of the Wrangler TJ to ensure a perfect fit every time.
The Smittybilt XRC Jeep TJ rock sliders are available with or without a side step, which might come in handy if you’ve got a lift it and some extra tall tires already equipped on your vehicle.
2. Best Basic Style: Smittybilt SRC Textured Black Classic Rock Rails
Another option from Smittybilt are its SRC textured black rock rails. Offering more rugged protection than side steps, feature a textured black surface designed to stand up to off-road abuse.
Another nice plus is that installation is simple. The bolt-on design that Smittybilt went with here ensures that nearly anyone will be able to securely install their new rock sliders with ease. Simply line up the rock rails with the TJ’s factory mounting points and secure the bolts in place.
Admittedly, Smittybilt’s offering isn’t the most attractive or innovative design out there. But what these rock rails lack in visual appeal is more than made up for in reliability and longevity.
Just a side note that’s worth mentioning; you may want to pick up some replacement washers before you begin with the installation. Some owners report that the washers that are included were too small for the job, so it’s worth having some extras on hand.
3. Best Tube Design: Rugged Ridge RRC Side Armor
Rugged Ridge is another major player in the Jeep Wrangler aftermarket accessories market and one product that stands out is the RRC side armor.
Featuring a dual tube design and frame mounting system, this is a heavy duty side tube bumper designed to take some serious abuse.
The bottom of the side armor drops down just above the lowest part of your Wrangler’s frame for greater ground clearance.
It is worth noting that some drilling is required for installation.
4. Barricade Extreme HD Rock Sliders
Another option for Jeep TJ rock sliders comes from Barricade and its Extreme HD series.
These rock sliders are made of 1.89” OD tubing and feature 0.12” plate steel at the steps and 0.2” steel at mounting locations. The tubing is covered in a textured black powder coat for added corrosion resistance.
Designed to provide both side and undercarriage protection, the Barricade Extreme HD rock sliders also double as a step to make getting into and out of your Wrangler easier.
As for installation, some drilling is required. However, the entire process should only take a few hours from start to finish and all hardware required for installation is included.
EAG Steel Rivet Armor Rocker Guard
If you’re looking for an affordable option that is well-made and offers protection, EAG’s Steel Rivet Armor rocker guard is worth checking out.
This kit has the looks and provides dependable performance, to boot. If you like to add character to your Wranger, these Jeep TJ rock sliders are a great addition, thanks to their unique appeal and attractive construction.
Features include 3/16” cold rolled sheet steel that benefits from a one-piece welded design for added strength. A textured black powder coat adds addition corrosion protection.
Additionally, an integrated side step makes getting into a lifted Wrangler much easier and it also doubles as side armor for additional protection.
EAG recommends professional installation, though all instructions and hardware are included. Some drilling may be required.
Tyger Auto Star Armor Kit
Tyger Auto’s Star Armor nerf bars are a good fit for your ride if you’re looking for a lightweight alternative to heavy-duty Jeep TJ rock sliders. As such, this kit is rated to provide a capacity of 500 pounds on each side.
Perfect for rocky trails, you’ll have the protection you need to keep your Jeep safe from rocks and debris. The undercarriage protection ensures that you can traverse trails in safety, while the sliders offer an extra step for easy mounting and dismounting.
The textured construction offers a lot of visual appeal and styling that is sure to make your TJ stand out. What’s more, Tyger Auto provides a five-year warranty with its kit. In the event that there’s a manufacturer defect within that timeframe, the company will repair or replace the issue.
Are rock sliders a critical addition to my TJ?
We wouldn’t say critical, but they do offer a good level of protection to the cab of your TJ. Some models offer protection from gravel being kicked up and chipping away the paint of your lower cab rails, but the big benefit is if you want to venture into a rock garden and unexpectedly come down on a boulder. Rock sliders not only protect your paint but protect body panels from being crushed by adding a level of protection. It’s better and less expensive to replace a bent rock slider bar than have to take your TJ to the body shop and have things repaired. Another bonus of rock sliders is that if your TJ is lifted, they can serve as a step to help you and your passengers get in.
Is any one style better than another?
As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One of the best things about Jeeps is that you can accessorize them any way you want. This means picking out a style/design of a rock slider that you think would look best on your Jeep TJ. The only thing we’d say would make any one set better than another is the thickness of the material used. If one brand uses a thin tube metal, it’ll be that much more susceptible to being damaged.
Updated 9/20/2021: Updated product descriptions and product links, updated CTA, added additional resources, replaced OOS inventory links and added FAQ.
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