Avid 4×4 enthusiasts who enjoy taking their Mitsubishi Triton off the beaten trail and want high ground clearance may find that installing side steps or rock sliders can be incredibly beneficial. This is especially true for owners who have also decided to upgrade their Triton’s suspension to lift it a couple of centimetres, and may need help getting in and out of their vehicle safely. But how do you decide whether you should go for side steps or rock sliders? These two 4×4 accessories are very different, with side steps providing a practical way to access your vehicle, whereas rock sliders offering superior protection to the side panels and sills, while also supporting the weight of your Triton. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
Side steps can be made of a variety of materials, but they all serve the same purpose and have the same structure. They provide little to no protection to your vehicle, but they’re a convenient extra step that helps you get in and out of your vehicle. They have a lot of flex, so they don’t support the weight of your vehicle. If you use them for that purpose, they’ll eventually bend and you won’t even be able to use them for their intended purpose. Mitsubishi Triton rear step and side steps can be made of aluminium and steel. Aluminium Mitsubishi Triton rear step and side steps are lightweight, yet durable, but they’re also more expensive. Steel models, on the other hand, are considered heavy-duty, and they offer a decent amount of protection.
Rock sliders, on the other hand, are made to offer protection and support the weight of your Triton from the underside. This is especially beneficial if your vehicle doesn’t have high enough ground clearance and you’re riding aggressive rock tracks. Further, they allow you to “belly slide” your Triton across sand ridges and rocks. You can still use them as side steps, whereas side steps can’t be used as rock sliders. If the sills and lower panels of your vehicle are damaged on your trip, you’re looking at costly repairs, so if you think your journey includes driving through rough terrain, you definitely want to invest in rock sliders. Rock sliders will feature a twin tube construction with 4 or more connection between the two tubes, and they’re attached to the vehicle’s chassis by 3 to 4 mountings. They usually have an upswept angle, are sturdy enough to take a lot of impact, and they give you the ability to use a high-lift jack on them.
If you want to go for side steps, but also add protection to your vehicle, you can invest in side rails, also known as scrub and brush bars to further protect your 4×4. Side rails are mounted similarly to rock sliders, to the chassis, but they’re also attached to the bull bar. These 4×4 accessories protect your flared wheel guards, preventing dings, dents and scratches, and protecting you against animal collision. Side rails can be used in combination with rock sliders and side steps, as long as you find products that are compatible.
Some other accessories that you may find beneficial for your off-road adventures are rear wheel carriers. Rear wheel carries make room on the underside of your 4×4 for a larger fuel tank or water supply. These accessories also provide you with the ability to store larger tyres, provide easier access to them, and even jerry can storage. Rear wheel carriers are bolted onto the vehicle’s bumper. However, you might have to replace the entire rear bumper with one that’s compatible with single or twin spare tyre carrier. You have to make sure you get the right product in order to carry the tyre size you want as some tyre carriers can only fit specific tyre sizes. Additionally, you’ll have to make sure the number plate and tail lights are visible and in proper working order.
You can find a wide range of 4×4 accessories that offer protection to your Mitsubishi Triton online or at your local dealership. Personally, I prefer shopping online as there’s simply more choice, and most of the sellers offer free shipping on orders. You can expect to pay a few hundred dollars for each of these products, so they won’t break your bank, and they’ll pay for themselves after a couple of trips around the rough Australian outback. While you can do the installation yourself, it’s a task best left to experienced professionals who’ve performed many installations, as improper installation can lead to vehicle damage or worse, injuries. Besides these accessories, other protective 4×4 accessories to consider are bull bars (must have), recovery equipment, special off-road tyres, a rear bar and recovery points. Again, you have to plan ahead and make sure the accessories are compatible with each other.