A good-looking off-road truck is something to really be proud of, especially when it’s properly equipped for the trails. Looks aren’t everything, though; in many cases, flimsy aftermarket parts and many light-duty stock parts can end up damaged. To prevent this from happening, you should upgrade with heavy duty body parts and steel bumpers; avoid adding things that will just get in the way. Add strong and effective gear that will actually protect your truck; don't get sidetracked with all the other junk out there.
The rocker area under your outfitted truck or Jeep is one of the prime areas that can sustain considerable damage from different off-roading activities. One good hit to the rocker can leave a permanent dent in the underside of the body, so it’s a good idea to protect that area.
The type of rocker protector you use makes a difference. You need something that does not interfere with ground clearance, while securely attaching to either the frame or the body and body mounts. Guards should be flush with the underside of the truck without any protrusions, although tubes welded to the side of the guard can improve protection without interfering with the bottom of your off-roading truck.
Heavy Duty Steel Bumpers
In addition to rocker guards, rear bumpers as well as front truck bumpers are also an important upgrade because stock versions, made of tin and plastic, offer little protection. Aftermarket bumpers may not look as streamlined as stock bumpers; however, these bumpers are made of steel and designed to provide the type of protection off-road trucks and Jeeps need to prevent actual body damage. The choice should be made according to how and where the truck is used and how strong the bumper needs to be.
Stubby bumpers are especially popular on many off-road trucks and Jeeps as they prevent interference between the bumper and the larger, taller tires these vehicles commonly have. Stingers can support the weight of an entire Jeep to prevent it from rolling over. Replacing the stock bumper with the right aftermarket bumper is one of the most important and protective body upgrades you’ll make.
Fenders are a whole other concern, especially when adding bigger tires and taller suspensions. Trucks and Jeeps driven over aggressive trails and hills that push the suspension to its limits usually experience interference with the fenders and wheel wells. The best solution to this problem is to trim these areas to provide greater clearance. If a fender is desired, replace with flexible plastic fenders that provide needed body protection without interfering with the tires. Another option is to upgrade to wider axles.
Stock plastic lights that protrude from the side and rear of the vehicle are also easily damaged on the trail. To prevent this damage, many of these lights can be replaced with flush mounted and inexpensive trailer lights. This reduction in required clearance space reduces the chance of breakage by branches, rocks, and any debris that gets kicked up on the trail. If you also need to protect your headlights, light guards that install onto your bumper are also a good idea.
Although this is only an example of some of the ways you can protect your off-road truck or Jeep with the right aftermarket parts like rocker guards and steel bumpers, the message should be pretty clear. Protect your off-road truck with the right durable parts and modifications that can withstand the abuse and get rid of the pretty stuff. Although those upgrades might look a little odd in comparison to stock parts, they’re designed to be functional and not make your truck look like a show car.
Rather than taking a risk by adding inferior accessories or depending on stock equipment, as a serious off-roader, you will do better to remove the flimsy, showy, pretty parts and replace with functional, durable equipment like steel bumpers that can actually protect your great off-road truck!