When it comes to popular 4×4 vehicles, the Hilux needs no special introduction. It has enjoyed years of success on the Australian market, and it has become the go-to vehicle of choice for many tradespeople, off-road enthusiasts, and everyone in between. The sheer reliability the Hilux offers is unmatched by any of its competitors, and its ruggedness makes it even more so.
However, if your main purpose for buying a Hilux is off-road driving, then you should probably know that even this reliable beast needs some type of modification in the form of specialised off-road accessories, to protect it from getting damaged by the rough terrain. When the topic of off-road protection accessories arises, most people think about the bull bar and recovery equipment, but they seldom consider the rear step, even though it’s unarguably the off-road accessory that offers most protection.
This is especially true if you’re into rock crawling or any other extreme type of off-road driving where your rear end will be exposed to impact. A Hilux rear step will prevent damage when you go upward at corners, and it will provide better clearance at more extreme angles. Additionally, a rear step protects your rear end against scrapes, drag and general damage.
While stock Hilux rear bumpers are quite large and usually block-shaped, aftermarket ones aren’t. And in the case of rear steps, bigger isn’t necessarily better. An aftermarket Hilux rear step is usually made of heavy-gauge steel, which is very strong and rigid. Moreover, they’re usually finished with a robust coating or polish which provides corrosion and rust resistance properties and makes them even more durable.
That being said, whether you bash them into a tree, or scrape them against a rock, aftermarket rear steps will continue to function and look as if nothing has happened. But more importantly, they will prevent damage to the actual vehicle and other components, like the lights, for instance. This is why you should try to invest in a quality one, otherwise, not only will it not hold up the abuse, but you also risk damaging your vehicle.
However, this isn’t the only benefit of rear steps. Some models come with built-in “arms” which can hold spare tyres and other pieces of equipment, such as liquid containers and jacks. You might say “But my Hilux already has an externally mounted tyre carrier”. Yes, it might have it, but chances are it’s mounted on the tailgate, which blocks the clearance for opening it. Additionally, aftermarket rear steps transfer the weight from the wheels onto the bumpers, thus removing the stress from the tailgate.