5th Gen Mods, Accessories, Install, Rock Sliders, Trail Tested

5th Gen 4runner Nerf Bars – N-Fab

Updated 10/16/19 / Read Time: 6 mins

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5th Gen 4Runner Nerf Bars N-Fab – Review (3 Years Later) – Full Review, Overview & Conclusion

After three years of running the N-Fab Bars, I can say they kick ass. We purchased the 2014 Trail 4Runner in August of 2014. It is now August of 2017, so we made it through all seasons with these Nerf Bars and they held up through thick and thin.

From off-road to on-road, these bars have worked for everything we have thrown at them. They have knocked a few rocks here and there. They have also served as a solid stepping platform when hopping into our 4Runner.

In a recent post Mods Part 1, we covered Nerf Bars as a pretty important step in modding out your runner. All in all, I would highly recommend these affordable, yet durable little Nerf Bars.


For the price, these bars are well worth it. It has been three years later and these things have stood by our side (literally) the whole time.

For around $350, you cannot go wrong with these nerf bars. The N-Fab bars double as steps and sliders, although much closer to the steps category.

Do not count on these steps for a rock slider. They are not built to take abuse like a traditional slider. Like most rock sliders on the market, these bars are a one-piece design. They are also a convenient straight swap bolt-on replacement for your factory running boards.

Installation & Removal

Unlike most aftermarket sliders, the N-Fab bars are incredibly light so installation is a breeze. Other rock sliders require patience, a floor jack to lift the sliders into place and typically two people.

To install these Nerf Bars, just unbolt your factory running boards and replace them with the N-Fab bars in the same factory bolt locations with no drilling required. Seriously, installation could not be easier and can be done with one person.

Durability (Wear and Tear)

Trail 4Runner - N-Fab Nerf Bars

Over the course of three years, these Nerf Bars have taken a beating! We have put them through the true test. From sandy beaches in Big Sur to the eastern Sierra Mountains and up to Mount Shasta Winters, these things have held up.

Stomping boots have smashed these bars every single day for three years. That’s over 1000+ days of stepping on these bars and with one small scuff mark to show from it. Also, N-Fab has a Life Time Warranty on with a 5 Year Warranty on Finish.

That means that right now, we can send these bars back to N-Fab to get a full powder coat replenished. But, we really did get a ton of use from these Nerf Bars and we really did get what we paid for, and some. The bars have remained straight even after the multiple humps and dips they have run into.

It is no wonder why Toyota puts these steps on most of their showroom floor Trail and TRD models. If you are questioning the durability of these, don’t.

Functionality & Performance

Trail 4Runner N-Fab Hooped Nerf Bars - 5th Gen

When you actually need rock sliders on your 4Runner, the N-Fab bars are somewhat of a grey area.

  • Will the actual steps hold up against rocks? Not made for it but they have taken some hits.
  • Do they bend easy? They took a few dents but no bending.
  • Do they fade over time? Not yet in three years.
  • Are they good for Kids? Kid tested and father approved.
  • Are they good for women with heels? Not so much.
  • Are they good for kicking mud and snow off your feet? Absolutely.

These steps are a match made in heaven for most owners. They are super affordable and pack the most punch for their price range compared to any other rock slider, nerf bar or running board out there.

Are they top of the line in terms of functionality? No.

Will they get the job done off-road for a large percentage of 4Runner owners? Probably.

Top Features of the N-Fab Nerf Steps

  • Made in the USA!
  • Bolt on bars that will not flex
  • Positioned high and tight for better fitment

The question is how often are you going off-road and what does off-road mean to you. You could be going on the occasional fire-road like most of us or you could be gearing up for the Rubicon or Fordyce.

If you are gearing up for the Rubicon or Fordyce, then the N-Fab bars are probably not for you. In most other cases, the N-Fab bars are a solid choice for aftermarket steps/ running boards but they are absolutley not for crawling rocks.

Nerf Bars Vs. Other Rock Sliders & Running Boards

N-Fab Nerf Bars - 5th Gen 4Runner

There are so many other options out there for Nerf Bars and rock sliders. The difference between the N-Fab bars and most premium rock sliders out there is the fabrication quality itself.

While the premium rock sliders are fabricated to withstand serious abuse, your everyday average nerf bars are not. But, the N-Fab is still top of the line in the nerf bar category.

Other Options for Nerf Bars and Running Boards

  • N-Fab Nerf Bar $340
  • Westin Black Pro Traxx 4 Oval Step Bar $200
  • Tyger Auto Nerf Bars $225
  • Tyger Auto Running Boards $129

Your choice for a rock slider in this category must mean that you are looking to do some serious off-roading or you at least want to be ready when the time comes.

All of the premium rock sliders for the 5th Gen 4Runner below are designed to perform incredibly well off-road. Overall the N-Fab bars are still a great option off-road.

We have had them on our 4Runner for over three years, and they are still going strong. At $340, the only reason you wouldn’t buy these is that of looks.

Options for Premium Rock Sliders

  • C4 Fabrication Rock Sliders $639 – $800
  • Shrockworks (Two/Three Tube Options & Tread Plate Options) $500-$800
  • CBI Rock Sliders with ($599) & without ($639) Kick Outs
  • White Knuckle Off Road (Super clean and simple) $500-$700
  • Hefty Fabworks Sliders with Steps $540-$640
  • Bud Built 5th Gen Sliders (Diamond Plate Steps) $500-$800
  • OutPost Off-Road Sliders (Inline very clean) $500-$700

Other Shots with the Nerf Bars

A little Inspiration for you. They really are pretty cool. These are going to end up going on my girls 4Runner. I will be replacing these with the C4 Fab sliders that came in at over $1000 after everything said and done.

I am kinda sad to see them go but at least they will stay in the family. If you are making the jump to a set of real rock sliders, expect to pay over $1000 for a good set.

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August 30, 2020 6:29 pm

Would u reccomend the 2 inch or 3 inch main tube on the nfab nerf steps?
I have a 2018 4runner off road pr.

August 26, 2019 9:52 pm

Hey Brenan, so I’m looking to take off the side skirt on my limited. I don’t really like the look all that much. How would I go about that, if you know. I have not been able to find much talking about it but yours looks to have some sort or bar across that connects to the NFABs. Is there anything different from the limited bars vs sr5 and others? Thanks, Skye

April 18, 2018 4:57 am

Thanks for answering Brenan.. Im new at this I just got my 2018 4runner and Im trying to decide which way to go. You have got some great articles, but Im a very visual person so its hard to see. I notice in 1 article you said your girlfriend had opted for 20″, but your preference is 17″ with a negative offset. Any suggestions would be great. I, unfortunately, will not be doing a lot of offroading, so this is definitely more of a look. I also like the BF Goodrich all terrain KO2.

April 17, 2018 5:32 am

What size are those rims?? Who made them?? Is it lifted?

May 31, 2019 2:59 pm

Hey Brenan, just picked up our 2019 TRD off road Monday night.
Excited for mods.
On a basic leveling kit do you mean spacers?

April 10, 2018 6:21 pm

Are these nerf steps the 2″ or 3″ main tube size? I’m struggling to decide for my 4Runner.

July 7, 2019 1:57 pm

Do you think the 3” nerf main tube looks too big or bulky?

February 19, 2018 5:09 am

Anyone know if these will work with a 2018 TRD Off Road Limited? Amazon is saying they won’t but I’m trying to figure out for sure.

February 13, 2018 7:17 pm

Does anyone know if N-Fab 5th Gen 4Runner Nerf Bars will work with the limited?? amazon is saying no, but can I just remove the limited side skirts and still run these?? or are the brackets different?

Wes P.
Wes P.
September 9, 2020 2:57 pm

Hi, someone local to me is selling a pair of take-off Nfab steps from a 2016 Trail Edition on FB Marketplace. I have a 2012 SR5. I know the Nfab part number for the ’15 TE isn’t the same for my ’12 SR5, but any idea if they will fit? If not, is there an easy mod so they will? Thanks!

November 17, 2017 8:43 am

what model/brand is your hood protector/deflector???

Bill S
Bill S
April 7, 2018 5:25 pm
Reply to  steve

Just for some information for northeast guys and other high salt areas. N-FABS’s will start to rust up big time in about 3 years..Mine now are about 6 years old and after years of grinding rust and repainting they are hanging in there. Years ago tried to contact N-fab but got no were..Love the look easy to mount but beware

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