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)
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
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
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.