A GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT 4X4 PANEL & PAINT PROTECTION

June 21, 2021 4 min read

A GUIDE TO THE TOP 4x4 ACCESSORIES & UPGRADES 2021/2022

Wanting to customise and upgrade your 4x4 with off-road accessories can be a deeply personal thing. It's often based on the opinion of experts, friends or possibly even your wife or mum(!), but in any case, it can also be highly subjective… and not to mention expensive!

To try and ease your burden, we've put together a list of the top 4x4 accessories and upgrades in 2021/2022.

In our humble opinion, there are four accessory upgrades that every 4x4 owner should be investing in to make both the on and off-road driving experience as good as possible:

  1. CHOOSING 4X4 PANEL & PAINT PROTECTION
  2. CHOOSING THE RIGHT 4X4 TYRE
  3. CHOOSING A 4X4 LIFT KIT
  4. CHOOSING A 4X4 BULL BAR
1. CHOOSING 4X4 PANEL & PAINT PROTECTION

Let's deal with the Elephant straight away… There is nothing worse than spending anywhere from $50k - $150k on a new 4x4 only to drive it into a car park for the first time and find that some inexperienced and un-caring citizen has dented or scratched your pride and joy. There would be few drivers in the world that could genuinely claim to have never had another person dent their door in a car park, have had a run-away trolley hit their car, or even a casual key being 'accidentally' drawn down the side of your doors!!

So, let's shine a little light on the subject. If you're a 4x4 weekend warrior, keeping your 4WD vehicle in pristine condition - away from flying debris, dent protection and scratch protection of your pride and joy is a tough act. No one wants to be the person that says, "I won't drive down that track, or I'll get out and shift that branch, log etc."... this simply doesn't happen in the heat of the moment - even though every whack, snap, pop, or loud, ear-piercing scratch the length of the vehicle leaves you wincing with fear! 

In short, if the dent or scratch is severe enough, it can expose the underlying metal to moisture, corrosion, and rust - depending on the panel material - and can cost big money to repair... not to mention the depreciation when you come to sell it! The cold hard fact is if you're driving off-road, you have a few top 4x4 Accessories to choose from in your quest to protect your vehicle from scratches and dents, so here they are:

Ceramic paint protection to your clear coat

Whilst it's true that most 4WD's come out of the factory with a clear coat, applying a secondary ceramic paint protection will go a little way to helping protect your paintwork against minor abrasions or acidic bird droppings, but that's about it. We're not saying it's not a good thing. It's just a difficult decision to drive your pride and joy down a track with just that for protection. 

Paint film protection

The automotive industry continues to advance its technology. Applications such as paint film protection help protect areas such as leading edges on doors, wheel arches, mirrors etc., by applying several invisible layers, but this provides a limited amount of protection from debris and dirt. Definitely no protection for dents or heavy impacts. It has its time and place, but the downside for this film is that it's almost impossible to remove without taking off the clear coat as it gets older. Very often, despite advances in UV protection, it can yellow and crack, making the vehicle look less-than-best over time. 

Vinyl wrap

Vinyl wrapping is not a new thing. Even though the technology has advanced significantly, and can also colour match your entire vehicle, this solution is only suitable for minor scratches and abrasions. The key benefit is its ability to change out small portions of the wrap if you get a significant scratch. However, it will not prevent deep scratches or dents. 

Flares, Brush Bars & Side Steps

Flares, Brush Bars and Side Steps all help protect the vehicle by pushing aside vegetation as you drive, helping reduce direct scratches to the bodywork. This is not a guarantee of complete protection to your panels. If they do get scratched, the upside is that they are much easier to repaint than the body panels. But they also won't protect against panel dents!!!

Magnetic Sheet Vinyl

Akin to giant fridge magnets, these are easy to apply and colour-coded/branded for your vehicle. Whilst they will perform in protecting your vehicle from scratches, they cannot be used on-road and will turn into a giant piece of abrasive sandpaper (eek!) on your paintwork if you get sand or debris behind them. They can also deform in extremes of heat/cold, causing them to fall off, especially as they are not rated for the road. 

Detachable 4x4 Body Armor

The difference between all other paint and panel protection systems and Rhinohide Armor™ with Armor-Lock™, is three-fold. Firstly, its ability to be used both on and off-road with a rating of 130km/h is a game-changer for 4WD panel protection. This product is an industry-first set and forget system, protecting your vehicle from car parks to country tracks. Secondly, this system is specifically designed to help with deep scratch protection, stone chips and high-impact dent protection. No other systems cater for this kind of protection or can be colour-coded to match your vehicle. Thirdly, Rhinohide Armor™ has a patented suspension system designed to let sand and debris pass under the panels so that they won't act like abrasive sandpaper on your clear coat. 

For a better comparison of all the 4x4 Panel Protection Systems, please visit: https://www.rhinohide.com.au/pages/product-comparison