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What Your Shop Needs to Know About Sidebar Installation

[Sponsored by Steelcraft]

Sidebar installation was designed to yield quick turnarounds and happy customers, but what are some of the pitfalls technicians encounter? A lot of shops seek installation tips to improve and speed up their sidebar installation processes. To address those inquiries directly, we’ve formulated a list of common problems and solutions that are sure to make the installation process even smoother.

Pre-Installation Checklist

Some of these checklist items may seem obvious, but in the name of quality control let’s review each pre-installation step:

  • Make sure the product and components inside the box match what you see printed on the outside of box
  • Ensure everything listed on instruction sheet is in the box BEFORE attempting the install. Some customers who start the process immediately find out later that the wrong part was ordered
  • When unpackaging the sidebar box, note that the sidebar in the green bag is always for the driver’s side, and the sidebar in the white bag is for the passenger side—don't excitedly rip off the bags without noting the bag colors. This also helps keep the bars protected while installing mount brackets.

Installation Tips

  • One common mistake when installing a sidebar is tightening the nuts too early. Installers most likely will need to make adjustments later in the installation process, so it’s best to initially leave those nuts loose. When it’s time to align the bar, make sure all holes line up and that everything is straight—then tighten up those nuts.
  • If installation requires a bolt plate, know ahead of time that sometimes the bolt plate might not be easy to slide in, due to a handful of vehicles having a double wall (the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is one example). Don't be apprehensive to take a screwdriver and bend it a bit to make room for it to slide in.
  • If installation requires a bolt plate, be sure to use the packaged plastic retainers, or you’ll run the risk of having the bolt fall into the rocker panel. When locating the hole for the bolt plate, use our diagram for assistance. If you don't visually see the hole, it most likely is covered with undercoating. Use a screwdriver and punch out the hole if necessary
  • When using the vehicle's factory studs, it’s important to know that if the vehicle has an undercoating, the coating may have been sprayed on the bolt and onto the threads. Use a wire brush or thread the original nut on and off to remove the undercoating. When tightening the nut to the factory bolt, use a manual tool (no power or air tools) to reduce the chances of cross threading and ruining the stud.

For additional installation tips, watch the above video.

About This Sponsored Content

Steelcraft, founded in 1998 in Southern California, remains the premier manufacture of truck and SUV accessories. For additional installation information or to learn more about Steelcraft products, visit steelcraftautomotive.com.