No, it’s not an April Fools joke- but it sounds like one. On the first of this month, Chevrolet and GMC’s most serious full-size off-road pickups, the Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison and Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV edition, began shipping to dealers without one of their most essential pieces of off-road protection.

ZR2 Bison / AT4X AEV Edition Lose Rocker Protection

On April 1st, 2024 the Chevrolet and GMC order books were updated to state that “certain” Silverado 1500 ZR2 Bison and Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition trucks would no longer ship with rocker panel protection.

The order guide for both trucks now states: 
“Beginning April 1, 2024, certain vehicles will be forced to include (R9S) Not Equipped with Rocker Guards, which removes (NAA) Rocker Protection. See dealer for details or the window label for the features on a specific vehicle.”

A Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition on a stream bed. You can see the rocker protection under the doors.
A Sierra 1500 AT4X AEV Edition on a stream bed. You can see the rocker protection under the doors.

What is Rocker Protection?

Rocker protection, an essential component for off-road enthusiasts, serves as the safeguard for the lower sides of a truck, specifically the rocker panels located between the front and rear wheel wells. These panels, while vital to the structural integrity of the vehicle, are highly susceptible to damage from rocks, tree stumps, and uneven terrain encountered during off-road adventures. Rocker protection, in the form of heavy-duty bars or sliders, acts as a durable barrier, absorbing impacts and preventing costly damage to the vehicle’s body. By outfitting a truck with robust rocker protection, adventurers can tackle challenging trails with confidence, knowing their vehicle is shielded against the harsh realities of off-road exploration.

Rocker protection is one of the unique pieces of equipment that you (used to) get on ZR2 Bison and AT4X AEV Edition trucks. Along with additional underbody skid plates and distinctive front and rear steel bumpers- rocker protection is one of the features that make these unique and expensive off-roaders worth the price.

Will Rocker Protection Return?

The order guide foot-note states that “certain vehicles” will not include Rocker Protection- which means that some ZR2 Bison and AT4X AEV Edition trucks may leave the factory with the equipment. Most likely this restriction is the result of a parts shortage, and will be lifted at some point in the future.

There’s no word on if customers who purchase a truck without the rocker protection will get a credit or the parts in the future. Either way, there’s nothing stopping buyers from equipping their own protection after the fact if their trucks didn’t come with it. However, having rocker protection from the factory is one of the reasons that someone might upgrade to a Silveado ZR2 Bison or Sierra AT4X AEV Edition.

Stay tuned…