The dirt and mud can get kicked up to your door handles, depending on what crap you are driving through. The side steps and splash guards ( mud flaps) together, add a lot of protection. You'll see. I don't think I would want to spray bed liner up the side of my brand new truck to protect it, It's up to you. Good luck.Belated thanks. If people haven't taken off the sticker at the front of the bed, then there probably isn't a discoloration, peeling, or cracking problem.
I never considered side steps to protect the paint. I was going to go with no side step out of concern of lowering, or add a small step if needed when I get older, but I will need to reconsider now. Will probably see how much still gets kicked up after I put on the splash guards.