Running boards or nerf bars are tubular devices fitted to the side of a trucks, sport utility vehicles and other similar off-road vehicles to act as a step for easy entry and exit from the vehicle. They are typically constructed from either stainless steel, chrome or powder-coated steel although there are considerable variations in style, color and design. They are also referred to as step bars, boss bars, tube steps or step tubes.
Aside from facilitating easy ingress and egress from a vehicle, running boards also protect the body sides from damages. The stable support provided by a set of nerf bars or running boards is a great measure of safety and peace of mind especially for younger or older passengers. Side steps are built to handle abuse as most are bolt-on to a vehicle in a pre-existing mounting position on the frame.
Supported by the steel construction and heavy-duty frame mount brackets, a standard running board also boasts of an incredible weight capacity as it can hold up to 300lbs. or more at a time. Heavy-duty running boards fitted with an aluminum support frame beneath the stepping surface can even carry a weight capacity of up to 500lbs.
During wet weather, a running boards' treaded pads help passengers get a safe grip on the step before climbing into the vehicle. These all-weather pads have a grooved design that channels water away from the stepping surface. Aside from providing a non-slip surface for stepping, nerf bars also help to keep dirt and mud from reaching a vehicle's carpet. The treaded pad is an excellent place to wipe one's feet, while the tube becomes an ingenious tool for knocking off the mud.
Running Boards Buyer’s Guide
· A running board, also known as a footboard, is a flat and narrow step located under the vehicle doors.
· Running boards are meant to function as a step underneath the vehicle doors for entering or exiting the cabin. They were first used in horse-drawn carriages and were later adapted by automobiles.
· Footboards can also be used to clean off mud or snow from your shoes before entering your vehicle.
· They are an affordable yet stylish accessory that you can install to update the look of your vehicle.
· Running boards can be classified into two based on length: cab length or wheel-to-wheel.
· Other types of running boards based on design: Lighted running boards, Custom molded running boards and Retractable running boards.
· The cost of running boards may vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. OE replacement footboards will generally cost you in the range of $145 to $1,700. These are sold individually, in sets of two, or as part of a kit.
· Running boards are extremely important if you have kids or elderly passengers who would have difficulty jumping in and out of a tall truck or 4x4. The grip on these steps makes it more comfortable and safer for you and your passengers to access your vehicle, even while it’s raining or snowing.
· These footboards also help protect your vehicle doors from dents and dings caused by kicked up debris while off-roading. They are a must-have for people who usually drive on gravel and unpaved roads.
What are running boards?
A running board, also known as a footboard, is a flat and narrow step located under the vehicle doors. They are typically mounted flush against the rocker panel and protrude 4 to 7 inches from the vehicle body. They are mostly seen installed on trucks, workhorse rigs, and vans with high ground clearances.
Footboards are made from heavy-duty thermoplastics, stainless steel, or aluminum. They usually come in black or grey, and in polished or powder-coated finishes. To create an anti-slip surface, this component may be grated, stamped with a diamond design, or come with rubber foot grips
What is the purpose of running boards?
Running boards are meant to function as a step underneath the vehicle doors for entering or exiting the cabin. They were first used in horse-drawn carriages and were later adapted by automobiles. As vintage cars were designed to sit higher than modern vehicles, running boards improved these vehicles’ accessibility. Today, running boards for trucks, SUVs, and vans both serve functional and aesthetic purposes.
Footboards can also be used to clean off mud or snow from your shoes before entering your vehicle. They help prevent tracking dirt into your vehicle’s interiors by using them as a doormat. Lastly, they are an affordable yet stylish accessory that you can install to update the look of your vehicle.
Types of running boards
Running boards can be classified into two based on length: cab length or wheel-to-wheel. As its name suggests, cab length running boards run the entire length of the passenger cabin. On the other hand, wheel-to-wheel running boards start from behind the front wheel, extend beyond the cab, and end right before the rear wheel. This gives drivers a third step that can be used to access the truck bed or roof rack from the side of the vehicle.
Here are some other types of running boards based on design:
Lighted running boards
Built-in LED lights on this type of running board make it easier to see the step when entering or exiting the vehicle in the dark. At the same time, the lights also illuminate the path underneath the footboard, allowing the driver or their passengers to avoid any puddles or find their footing on uneven terrain.
Custom molded running boards
This type of running board is designed to follow the lines and curves of a vehicle seamlessly. This option is also advisable for vehicle owners who want to color-match this component to their body paint.
Retractable running boards
Also known as power running boards, this type of footboard automatically extends when the doors are open and retracts when they are closed. They are powered by electric motors on the bracket and triggered by door sensors that determine when the step is needed.
This is a great option for people who wish to keep their vehicle lines sleek while maintaining maximum ground clearance. Tucking the footboards away can also keep it from messing with your vehicle’s aerodynamics.
How to install running boards
Fitting your vehicle with a running board is an easy project that can be completed in an hour or so. The difficulty of the install will depend on whether you have chosen a universal-fit running board or a vehicle-specific one.
A universal-fit running board is likely to require some drilling on the bracket pieces to match your truck’s pre-drilled holes. Once the holes on the vehicle frame and brackets are lined up, the running board will only need to be bolted in place.
How much are SUV and truck running boards?
The cost of running boards may vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model. OE replacement footboards will generally cost you in the range of $145 to $1,700. These are sold individually, in sets of two, or as part of a kit.
Common causes of running board damage
Driving through hard snow and ice can put your running boards through a beating. Kicked up rocks and debris can damage this part upon impact. Rubber grips may also crack or peel off and require replacement over time.
Going over the weight capacity of your running boards can also cause it to wear down faster. Aluminum and plastic running boards typically have lower weight capacities and a shorter lifespan than their steel counterparts.
Why is running board replacement important?
Running boards are extremely important if you have kids or elderly passengers who would have difficulty jumping in and out of a tall truck or 4x4. The grip on these steps makes it more comfortable and safer for you and your passengers to access your vehicle, even while it’s raining or snowing.
These footboards also help protect your vehicle doors from dents and dings caused by kicked up debris while off-roading. They are a must-have for people who usually drive on gravel and unpaved roads. At the same time, using this part to keep your vehicle damage-free can help you protect the resale value of your vehicle.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Running Boards
Made from chrome or fiberglass, a running board, also known as nerf bar and foot board, is commonly used by pickup trucks. But today, this car accessory has also proven to be useful in typical street-driven vehicles such as SUVs. In fact, the addition of running boards to many vehicles is among the modern means of customization. Besides being an additional step for easier entrance and exit from the vehicle, a running board kit can help your vehicle achieve a more customized look. While chrome running boards are common among full-size trucks, fiberglass and painted running boards are perfect for cars. These running boards can even be fitted with lights, making your vehicle a standout during nighttime driving. To ensure easy installation of your vehicle's running board, CarParts.com offers the best running board kit at pocket-friendly price.
• Our running board kit makes running board installation a lot easier and more convenient.
• A running board kit from CarParts.com contains a running board made from heavy-duty, solid steel, perfect for everyday use.
• No drilling is required for most applications of our running board kits.
Getting Running Boards for your Vehicle
Fitting your vehicle with with running boards is a sure-fire way to add both style and convenience to your truck or SUV. They make it easier to get in and out of your vehicle, and they provide added protection from the sides. They also protect your vehicle from road debris kicked up by your tires, and they even keep the inside of our vehicle cleaner by serving as a doormat for people entering. This is one purchase you will certainly not regret-if you have the right information.
Here are some things to consider when getting running boards:
- Be familiar with your vehicle's year, make, and model. If the running boards you are getting will change the dimension of your vehicle, you should determine the measurements of where the running boards will be installed. Failing to account for how the running boards will change the overall dimensions of your vehicle can result in running boards that are either too small that they are inconvenient, or too wide that they pose a safety risk.
- Call your local car customization shop. The people there can make things very convenient by ordering the custom running boards and even installing them properly for you.
- Make sure you get running boards that are compatible to your vehicle and thus, much easier to install. Refer to your vehicle owner manual for exact specifications.
- When it comes to comparing prices online, make sure you also take shipping, insurance, and installation costs into account.
- We recommend running boards that are manufactured with a gripping surface that improves traction. This makes the running board safer to use by preventing slips, especially in wet or snowy weather.
- Some well-known brands of running boards include Putco (which holds the distinction of having the first running board patent in the United States), Dee Zee (known for producing good truck accessories and have over 120 varieties of running boards), Steelcraft (for stainless steel running boards), Rugged Ridge (extra durable running boards for serious off-road driving), and Westin (one of the most favorite brands of truck accessories).
- Also be sure to get very durable mounting brackets. This is something that is often overlooked. The mounting brackets have a high degree of exposure since they are constantly assaulted by road debris. We recommend mounting brackets made of good quality, non-corrosive material like stainless steel or aluminum. Mild steel, although cheaper, is not for wet or snowy weather.
Installing a Running Board
One of the surest ways to add convenience and style to your truck or SUV is by fitting it with running boards. Not only do they make it easier to get in and out of your vehicle, they also give your vehicle added protection from the sides. With the help of a friend, it will take less than an hour to install running boards that will last as long as your vehicle will.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
What you'll need:
- 2 pair locking pliers
- Wrench and socket set
- Hex head bit set
- Screw gun
- Variable speed drill
- Bolts, clips, and nuts
- Running board kit
- Vehicle owner manual
And here are the steps:
- Unpack the running board kit. Check if it has all the components you need for installation (like connecting bolts and brackets). Lay them out so you can easily pick them up as needed.
- Check under your vehicle to see if it has pre-drilled mounting holes. If it doesn't, use your variable speed drill to make the necessary mounting holes. Refer to instructions from the running board manufacturer and your owner manual for details. You can never be too careful when it comes to drilling holes into your vehicle.
- Get the mounting brackets that are included in your running board kit. Attach them to the mounting positions using the bolts, but don't secure them tightly yet.
- Get your running board and hold it up to the mounting brackets to make sure the mounting positions are perfectly aligned. If they're not, put your running board aside and make the necessary adjustments. After ensuring that they are properly positioned, lock your mounting brackets tightly into place.
- Hold the running board up to the mounting bracket again. Rest it on the mounting brackets as you line up each connection.
- When everything's all lined up, fasten it securely (using the bolts, nuts, washers, etc.). Have a friend hold the running board in place while you do this. Make sure to tighten everything.
- Repeat the process for the other side.
The rule of thumb here is to attach loosely first and then to tighten after you are certain of the alignment and positioning. Always refer to your owner manual and the running board manufacturer's instructions for specific details.