• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

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Side Steps vs Running Boards vs Nerf Bars

Side Steps

Swerving through unpredictable terrain is done with a lot of experience and a powerful vehicle. While the former requires a lot of time, the latter does not and can be sorted out rather quickly. Pickup trucks are one of those vehicles which come with a 4WD, but no matter whether it’s a 4WD or a 2WD, a pickup truck is able to rummage through the challenges of the unbeaten path.
Pickup trucks are extremely versatile as they allow you to switch between their 4WD or 2WD. They are also safer than a sedan or a hatchback. You can easily haul and tow even when off-roading, and your pickup truck can double up as an adventure vehicle for the weekends. But no pickup truck would be complete without a little bit of accessorising.

Running Boards

What Are They?

A running board is a metal platform that provides a stepping surface for the driver and passengers. If your pickup truck has high ground clearance, (which is the case with most pickup trucks) it can be difficult to get in and out. Vehicle running boards can make this a lot easier.


running boards
source: parkertoyota.com

How? – you may ask. By providing a sturdy and slip-resistant surface. This is possible thanks to their special design which includes protruding holes. The good thing about running boards is that they run from the end of the front tyre to the beginning of the back tyre. This way, everyone gets the same stepping surface no matter where they’re going to sit in your truck.

How to Attach Running Boards

  1. While not all running boards are made the same, their installation process is about the same. First, you need to install the bolt plate into the factory holes and then attach the front brackets together with their hardware. Then, you need to do the same for the centre and rear brackets.
  2. Once you’ve installed the brackets, you need to install the running boards sliding the bolts into the running board channels. Then, place the board on the brackets just make sure the threaded portion of the vehicle running boards is facing down. The bolts should align with the bracket slots before you place the bolts through the slots.
  3. For the final step, just attach the board with the provided hardware, and leave things finger-tight. Then, once everything is aligned properly and you’re satisfied with the installation, just tighten the brackets and bolts.

Side Steps

What Are They?

Side steps do the same job as running boards, but they are not as big. Side steps are exactly what you’d imagine them to be, a single step placed either under a passenger door or the driver’s door. Truck side steps provide a stepping surface but only for one person at a time.


side steps
source: ps4x4.com.au

The major benefit of truck side steps is that they can be placed anywhere along the lower side of the cab. They occupy a small area, meaning you can place as many as you want on either side of your pickup truck. They also come with an anti-slip surface.

How to Install Side Steps

  1. Once you have the centre of the step figured out, mark a vertical line from the step’s centre onto the pinch weld flange. Then, on each of the two outside lines where you will have to drill holes, put a mark at the vertical centre of the flange.
  2. Next, drill a hole in each location and then drill some more holes into the mounting brackets too. Hold them up so that the bottom of the pinch weld flange stays even with the bottom of the bracket’s mounting surface.
  3. Put a mark on each bracket through the hole you drilled and then drill two more holes on the marked points. Then, mount the brackets firmly to your truck and drill two more holes into the body of your vehicle.
  4. After that, put the rotation arm braces against the cog gears of the mounting brackets and rotate the arm until you have it at the right height. Secure them with the provided hardware and put the step in place. Attach everything together with the rotation arm braces to the cog gears and rotate the step to the correct position.

Nerf Bars

What Are They?

Nerf bars are similar to running boards in the sense that they also extend along the entire length of a truck’s cab. The only difference is that nerf bars are popular with high-speed racing. This means that nerf bars, or nerf running boards, as they’re also called, can make your truck look sportier due to their rounded design.


nerf bars
source: lundtruck.com

Alongside proving a solid stepping surface, nerf bars also keep the undercarriage of your truck protected. Stone chips and mud will not cause damage to the undercarriage as easily when you have nerf bars. Furthermore, nerf bars can also help prevent corrosion. 

How to Install Nerf Bars

  1. Nerf bar installation starts by lining up the mounting brackets to your vehicle’s factory drilled holes, if any. Otherwise, you need to drill holes yourself and then tighten up the bolts of the brackets once aligned properly.
  2. Once you have the mounting brackets anchored to the frame, attach the nerf bar to the brackets. Make sure to centre the nerf bars along the cockpit and then tighten all the bolts once that’s done and that’s it.

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.