Arguably one of the first vehicle accessories to ever hit the truck-customization market, the running board
is a must-have item for folks with high clearance vehicles. They’re wide and sturdy truck steps that allow you to get in and out of your pickup, sport utility vehicle, or your van with little effort. With running boards, you'll no longer have to take a running jump to get into your lifted pickup. Aside from solving the clearance issues, these side step boards also enhance the look of your truck. Good looks and function - need we say more?
Don’t confuse running boards with nerf bars. To learn more about the distinct difference between the two, check out our Difference Between Nerf Bars and Running Boards research guide, or read our Nerf Bar Research Guides for more information.
Running boards come in three lengths:
Bed Section: They run from the back of your cab to the front of your rear wheel. These sections are normally purchased to fill in the gap that remains after you’ve installed a cab-section running board.
Cab Section: This is the most popular side-step board purchased online. These boards run the length of your truck or SUV cab, often beginning at the rear of your front wheel and going to the back of your cab.
Full Wheel to Wheel: For those who desire a complete look, this is what you need. These go the entire length of the truck, from the rear of the front wheel to the front of the rear wheel.
Other options to consider when ordering running boards are powered boards that retract when you close your doors (and drop down automatically when you open them), storage boards (boards with room to store items), and lighted boards.
This is probably not the first thought that pops into your mind when considering running boards, but what it is constructed from is very important. You running board material dictates what finishes it can hold, what customization you can add to it, and what functions the side step board can perform. All boards can hold anywhere from 300 to 700 lbs or more.
Diamond Plate Aluminum: This is probably what you’ve seen on older pickup trucks. Newly updated versions and different patterning has given it quite the upgrade. You can now even match it to other accessories on your truck. Diamond-plate aluminum is fairly traditional and works well because no additional molding is needed for gripping. The non-slip surface is patterned right into the material mold itself. These can come in a few different finish options, including polished aluminum and silver.
Extruded Aluminum: Performs much like diamond-plate aluminum, only without the additional patterned shapes.
Molded ABS: The black plastic material is highly durable and ready for wear and tear. Molded ABS can withstand the weight limits and wear you’ve come to expect from metal running boards.
Stainless Steel: One of the first on the market and still a standard today, stainless steel is great material for offering various finishing options. It also works plain due to the non-corrosive nature of the metal.
Steel: This is definitely a custom product and a special running board. Steel is typically sent out with a finish coat for protection, or sent out unfinished with the expectation that it will be custom painted to match your vehicle.
Different from their nerf bar cousins, running boards offer a huge variety of finishes. Something to note – not all finishes come in all material options. It’s best to read through each product description to get the full understanding of the product’s production quality and information before ordering.
The finish offers value in two ways. The first is protection against the elements. Rain, snow, sleet, mud, and other things Mother Nature conjures can take a toll on your vehicle. The finish will act like a barrier to these items and lengthen the life of your board.
The second value a finish offers is style. Because there are so many accessories and upgrades on the market, having a large selection of finishes to match your other running board is an important factor.
RealTruck.com ships running boards in pairs. Brackets, bolts, and other installation materials are included most of the time unless otherwise noted. In some cases, installation items are shipped separately.
Installiing running boards is typically a one-man (or woman) job. You should be able to handle it. We do advise that the powered (drop down) running boards be installed by professionals due to their electrical components.