You know the problem, your 4-wheel drive truck or SUV looks and works great, but without tube steps, nerf bars or running boards, it’s tough to get up in the cab. And some of the other members of your family (or that cute girl you’d like to get to know better) can’t get up there at all.
Well guess what, there are a whole variety of products out there that can solve these problems. And even if you don’t have any problems like these and just want to add a little class to your truck, we can help you out.
They have different names and come in lots of styles but they basically all do the same job. Nerf bars, step bars, running boards, or truck steps, whatever you call them, they can all make it easier to get in and out of your truck. Even straight from the factory a lot of new trucks and SUVs are higher than ever so providing a little boost up can be handy. In nasty weather the non-skid step pad can provide safe secure footing when entering or exiting your truck. A nerf bar, running board, or truck step can also be a good place to knock some of the mud and dirt and crud off your shoes before you get in helping to keep the inside of your truck cleaner. And finally they can add a touch of custom elegance and a custom look to your truck that will turn heads wherever you go!
But let’s talk about nerf bars first. Nerf bars come in two basic styles. The most common are the cab length nerf bars. These run from the length of the cab and provide a step for each of the seating rows in your truck.
Wheel –to-wheel nerf bars are a little longer, running from the front door to the rear wheel well. This gives you the added convenience of an extra step for access to the front of your bed. Both of these types of nerf bars come in either round tube or oval tube, with the oval design giving you a little bit wider foot pad for better stability.
Most nerf bars are made from 3” or 4” diameter thick- walled, cold-rolled steel or stainless steel tubing for strength. Oval bars are usually 5” wide.
The most common finish on nerf bars is polished stainless steel, but they are also available in chrome plated and black powder coat versions.
The latest and greatest thing in running boards are retractable running boards that stay out of sight until you open the door, then retract again when you close the door.
These retractable steps have an OEM look like they came right off the assembly line with the truck or SUV. In fact, some higher end vehicles have these as optional equipment.
Traditional diamond plate or extruded aluminum running boards are typically wider than nerf bars and can support more total weight.
Finally, custom molded running boards will blend in with the design of your truck almost seamlessly and can be color matched to your existing paint. Most running boards are made from a molded polymer material that is supported underneath by an aluminum frame. Depending on the design, many running boards feature a black or dark gray foot pad that runs either door length or the length of the cab.
Individual nerf bars or truck steps are just what the name implies. Rather than running the full length of the truck cab, they are short, usually 8” to 24” wide, and are designed for one foot. If you have a crew cab or 4 door truck you will require four steps.
There is one more type of truck step and that’s one that is mounted on the side or rear of your truck for easier access to your bed. If you find yourself constantly getting in and out of the bed of your truck, a step back there can be a life saver over the course of a long work day. Just like the cab steps, bed steps can be fixed or retractable.
The good news is that most of these truck steps, nerf bars, and running boards are easy to install. In most cases you can do it yourself in your own driveway using only basic hand tools. Many OEM manufacturers sell their own running boards so you’ll often find the necessary mounting holes are already there. You just need to bolt ‘em in place! Some of the larger, heavier styles however are best installed by professionals.
So now that you know a little about the different styles, which type is right for you?
The first thing to consider is length. Do you need secure footing for you and your passengers? Do you need the extra length of a wheel-to-wheel nerf bar for better access to your cargo bed?
What about capacity? A typical nerf bar or truck step can support about 300 pounds. This should be plenty for most applications. But if you need more, the typical running board can hold about another 200 pounds.
Finally we come down to which type will look best. Do you prefer chrome, powder coat, or something that matches the paint on your truck?
Probably the leading brand of truck steps, nerf bars, and running boards is DeeZee. They offer the most popular styles today and they carry a variety of sizes and finishes. They have nerf bars in 3” or 4” round, 4” and 5” oval, chrome, polished or powder coated. Their running boards are styled to compliment your truck and they have a sturdy, diamond plate design for a rugged product that can take all the abuse you can dish out.
Westin Automotive is another top brand that can provide you with a full line of products to choose from. Their oval tube nerf bars come in several universal lengths and are a full 6” wide to give you a safe, secure stepping area. Weston’s running boards come in six universal lengths and feature an extruded aluminum base board and slip resistant rubber step area. The molded end caps give their running boards a nice finished look.
Luverne Truck Equipment has stainless steel side steps that feature a wide 7” step and are available in sizes to fit regular, extended, super, and crew cab pickups and SUVs. Most models have factory installed brackets and feature no-drill installation.
For the ultimate in cool, you might want to consider power retractable nerf bars from Amp Research. These are slip resistant and fully lighted steps that extend when you open any door and smoothly retract out of sight when the door is closed.
Amp Research also features retractable bed steps that mount on the side or rear bumper of your truck. These can be a real back and leg savers if you and your truck work hard. The fold out of the way when you don’t need them, and then provide a wide secure step up when you do.
Now that you know everything you ever wanted to know about nerf bars, truck steps, running boards, etc., you need to know where to get ‘em! That’s easy, if you live anywhere in the greater Kansas City area just stop by any one of three Chux Trux stores. There you’ll find expert help to make your decision easy and we can even install your new running boards or nerf bars for you. Can’t make it to one of our stores right away? Just gives us a call, you’ll talk to a real live person, not voice mail or one of those annoying automated menus, but an actual human being. (How rare is that these days?) Finally, you can always send us an email and let us know what you need.
So now there’s no excuse for you not having the latest in safety and design in steps, nerf bars, or running boards for your truck that will also make it easier and more convenient to use for you and your passengers.
By: Chris Ripper