Running Boards & Step Bars Tips

Read these 9 Running Boards & Step Bars Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Auto Accessories tips and hundreds of other topics.

Running Boards & Step Bars Tips has been rated 3.0 out of 5 based on 305 ratings and 1 user reviews.
how to look prepare when installing my new running boards

Installing Your Running Boards

When installing your new running boards, there are several important rules to follow. Although running boards come with instructions on installation, you should always prepare for slight adjustment problems, hardware that does not match specified bolt patterns, and a differential in the actual fit of the running board or step.

  • When you're ready to start, make sure you have all the tools recommended by the manufacturer. Not all running boards and steps are the same, so make sure you only install your new running boards or steps using the hardware given.
  • Do not modify the hardware, boards or steps.
  • Lay out your step or running boards to each side with the hardware needed.
  • With someone helping you, hold the running board or step up to the vehicle and make sure it's centered.
  • Look at each end of the board to see if it fits snug against the body or if there is a gap anywhere. Even though most running boards and steps are designed to fit a certain make and model vehicle, there can still be a slight to moderate issues when it comes to fastening the board or step to your vehicle.
If you are happy with the results of the fit and the looks, proceed to the manufacturers specified install instructions. When you start the installation, start at the front, install necessary hardware, but only finger tighten. Then move to the rear, repeating step one, then to the center. Before tightening any hardware, push the running board to the desired position, making sure the fit is comfortable and safe for use. When you have the board or step in the right position, tighten the center, then the front and lastly the rear.

How do I install a running board?

Installing a running board

So you want to install yourself a running board like Dee Zee running boards? OK. Here's what you do. - Choose one that uses a bracket system, so you won't have to do so much drilling, if any. The installation should be fairly easy if you follow these steps. - Start with the front bracket when you attach the boards to the brackets, -When you're done, push the boards in firmly. -Go to the rear bracket, do the two center brackets last. -Hand-tighten fasteners until all your brackets and running boards are attached where they should be. -Once you are sure everything is in its proper place, tighten all fasteners. Optional: Invite a step aerobics group over to test your work.

How do I remove the rockguard on my Mercedes SUV?

Removing a rock guard

Car accessory advertisers want you to think that installing a nerf bar is a piece of cake, and it may be…for a freaking mechanical genius. The rest of us get stumped at removing the rock guard, which brings me to my point. The rock guard can be a pain in the ratchet to get off. But you have no choice. It has to come off.

The plastic rock guard covers the area between the frame and the bottom edge of the body, which is where it should be. However, the bolt points where the nerf bar supports have to be mounted are behind it.

To get it off you have to pop out black little round plastic flush nuts running along the bottom. Then you have a couple of clips to remove. Sounds simple, right? Yes, but remember you will be lying on your back doing this. And, oh, one more thing. Dirt will be falling in your face, so wear eye protection.

Even if you manage to get the rock guard off, you might want to get help installing your nerf bars. Bolting them on can be quite an adventure for the mechanically challenged. There's not a lot of room to work and you can't see that well. You'll have to do some of it by touch instead of sight. In the end, it might be worth it to pay a pro $75 or so to do it for you.

What's best? Running boards, Nerf bars, or Steps?

Of Running Boards, Nerf Bars, and Steps

Trucks have come a along way since Tom Joad drove his Okie family to California. Nowadays you can't just slap on a running board and call it done. Your truck or SUV not only has to work hard, it has to look good. You have to ask yourself, Do you want a running board, a Nerf bar, or steps? What's the diff, you ask? Running Boards traditionally provide a much wider step area than do Nerf bars. Truck hoop steps (no relation to hoop earrings), however, can make it easier to get in and out of your vehicle. (if that is your thing). What's more, Nerf bars now come in a wider 4" oval vs. 3" round step, which gives you more step area than traditional step bars. In the end, it all boils down to style. Because as we all know, “Looking good is better than working hard.”

Why should I add step bars to my truck?

High steppin'

A lot of today's pickups and SUVs are built a little too high off the ground for many of the littler people among us. Even some middle-sized folk sometimes need a hand to clamber into their seats. And that, boys and girls, is why the side step was invented. These U-shaped beauties can be installed on any vehicle, so as to allow the smallest among us to get in and out of a single door with ease. Steps come in various lengths and footprints. The size of a step depends on who needs to climb into your vehicle. But just so you know, a larger footprint works better for people in high-heels. (Nudge, nudge; wink, wink.)

What's the story on Nerf bars?

Nerf Bar

If you are looking to add style and substance to your phat ride, why step when you can nerf? Nerf bars are a styling step above your standard step bar. And they look way fly (or is it phly?). Since tubular nerf bars are a lot longer than most steps, one bar on a three- or four-door pickup, van or SUV can provide an step up for people getting into the front and/or rear door. But that's not all. Nerf bars can protect your vehicle's paint job from careless car door openers in parking lots.

hopw do i clean my metal steps

Keep Metal Steps Safe

Metal steps bars, nerf bars and running boards can become unsafe when wet. Even though some types of steps come with either a tread strip or may be designed to minimize the accidental slip, some do not perform as intended. Generally, these steps and running boards very easy to clean, but can become very slick, too, especially if they do have the tread strip. Never use a wax or polish on any plastic surface, this will give a chalky and dry look to the plastic and is very hard to remove.

what is the best way to care for my running boards

Caring For Your Running Boards

Though you may keep your truck, SUV or van looking great, running boards, steps and nerf bars may need a little more attention when it comes to cleaning and protecting them. The road wreaks havoc on running boards, steps bars and nerf bars.

  • If your running board is plastic or made from a polymer material, (something other than metal), you can clean the running board with a light degreaser. Dilute the degreaser by creating a mixture of half water and half degreaser in any spray bottle. Hint: do not use the degreaser at your local car wash; these are mostly caustic and will cause your running boards to fade very quickly.
  • Using a rag or cloth, clean the entire running board. The inside of the running boards tend to be the dirtiest.
  • After the running boards are clean, always apply a protectant. Be careful not to apply any silicone based dressing to the step area of the running board, this will cause the board to become very slippery.

What kinds of step bars are there?

Step Barology 101

Steps come in various lengths and footprints, and are made from all kinds of different materials. You can find steps made of steel, chrome, aluminum, diamond plate and injection-molded plastic. Some of the plastic ones can be painted to match the color of your vehicle. All side steps have some type of non-skid surface; some feature a wraparound rubber tread area. If you like to see where you are stepping at night, you can get a step with a built-in light. (What will they think of next?) Finally, the size of a step depends on who needs to climb into your vehicle. But just so you know, a larger footprint works better for people in high-heels. (Nudge, nudge; wink, wink.)

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Auto Accessories Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.