The Importance of Having Running Boards on your Truck or SUV
Running boards are located at the bottom of vehicles (on either or both sides) typically at the foot of a truck’s door. They serve two main functions. The most obvious function is to serve as a step. This is especially important for taller trucks (or if truck passengers are on the shorter side).
Without an extra step into some of the taller models, getting into a truck will feel like climbing a mountain.
Protecting vehicles from various forms of road debris is a second function of running boards. When vehicles move their wheels kick up all kinds of debris (from rocks and dirt to other more destructive things like nails). Having a running board in place can block some of this debris from being thrown high enough to scratch and/or damage doors and side panels.
Another added benefit of running boards is that they can help to keep the interior of your truck or van clean. In this way, running boards can act as a doormat; a place where passengers can wipe dirt off their feet before entering the vehicle.
Running boards come in many kinds of materials, including:
- • Diamond-plate steel
- • Rubber
- • Plastic
- • Fiberglass
- • A tube-like structure that runs around the perimeter of the vehicle (this structure is popular on Jeeps)
Since running boards are used as ladders, it is imperative that they be kept clean and dry to prevent slipping that can result in injuries. Some running boards have a built in gripping surface that can help improve traction; however, these surfaces can wear out over time. An easy way to recoup traction once the surface wears out is by using deck tape—the same stuff that skateboarders use to get grip on their boards.
When running boards were first put on cars, they were typically on both sides of the vehicle, to provide sure footing into and out of vehicles. This is because vintage cars sat higher off the ground than our modern cars do. As later model cars were released, their ground clearance was lower and running boards became less needed. However, some vehicles kept running boards purely for aesthetic reasons.
Similar Vehicle Accessories
Nerf bars can serve one or both of the purposes of a running board; however, they are slightly different. Nerf bars are pipes (usually chrome or steel) that run along the sides of a vehicle. Nerf bars have small footpads that provide traction. Likewise, some trucks have truck steps. These are much shorter than running boards (they do not extend from wheel to wheel). Moreover, they are practical rather than decorative.
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