Are Running Boards Worth It?

Running boards can be a great investment. They off custom styling and added convenience that can really help out in less than desirable weather conditions and for passengers that are less able when entering and exiting the vehicle.

If you want to lift your truck running boards are worth it. Unless you’re on the taller side most people will find it very inconvenient entering and exiting the vehicle. Though while inside it is pretty awesome. So I answer your most common questions about running boards, side steps, and nerf bars.

How Wide Should Running Boards Be?

Typical running boards are typically 4- 10 inches. Some are available up to 12 inches wide. While some side steps can be a single tube as narrow as 3 inches, typical running boards will be in the 4-5 inch to 8-12 inch range.

Running boards vary as much as each vehicle on the market. A running board should be as wide as the support you demand of your vehicle. If you have a larger truck you may need a wider running board. If you have a less demanding truck with no lift you can get away with a shorter running board or even side steps.


Running boards offer a more secure flat step to climb into your vehicle and are designed as such. If you have a larger truck an automatic running board may retract and extend over one foot when you open your door. This may include double steps if you have a wildly raised truck and need some major lift support.

How Far Should Running Boards Stick Out?

A few inches should be the minimum. Running boards should stick out as far as needed for the driver and passengers to safely enter the vehicle. If you can stand on the running board vertically and comfortably this should be the minimum clearance needed.

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Some trucks will have a straighter door that will enable you to install shorter running boards and others may install deeper under the door. Consult stores with install recommendations for your specific vehicle.

Or just buy on, install them, and if you don’t like them then you have 30 days to return them. That is a good way to get the exact look you want for your truck.

Do Trucks Look Better With Running Boards?

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Jeep Rubicon Stock

Trucks do look better with running boards. They appear less stock and have a beefier appearance. They appear like a body kit that can make the vehicle look more aggressive and streamlined. This is typically more ideal as characteristics such as these appear on aftermarket trucks and stock on some higher-end models.

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Jeep Rubicon With Side Steps

The look of a vehicle is entirely subjective. It depends on the taste of the owner and what they like in a truck. Typically the more popular trucks appear with running boards and the majority have shown with their wallets that trucks look better with running boards.

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Jeep Rubicon With Running Boards

Are Running Boards Hard To Install?

Running boards are typically easy to install. They require few tools and little to no modification on your vehicle. They are completely reversible as well if you do not like the look or want to change the running boards in the future.

Typically they require you to attach them to existing holes in your car chassis and screw them together. Other models require you to drill new holes in your chassis and line them up to the holes or bolts in the chassis. This requires more aptitude and a second set of hands.

But it is still an easier job than say, changing a timing belt or flushing your brakes. With minimal tools, some concentration, and the right youtube video most anyone can install running boards.

Are Running Boards Worth It?

Running boards are worth it if your truck is raised, needs a different look, or you want a simple modification. They can add sleek styling and much-needed function to your truck for short people and comfort for taller people as well.

With a breadth of options available, you can add a custom set with color matching, automatic floorboards, sleek side steps, or nerf bars that can make your truck look like a premium trim or more expensive.

With few modifications worthwhile when you go to sell your truck, floorboards can give you the best chance to recoup your money. They are an obvious and worthwhile upgrade to your truck.

Do Running Boards Affect Gas Mileage?

Running boards will minimally affect MPG. They add weight to your truck which will make you get worse MPG. But they can increase wind resistance and streamline your vehicle.

Depending on the model they can improve or worsen airflow on the bottom and sides of your vehicle. Overall the weight addition and wind drag effect would be minimal on MPG.

Do Running Boards Prevent Rust?

Rust is the effect of moisture on exposed pieces of metal. Running boards will not prevent rust in a measurable way on your vehicle.

Can You Remove Running Boards?

You can remove running boards as easily as you can install them. Usually, they require you to loosen a few nuts and bolts and the running boards will fall off. With some wrenches or the right set of pliers, you can do this quite easily.

Consult the manual that came with your running boards or review the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions on removal. Some can be more complicated if they have lights, cameras, or sensors installed as well. There may be additional steps needed to prevent future damage to electrical cables or exposed parts after removal.

Do Running Boards Reduce Ground Clearance?

Typically running boards do not reduce ground clearance. Though with some larger running boards you can lower ground clearance if they require a lower installation point. They can attach to the frame and cause a low point. This can be a good thing as there would be less damage to other more crucial parts of your frame with a lower point of contact on the running boards.

Are Running Boards Worth It, Are Running Boards Worth It?, Mad Digi

Typically with lowered vehicles, running boards are purely aesthetic and they are not needed to function in any way as the difference in height between the ground and floorboard is minimal. Some running boards install flush to the vehicle and can offer sexy styling with minimal function.

Why Is It Called A Nerf Bar?

A Nerf Bar is a protective bar on the sides of an off-road racing vehicle to protect it when making contact with another truck when passing. Much like a side step, it is added protection.

In truck races like the Baja 500, when a truck passes another truck and makes contact it is called “nerfing”. So to protect the vehicle’s panels, bumpers, and tires a protective bar is installed on the sides. This is called a nerf bar.

What Is The Difference Between Running Boards And Side Steps?

Running boards are flat wide steps that offer a larger platform of support to step into your vehicle. Side steps are more compact supports that are tucked away and offer a more minimal addition.

Are Running Boards Worth It, Mad Digi

A running board is typically larger and bulkier. A side step sometimes is almost hidden. Side steps are typically cheaper. Running boards have more options. Running boards are offered on more vehicles. Side steps are better for lowered vehicles. Running boards are better for lifted vehicles.


If you have a certain preference you may be able to find a side step or running board for any set up you desire and the above is a moot point. For budget and unmodified aftermarket parts, the above-described differences should be assumed.

What Do Running Boards Attach To?

Running boards attach to the frame of the truck. They come with custom mounting brackets that are bolted to existing holes drilled by the manufacturer or in some cases require drilling of the frame.

The running board is attached to the mounting bracket and the mounting bracket is attached to the frame running the length of the car or truck.

How Much Are Truck Running Boards?

Truck running boards will cost around $120 all the way up to a couple of thousand dollars. There are many models to choose from. From basic models to models that have all the bells and whistles are available.

Depending on what you want you can spend as much as you want on a custom set of running boards that have sensors to extend, are connected to airbags that can lower your vehicle. Color options and much more can be included if you don’t mind opening your wallet.

Running boards can be a quick, safe, and stylish addition to your car or truck. They offer a level of safety and style that do not come stock on most models. When selling your car they can be a difference between a sale and tire kickers.

They usually offer more convenience and safety than the price they warrant. They can be a worthwhile investment in the long run for you and your passengers and serious thought should be given when approaching whether running boards are worth it or not.

For Mudflap running boards are worth it 100%.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty.