Are Power Running Boards Good?

Power running boards are simple running boards that swing out of the way when they are not in use. Electric retractable running boards are activated when a door is opened when a car is unlocked, or they can even be programmed to work when a leg sweeps past a sensor. These would be more automatic running boards. The true sign of luxury.

The best power running boards will usually cost over $1,000 to buy and install but for those willing, they can be well worth it. If you lift your truck you can get away with some sleek styling with hideaway retractable running boards.

They can be almost completely hidden, so when you’re driving off-road they won’t lower your riding height and they won’t stick out and hit a rock or bush. Power running boards are a complete luxury but they do offer additional comforts and practicality.

Power running boards are not as common as side steps or running boards but brands do offer plenty of color and styling options.


Can You Turn Off Power Running Boards?

Yes, you can turn off your powered running boards. You can program most power running boards to act however you want. You can set them to stay hidden, open and close on a delay, to stay open, or whatever you can think of.

If you want to set your powered running boards to stay retraced up and away when you are changing your oil, riding in extreme terrain, or other infrequent events you will be able to set them in your advanced settings.

You can also set them to stay extended you can do the same thing. There are situations where you need to have the running boards extended, such as in an action movie, or if you want to perform a sweet stunt for a youtube video.

How Long Do Power Running Boards Last?

Power Running Boards typically last for 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average manufacturer’s warranty covers the first 3 or even 5 years of operation, so you can figure it should last about 5 years or just a little bit more than that. AMP Research is the leading manufacturer of powered running boards and their warranties are for 3 and 5 years.

Some users report they last much longer. Others report that one gets stuck down and the other side won’t extend so they are stuck with half of one. The good thing is that you could be able to peg one up or down until you are able to get it fixed. But most users report AMP electric running boards to work well and should last for years.

How Much Are AMP Power Steps?

The AMP Powerstep’s most economical version starts at $1,075, $1,599 for the Powerstep EXtreme, and $1,899 for the Powerstep XL. Prices change and Amazon usually has the most competitive prices, though AMP’s website has MSRP pricing.

AMP also manufactures a manually retractable Bedstep as well. It is a single step that installs in front or behind the rear wheel on either side of your truck. It works great for stepping up and adjusting or securing things in the bed. They are best for shorter people, or taller people with lifted trucks.

Ok, I have made up my mind. I want some for my truck. But where do I start?

What Are The Best Power Running Boards?

AMP Research is the standard and the most popular electric running board. They are generally regarded as the most reliable (designed and manufactured in the USA) and the easiest to install and use. There are others as well, here is my list of the best electric running boards:

1. AMP PowerStepXL

Buy if you want the best of the best power running boards and don’t mind the prices.

Good: Probably the most reliable power running board on the market it boasts a 5 year or 50,000-mile warranty. It features a large platform, lights, extends 9 inches, and tucks away almost completely.

Bad: It’s the most expensive electric running board on this list.

2. AMP Power Step

Buy if you are price conscious but want the best brand.

The Good: AMP Reliable is excellent. It can be 100% hidden when retracted. It has a flat and secure 6-inch extension and a 3 year/36,000-mile warranty.

The Bad: The Amp Powerstep is the most complicated power running board to install.

3. Aries Offroad ActionTrac

Buy if you need the double step for the elderly/children.

The Good: It is the only one to offer a “double” step 4-inch at door level and an additional 3-inch platform dropped 8-inch. It offers an industry-leading 650 lb weight limit. Installation is simple and Ares offers a great 5-year warranty.

The Bad: It is more expensive than its competitors’ equivalents

4. Bestop PowerBoard

Buy if you installing is not your strong suit

The Good: It has a standard 6.25-inch wide platform that extends 6 inches. It connects only with WIFI and boasts the easiest 2-step install, and it comes with an industry-standard 3 years/36,000-mile warranty.

The Bad: WIFI only connection may turn some off


Are AMP Steps Universal?

Yes, AMP Power Steps are universal. AMP makes mounting brackets for all major pickup truck manufacturers and custom mounting brackets can be made for other carmakers. AMP also offers a universal mounting bracket that can be modified depending on your truck.

If you have a vintage raised Disco and you want to add some automatic Power Steps you can do it. Like with most work on a vintage truck you will have to cludge what you have to make it work. But it can be done and still look professional. The Powerstep tucks away and is almost completely hidden. Powerstep 2 is larger and has a lower extension and it is designed to be shown off.

How Far Do Amp Power Steps Drop?

The original Powerstep drop 6 inches. The PowerstepXL drops 9 inches, 3 inches lower than the original). They both support up to 600 lbs per side so two sumo wrestlers can even use the Power Steps at the same time and nothing will happen.

How Long Does It Take To Install Amp Power Steps?

2-3 hours. AMP Research states you need about 2-3 hours to install both Power Steps. From a difficulty scale of 1-4, AMP Research rates this installation at a 4.

You will need to cut, strip, and solder wires, run electrical wire, insulate with silicone caulk, tighten bolt and nuts, drill through your frame, and drink 3-5 beers during the installation process. It is complicated though it can be done in an evening or a weekend with ease.

AMP Power Steps are more involved than other retractable running boards. This is their biggest downside. You need to drill in the frame to run the wire and connect it to your existing truck’s electrical system. Sometimes this can take hours itself and require special tools. Though, when it is finished you have a hard-wired system that will fail less than competitor’s systems that use a wireless connection.

How Do I Lubricate My Power Running Boards?

Electric power running boards have moving parts. And they are exposed to the elements so with time even the best power running boards will need some upkeep. Apart from a manufacturer’s malfunction, you will basically only need to lubricate your running boards from time to time. Consult your owner’s manual for recommended times.

To lubricate retractable running boards start by spraying every pivot point and moving part with a spray lubricant (motorcycle/bicycle chain lube or something equivalent works excellent) every few months or when you hear or feel a lack of freedom of movement.

Electric power running boards come from the factory properly lubricated. Though with time and weather this lubrication needs to be replenished. It is a simple process that can be done in minutes.

Simply open your door to extend the electric running boards. Then at each point where there is bare metal, a pivot point, or a moving piece, spray lube. You may need to get under your truck or use a mirror to view locations under or behind the running boards. Otherwise, you may miss spots and this could lead to further damage that can be easily prevented.

Running boards can be great and they can be an easy upgrade. But what if you go off-roading, or you don’t like the look of them? Well, retractable power running boards will solve both of these issues. Electric running boards will hide away when they are not being used and the best power running boards will tuck away so you don’t lose any ground clearance.

Overall most customers are very happy with them. And they give you a sense of luxury that few single upgrades can give you. I personally love the look of running boards, but a powered running board that opens right before you step on it is just so cool. It would be hard to look away on a truck that has these. Or maybe that’s just me?

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Written by Mud Flap

Hi Im Ryne Sweeney, or, Mud Flap. I am a dedicated truck enthusiast. I like to argue how Dodges are expensive pieces of metal. One day I will start showering daily inside the house. My nights are long and my days are muddy.

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