Choosing the Right Step Bars or Running Boards for Your Truck

step bar or running board

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Selecting the right step bars or running boards is crucial when enhancing your truck functionally and aesthetically. These accessories provide a sturdy step for easy entry and exit, protect your vehicle’s sides from road debris, and improve its overall look. At OMNI Garage, we understand the importance of finding the perfect match for your truck, whether you prioritize rugged functionality, sleek style, or a balance of both. Our guide will walk you through the various types of available step bars and running boards, discussing their materials, designs, and benefits to different truck models and lifestyles. 

The Differences Between Step Bars and Running Boards

Running boards and step bars serve similar purposes but have distinct differences in design and functionality. Running boards are flat, wide boards that run along the side of the vehicle, typically from the front to the back of the cabin. They provide a continuous step surface, making getting in and out of the vehicle easier, especially for trucks and SUVs with higher ground clearance. Running boards often fit flush with the vehicle’s body, offering a sleek, integrated look. They usually have a non-slip surface along the entire length, ensuring safety in various weather conditions. Amp Research makes a set that tucks up under your truck when not in use.

On the other hand, step bars, also known as Nerf bars or step bars, are more like individual steps rather than a continuous board. They are typically tubular or oval and run along the side of the vehicle. However, instead of a continuous surface, they have designated step pads at each door. Aries Oval Nerf Bars are a great example of this style. Step boards offer a more rugged, off-road look compared to running boards. They provide a stepping point raised off the ground, which can be advantageous for off-road driving as it reduces the risk of damaging the boards on rough terrain.

Do running boards affect gas mileage?

Running boards can impact gas mileage, though the effect is typically minor. This impact is primarily due to the added weight they bring to the vehicle and the potential increase in aerodynamic drag. Firstly, the additional weight of running boards means the vehicle requires more energy to move. This can lead to a slight decrease in fuel efficiency. However, considering the vehicle’s overall weight, this effect is usually small.

Secondly, the presence of running boards can alter a vehicle’s aerodynamics. They increase the surface area that faces air resistance while driving. This can lead to higher fuel consumption, especially at higher speeds. Modern running boards are often designed with aerodynamics in mind to minimize this issue, with many models being sleek and streamlined to reduce drag.

Overall, in most scenarios, running boards’ convenience and safety advantages outweigh the modest decrease in fuel efficiency. For those who prioritize fuel economy, opting for running boards made from lighter materials and with aerodynamic designs can lessen their effect on gas mileage.

Which is better, aluminum or stainless steel running boards?

The best material for running and step boards depends on durability, weight, climate, and personal aesthetic preferences. Here are some common materials used and their benefits. Aluminum is a popular choice due to its lightweight yet robust nature. It’s rust-resistant, which makes it ideal for use in areas with harsh weather or salty conditions, like coastal regions. Aluminum running boards are often found in sleek designs and can support much weight without bending.

Steel is known for its exceptional strength and durability. It’s an excellent choice for heavy-duty use, especially in rough terrains or for commercial vehicles. Steel can be heavier than aluminum and may require rust-proofing treatments in humid or salty environments.

When choosing the material for running boards or step boards, consider the typical usage of your vehicle, the climate you live in, and the look you prefer. For instance, steel might be the best option if you’re frequently off-roading or carrying heavy loads. Aluminum could be more appropriate for everyday use and a balance of durability and aesthetics.

The Right Step Bars and Running Boards for You

At OMNI Garage, we are committed to quality and customer satisfaction. OMNI Garage offers a diverse selection of running boards and step bars to suit various truck models and personal preferences. Our products are made from durable materials, ensuring longevity and reliability. Additionally, OMNI Garage’s expert team provides valuable guidance to help you find the perfect match for your vehicle, considering factors like design, functionality, and vehicle compatibility. With our focus on providing top-quality accessories and excellent customer service, you can trust that your investment in running boards or step bars from OMNI Garage will enhance your vehicle’s functionality, safety, and aesthetic appeal.