A running board is a footboard at the bottom of your truck or SUV’s door that you use to board your vehicle. Some vehicles have these boards on both sides, while others have them installed on just one side.

Choosing the right running board will not only help your passengers board your truck more easily, but will also enhance its looks. However, selecting the best running board is riddled with a lot of confusion and dilemma due to the many types, brands, and designs available in the market today.

Lucky for you, here’s a guide to choosing the perfect running board for your vehicle:

5 Things You Should Consider When Choosing a Running Board

1. Size and Style

The size and style of your vehicle’s running board directly affect your vehicle’s usability. The most common types include wheel-to-wheel, bed, cab-length,  and full flare running boards.

Cab-length boards cover the area between the front wheel and the rear end of your truck’s cab section. They are the most efficient running boards for trucks and are generally cheaper than others

Bed running boards are installed to fill the gap between the rear wheel and a cab-length running board, enabling you to easily access your truck’s bed. They also improve your truck’s overall appeal, especially when combined with cab-length running boards.

Wheel-to-wheel running boards, on the other hand, cover the entire area between the front and back wheels. They are the best for aesthetics.

Full flares are strikingly similar to wheel-to-wheel running boards, but they can also be used for SUVs.

2. Terrain

For cars that are driven off-road, choose a running board that protects the rocker panels without protruding too much to the side or downwards. An expansive running board can easily get damaged under a rocky terrain.

In most cases, fixed running boards will knock against obstacles. You should, therefore, consider automatic running boards, which can retract when you go off-road.

So before settling on a running board, ensure that it can hold up on nicely on a wide variety of terrain.

3. Materials Used to Make the Running Board

The durability and the visual appeal of a running board depend on the materials used to make it. Most running boards on the market today are made of stainless steel, aluminum, ABS plastic, and fiberglass.

If you want to add a long lasting metallic look to your truck without having to paint it, then aluminum is the way to go. It is a sturdy yet light material that will support a substantial amount of weight without breaking.

Stainless steel boards are ideal if durability is your top-of-mind priority. But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on aesthetics. There is a wide variety of steel finishes to choose from, including chrome and bead blasting.

For budget consumers, ABS plastic is the cheapest option when compared to aluminum and stainless steel. However, you will have to compromise on durability.

Fiberglass boards are ideal if you want a running board that is durable, light, and easy to paint and work with.

4. Safety

Electric running boards are generally the safest in the markets. With their retractable capabilities, you don’t have to worry about knocking your shin against the edge of the board.

They also come with a wide surface that is coarse enough to protect users from slipping when wet. You can easily see the electric footboards in the dark, all thanks to their LED light features. They also have an impressive weight limit of 600lb, meaning they won’t break easily.

What’s more, the anti-pinch technology used in power running boards ensures that they don’t retract while you are on the board. They can also be extended to a much lower level to allow kids and the elderly board the vehicle easily.

Without a doubt, powered running boards are your safest bet.

5. Replacement Parts

Due to wear and tear over time, you will need to replace some parts of your running board.

Therefore, go for footboards that have readily available replacement parts in the market. This way, you won’t have to buy a new running board everytime it breaks down. Additionally, it will be easier to optimize performance through upgrades.

Choosing the Right Running Board

There is no such thing as “the perfect running board for your truck”. Some models may be superior to others, but that depends on what you prioritize most. Therefore, your choice should be guided by your needs and priorities.

Good luck!

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