Having a truck with a high-ground clearance can offer a lot of benefits. Larger vehicles can be better suited to traversing unfavorable road conditions, for example. Whether you drive off-road or you live somewhere that suffers from bad weather, a tall truck can help you get through rough roads without damaging your vehicle. But as fun as being in the truck can be, getting in and out can sometimes be something of a challenge. This is especially true if you’re shorter, where simply climbing in the seat every day can feel like an acrobatic feat. That’s where running boards come in.
Running boards are planks that are outfitted on the bottom of the truck, just below the doors. They act as a step stool to help you get in the truck. There are also variants, such as nerf bars, which have a more rounded shape. The origins of nerf bars lie in racing; they were added to cars as a way to block against aggressive drivers who might try to bump, or “nerf” their competitors. Nerf bars are typically smaller and lighter than running boards and will have a reduced weight capacity. If you have an especially difficult time getting in and out of the truck, you may prefer the larger surface area that a running board offers.
An added benefit of nerf bars and running boards is that, like mudflaps, they help guard the undercarriage of your vehicle from debris that your tires kick up. Of course, not all running boards and nerf bars will fit every vehicle. That’s why we’ve rounded up a few different options. Best of all, many of the listings can help you determine if the boards fit your specific vehicle.
1. Tyger Auto Riser for 2015-2020 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon
This option from Tyger is designed to fit a handful of different models, including several years of the Chevy Colorado and the GMC Canyon. These running boards are designed for crew cab models, or trucks with four doors. The rectangular boards have textured stepping platforms that provide a more sure grip for climbing in and out of the vehicle. This Amazon listing lets you choose between 4-inch or 5-inch wide boards, and you can also choose between a matte black look or stainless steel. Installation is designed to be easy, as there is no drilling required.
Pros: Available in matte black or stainless steel, includes a five-year warranty from Tyger. Easy, no-drill installation.
Cons: Contains some plastic components, like the end pieces.
2. APS iBoard Running Boards
The iBoard, despite its name, doesn’t have any connection to Apple. But its design does take direct inspiration from the designs of the Cupertino company. These running boards have a sleek black and aluminum look and a simple rectangular shape. They’re available in several widths, including 4 inches, 5 inches and 6 inches. The running boards are suited for crew cab models of the Dodge Ram.
Pros: Tough aluminum construction without plastic caps. Sleek, minimalist look. Available in several colors and widths.
Cons: Included installation directions are vague and not very helpful.
3. Bully 4 Pack Black Aluminium Side Step
An affordable alternative to running boards are these side steps. Instead of two long bars, this option from Bully includes four individual steps. It doesn’t offer the sophisticated look and full-length coverage of running boards, but these steps are ultimately just as practical. You can choose between four steps if you have a crew cab or two if you have a regular cab. And, since it’s not a customized fit, you can use these side steps on various trucks or SUVs. The set includes mounting hardware, and the steps have a black powder coat. The steps also feature a textured surface for a more secure grip when climbing in the truck.
Pros: Affordable, fits various truck models, available in pair of two for a regular cab or four for a crew cab.
Cons: Drilling will be required in many cases. Included hardware isn’t that great, so you may end up buying your own.
4. Tyger Auto Star Armor Kit Nerf Bars/Running Boards
These nerf bars from Tyger have a sporty and aggressive look, with several round metal bars and two separate stepping platforms on each bar. The open design may help make them easier to clean, as dirt is less likely to get caked onto the rounded bars. However, they may be less protective than traditional running boards. This particular option is designed to suit the Toyota Tundra double cab, including model years 2007-2020. The bars are designed to be bolt-on, making installation easier.
Pros: Easy install option for various years of the Toyota Tundra double cab. Sporty, tough look.
Cons: Only suits double cab models of the Tundra post-2007, not crew max or regular cab.
5. TAC Running Boards Fit 2016-2019 Honda Pilot
These sleek looking running boards are designed to fit the 2016-2019 models of the Honda Pilot. They have a rectangular aluminum body with curved ends, and the top has a grooved pattern. The board is 5.5 inches wide, giving ample stepping room to comfortably get in the car. Installation is made easy with bolt-on mounting hardware, so drilling is not required. A five-year warranty is offered by the company.
Pros: Custom fit for various years of the Honda Pilot. Sleek, simple design. Easy installation.
Cons: Rear right side may not perfectly align for some, which will cause extra work when installing.
6. MaxMate Custom Fit Nerf Bars
This option from MaxMate has a rounded design that’s typical of nerf bars. The metal bars are made out of stainless steel, and there are four black step pads: two for each bar. The step bars feature a textured pattern, reducing the risk of slipping when stepping on them. Each step bar is 4 inches wide, so while it’s not very big, it should be big enough to comfortably get in and out of the car. These are designed to fit various crew cab models of the Dodge Ram.
Pros: Sturdy stainless steel and nerf bars with flat, textured stepping platforms for easily getting in and out of the car. A good option for various models of the Dodge Ram.
Cons: Some hardware components can arrive mislabeled, complicating installation. Steel construction can possibly rust, depending on the weather in your location.
7. APS Wheel to Wheel Running Boards
This option suits several model years of the Chevy Silverados and GMC Sierra. They’re designed for crew cab models, and they won’t work for regular or double cab trucks. As for the aesthetics, these running boards have a sleek rectangular shape with a matte black finish. It’s also available in a silver finish in either aluminum or stainless steel. At 5 inches wide, the boards have ample stepping room.
Pros: Sleek matte black boards that suit GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado. Made from solid aluminum without plastic end caps. “Wheel to wheel” length means you can access the bed of the truck from the side of the vehicle.
Cons: Limited installation instructions.