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Choosing the Best Running Board

Educational  ·  February 9, 2023

Choosing the Best Running Board

Running boards are a perfect example of a car accessory that’s often overlooked and taken for granted. You’ll often find them on the sides of pickup trucks or other raised vehicles, acting as steps to make entering and exiting a vehicle much easier.

Running boards come in all shapes and sizes, capable of meeting any need or preference you have. You can choose them based on size, shape, finish, and the extra features they come with. The right running board has practical and aesthetic benefits, so you must the best combination of features.

Before spending on running boards, it’s a good idea to read this guide to discover the many options you have and help you choose the best running board for your needs!

What Is a Running Board, and What Is Its Purpose in Cars?

Before we dive into the best running board for your vehicle, let’s get on the same page about what they are and what they do.

A running board is a surface extending along the side of a vehicle, just under the doors. It acts as a step that helps a person enter and exit the car or truck safely and conveniently, especially if the ride height (or ground clearance) is higher than usual.

A typical example you’ve likely seen on Aussie roads is the Toyota 4Runner running board. That’s a perfect example because it’s straightforward, flat, and nothing too complicated.

However, not all running boards are created equal. In the following section, you’ll learn that running boards come in all shapes, sizes, finishes, and materials. 

Like most other car accessories, the running board has aesthetic and practical benefits but does not add anything to the vehicle’s performance.

Even if your vehicle doesn’t come with stock running boards, you can choose aftermarket options and attach them to your vehicle.

Each combination of running board features offers unique benefits that may or may not suit you. In other words, a running board that’s perfect for you might not be ideal for the next driver.

That’s why drivers must learn to differentiate between those options and choose what suits them the best.

You’ll learn how to do that in the next section.

How Do You Choose a Running Board?

Running boards come in wide varieties, just like most other automobile accessories. First, find out what's available in the market, then match the available options with your needs and preferences.

Here are the different considerations when choosing a running board for your car or truck:

1. Size

The first thing you’ll want to consider is the size of your running board.

Remember that you will install these accessories on both sides of your vehicle, slightly sticking outward to act as a step. So, the first consideration is how long the running boards should be. Some extend from the front wheel to the back, while others are 'cab-length', meaning they match the length of your vehicle's cabin.

Here’s the difference:

Besides the length, width is also another consideration. Most options are 3-5 inches wide to suit different preferences. Simply put, you’ll want a board that’s wide enough for you to step on comfortably without slipping.

2. Shape

Running boards can also take various shapes. As the name suggests, the most basic shape is something flat and rectangular (i.e. like a board). However, you can also choose tubular, trapezoid, oval, or hooped-shaped.

Naturally, there is some overlapping in the terms for the different shapes. Some places might not even call them running boards (e.g., foot boards, nerf bars, etc.) even though they serve the same purposes.

Shapes matter for three reasons, which are:

3. Finish

You can also choose a running board based on your favourite finishes. So, for example, you can get them painted any colour you want, polished, chrome, powder-coated and more.

These will also affect how the running boards look on the side of your vehicle by contributing to its overall aesthetics.

4. Extra Features

Nowadays, you can bet that even a running board can come with additional features. The most common one you'll find is additional lighting, where the boards have built-in LED lights to keep them well-lit at all times.

Besides that, you can also invest in retractable moving boards that you can pack away neatly when they’re not necessary.

These extras might be unnecessary to some drivers, but they could provide plenty of conveniences to others. So, this is undoubtedly a matter of personal preference.

The good thing is that whatever your preferences or needs might be, you can find a running board that matches them.

CarpartAU is an excellent resource for finding new and used running boards or running board replacement parts. Browse the Marketplace for deals on used parts or submit a request through the Part Finder. You can compare prices and options for running boards from the comfort of your own home!


By Ray Hasbollah

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