Running Boards

This guide will help you choose the right running boards for your vehicle and also help you to understand the various styles and benefits of running boards. Running boards, side steps rocker bars, and hoop steps are the main topics of our conversation and we might refer to some of these options in this guide simply as “running boards”.
Confused about the difference between running boards, rock sliders and nerf bars? We’ll try and explain each type here so that you can make an informed decision when shopping for your vehicle. Also be aware that there will be some overlap in the lingo of each type of step bar.

Nerf Bars

Nerf bars can be either round or tubes with a flat step that are usually attached to the truck’s frame or body with bolts. These simply make it easier for the driver and passengers to access the truck, van, SUV, or Jeep. The flattened step part usually is grooved for more grip for your feet.

Running Boards

Running boards are the most common type of step bars and can be thought of as similar to nerf bars. Running boards tend to be flat throughout and look more like a long step rather than a tube with flattened step sections. Running boards come in variety of widths, lengths and finishes to fit your style and needs.

What custom features are there in running boards?

Running Board LED Lighting

Running boards featuring built-in light fixtures are a popular choice among customers of all ages. As we all know it’s a common occurrence to exit your truck in a dark place where the ground or pavement might be uneven. Our running boards come with the option to have LED lights on the bottom and top with built-in wiring links to the vehicle’s door ajar sensors, so running board lighting activates automatically whenever doors are opened. Our installers can add lighting to nearly any type of new or existing running boards.

Power Retractable Running Boards

A luxury touch to your SUV, pickup truck, or other utility vehicle are stylish running boards with automatic retractable running boards. The running boards fold out when you unlock the vehicle or open the door and retract when the door is closed. This gives you a more aerodynamic appearance without the bulky 4×4 look of other step bars and running boards.

Rocker Bars

These tubular sides bars, known as “rocker bars“, are made from high-strength steel and are designed to provide protection for your rocker panels during off road activities. Since these bars serve the vehicle more than the passengers, the rocker bars tend to run close to the vehicle’s body with a very small stepping surface. These bars can serve as step bars to various degrees however, they offer a smaller area that’s best suited for off-road enthusiasts rather than your everyday mall crawler.

Hoop Steps

Hoop Steps (or side steps) are designed to allow easy access to the vehicle and can be mounted under any door opening. The hoop steps don’t take up much space and aren’t designed to run continuously down the rocker panel. This means that they will not make any significant visual differences when it comes down to overall vehicle lines. For those who don’t need full-length running boards and still require solid functionality, hoop steps should be an option.

Running Boards: Why You Need Them


Without an extra step to assist you, climbing in a 4×4 might feel like climbing into a second-story window without a ladder.

Running boards and sidesteps provide an easy and safe place to step as you climb in or out of your truck. These stepping surfaces come with grooves or other raised textures which increase the foot’s grip in all types of weather.

Running boards also help protect the doors and sides of your vehicle by keeping road debris and gravel that is kicked up by your wheels from damaging your car. This is particularly useful when you are off-roading, on trails, or on other unpaved terrain.

In addition to exterior protection, running boards help preserve your seats by cutting down on wear and tear from passengers sliding in and out. You can often see the damage done to leather seats of trucks and SUVs where the use of running boards could have helped reduce or even prevent it.


Running boards can be made of aluminum or steel with a raised diamond tread pattern and are available in either black powder or polished metal. Running boards can add a nice rugged look to your truck Jeep or SUV but there are also styles that can make your ride look more sleek and elegant, like the retractable running boards mentioned earlier.

Off-Roading: Should I Be Concerned About Run Board Damage?

Running boards and sidesteps can cause issues when your vehicle is crawling over large rocks, stones, or inclines and could be damaged if you’re not careful. Rocker bars are more appropriate for off road applications

What Effect Does Pickup Cab Length Have on Wheel-to–Wheel Coverage

“Wheel To-Wheel” and “Cab Length” are exactly what they sound like. A running board or nerf bar that goes wheel to wheel will go from the front wheel all the way back to the back wheel. These are sometimes handy for accessing the front part of the truck’s bed but are bulkier than the normal “cab length”.

Cab length will vary by vehicle (mainly trucks) and depend on your make and model. So if you have a crew cab pickup truck you’ll need a longer length bar or board than you would if you only had a single or extended cab.

Running Board Installation


The installation of running boards and sidesteps is simple and can be completed with just a few tools. Most trucks actually have pre-drilled holes specifically for bolting on accessories and for easy at home installation as long as you don’t mind scooting around on your back on the ground.

Note that while some boards might have pre-drilled holes, others may require you to drill holes through your truck’s frames.

Let Us Do the Dirty Work:

Lexington Lifted can install your nerf bars or running and save you the hassle and scraped knuckles. Whether you order them from us or from somewhere else, our team is ready to get your side steps installed safely and securely.

Nerf bars and side steps are the perfect addition to your truck or SUV. These aftermarket accessories blend perfectly with your vehicle’s exterior style, while adding extra protection from debris and providing a safe place for you to step in and out of your truck. Available in a variety of styles, colors and materials, we have the right fit for your vehicle.

 Call us @ (859) 800-5438 to schedule your install today!

Car & Truck Accessories

(859) 800-5438