Not every vehicle needs running boards. So, first let’s start with the basics. Shapes, styles and finishes of running boards vary, based on the manufacturer and design. But, as a rule, a running board is a rectangular flat metal board that is normally mounted to the frame close to the rocker panels on the side of a vehicle.
Normally, sedans and sporty vehicles do not have running boards, so you will find them on trucks, SUVs and other vehicles with greater ride height.
Why do you need running boards?
The main purpose of this accessory is to give the driver and passengers extra assistance when they get in or out of the vehicle. Besides, modern running boards provide extra grip for people in slippery conditions.
You may find simple running boards and more sophisticated ones, that come equipped with LEDs for additional visibility or running boards with retractable mechanism.
How Do Running Board Work?
Normally, the running boards attach to the frame of a truck or SUV with brackets. The installation usually does not require cutting or drilling as the boards bolt to the brackets, and brackets bolt to the holes that are already in the frame from the factory.
Depending on the style and design of running boards, you may find products that feature a rubberized portion on the top part, in order to provide extra grip and traction when it’s slippery.
What are the best running boards?
Just like every aftermarket car product, running boards come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are manufactured from different materials.
- Based on the feed reviews of the US car owners, the best running boards are manufactured from tempered steel.
- Aluminum running boards are lightweight and will not rust or corrode, yet scratches and chips will show up soon, as aluminum is softer than steel.
- Powder coated running boards are popular and affordable. Yet, once there appears a gap in the coating, the running boards may rust.
- If you are thinking of retractable running boards, note, that they are more expensive and installation will be way more comlex, than just getting the boards bolted to the frame.
- Retractable running boards are attached to a motor, that is activated by the ignition switch. Normally, the motor is fitted at the front of the passenger compartment. Alternatively, the location may be at the rear of the engine bay.
Why Do Running Boards Fail?
There are several reasons for this. Primarily, the reasons why running boards may fail depend on the type of running boards you have and on the weather conditions you live in.
- Since running boards protrude from the side of the vehicle due to the nature of this product, they may get damaged by stones, obstacles and road debris, or other vehicles.
- If you have retractable running boards, the motor motor can fail.
- In case your running boards feature rubber on top, the rubber can deteriorate with extended use.
- Metal running boards can rust or corrode due to the moisture and/or road salt.