Side Steps & Nerf Bars

Truck Works Has a Great Selection of Nerf Bars/Side Steps for Your Truck

Over the years, full-size trucks and vehicles have gotten taller; you may have noticed. If you own a tall truck or SUV, you and your passengers may need a little help getting inside. When you get tired of jumping into the driver’s seat, or if you simply want to improve overall aesthetic appeal, you may want to fit your ride with a nerf bar.

Whether you call them running boards, side tubes or nerf bars, these enhancements will allow you and your passengers to climb inside your ride with the greatest of ease. At Truck Works, we have a wide selection of nerf bars to fit your needs and will happily provide our expert opinions and direction. If you have specific questions or would like to speak directly to a Truck Works associate about which product is right for you, please give us a call at (816) 842-4222.

Not ready to speak with us yet and still exploring options?

We invite you to call us about our selection or if you have questions. If you’re down to learn a little more, stick around and read the information we’ve provided below.

What Are Nerf Bars?

Side steps, or nerf bars, are those steps below the doors of everything from midsize SUVs and Jeeps to full-size trucks and other vehicles. They provide some extra assistance with getting into these vehicles and also enhance overall aesthetics. Often an aftermarket add-on, nerf bars bolt onto a vehicle’s frame in a pre-existing mounting site, which makes installation relatively quick and easy in most cases. Some of the benefits of fitting your ride with a set of nerf bars include:

  • Added boost ­– With nerf bars, there’s no need to jump up into the cab again.
  • Safety – These bars allow you to step up safely regardless of weather conditions.
  • Strong materials –  Heavy-duty materials (e.g., steel and aluminum) make nerf bars very strong.
  • Variety – Nerf bars come in an array of styles, sizes and finish choices.
  • Easy mounting – Mounting nerf bars tends to be quick and easy.

Also, there’s generally no need to worry about weight capacity with side steps, for your everyday set of steps can accommodate more than 300 pounds at once. This heavy weight capacity is due to nerf bars’ heavy-duty mounting brackets and their dense steel construction. If you desire some added weight capacity, there are many side steps that come complete with aluminum support frames under the stepping surface that can hold up to 500 pounds.

Weather and Nerf Bars

Weather is fickle at times and can make footing unstable when it rains, hails, sleets or snows. With nerf bars and side steps, you don’t have to worry about slipping when climbing into your vehicle, for they come complete with treaded pads that provide sturdy footing in all weather conditions. What’s more is these pads are designed in a manner that directs water away from where you step. Further, nerf bars’ design helps keep the outdoors outdoors by providing the perfect place for you and your passengers to wipe your feet before entering the vehicle.

Types of Nerf Bars

Nerf bars are functional, stylish and come in six main types:

  • Wheel-to-Wheel Nerf Bars – As the name suggests, these nerf bars extend from wheel to wheel (i.e., from your vehicle’s front row seating to the rear wheel well). They are a great fit for trucks since they come with the option of adding a third step at the back wheel, which makes accessing the truck bed a breeze.
  • Cab-Length Nerf Bars – These nerf bars feature two step pads on each tube and accommodate both seating rows on your vehicle.
  • Oval Nerf Bars – Oval nerf bars are wider by design than standard nerf bars and give you and your passengers a wider, more secure place to step.
  • Sport Tubes– These nerf bars are just for looks and are not designed for stepping use. They are perfect for those who are looking to add some style to their rides.
  • Retractable Nerf Bars – These nerf bars conveniently come out when you open your vehicle’s door and then retract from sight when you close the door.
  • Individual Nerf Bars – Individual nerf bars do not use typical nerf bar design that extends the full cab length; a separate bar is placed underneath each row of your vehicle’s seating. Generally, front row seating gets longer steps while second row seating gets shorter ones.

Types of Running Boards

Running boards are wider and offer a bigger place to step than nerf bars; they can also accommodate more weight. Like nerf bars, running boards come in a few different types:

  • Standard Running Boards – These running boards extend from one row of seating to the next and have either a dark gray or black finish.
  • Custom Running Boards – Custom-molded running boards are shaped to seamlessly blend in with the specific shape of your vehicle. Their color can also be matched to your vehicle’s color in most cases.
  • Lighted Running Boards – These convenient running boards light up when you open your vehicle’s doors and go dark when you close the doors.

Nerf Bar Materials & Finishes

As we mentioned before, nerf bars are strong and made up of heavy-duty materials. Typically, their design employs thick-walled steel tubing—either stainless steel or cold-rolled carbon steel. Please note that carbon steel is only utilized for powder coat models. When it comes to their surfaces, nerf bars use a molded polymer, a powerful plastic supported by an aluminum frame that’s embedded in the plastic itself.

As far as finishes are concerned, you typically have two options: a smooth black powder coating or highly polished steel. Powder-coated nerf bars feature impeccable black surfaces that protect against scratching and chipping. Polished nerf bars, on the other hand, are made of high-quality stainless steel, which keeps them safe from corrosion, fading and tarnishing. Further, most of the nerf bars you’ll find come in dark gray or matte black finishes, however many models allow for customization with automotive-grade paint.

How to Select the Right Nerf Bar

As with other aftermarket components, you need to make a few considerations before purchasing nerf bars or running boards for your ride. These considerations include:

  • What type of nerf bar would fit your vehicle’s aesthetics?
  • What length of nerf bar do you need?
  • What weight capacity do you require?
  • What finish would go best with your vehicle?

After you’ve made these considerations, it’s time to select your nerf bar! If you’d like a little more direction about selecting the right nerf bar for your vehicle, call us for recommendations.

Matching Nerf Bars to Your Vehicle’s Looks

If you’re wondering which type of nerf bar would look best on your vehicle, consider the following:

  1. Nerf bars typically look the best with mid- to full-size SUVs and trucks. Our recommended brands include: Go Rhino, ATS, Putco, Westin, OR-FAB, WAAG, T&H and Dee Zee.
  2. If you want to color match your running boards to your vehicle’s color, we recommend ATS’s custom running boards.
  3. We recommend wheel-to-wheel nerf bars for full-size pickup trucks and workhorse rigs. Some favorite brands include Dee Zee, Putco and Go Rhino.
  4. For full-size SUVs, we recommend mounting cab-length running boards for optimal aesthetic appeal.
  5. If you want lighted running boards, we recommend brands like Westin.
  6. If you just want to boost your vehicle’s style, we suggest getting sport tubes.

What Length Should Your Nerf Bar Be?

If you’re thinking about what length of nerf bar you need for your vehicle, consider the following:

  1. Wheel-to-wheel nerf bars are perfect for those who need quick access to their truck beds.
  2. For an everyday side step, we suggest choosing a cab-length running board or nerf bar.
  3. If you require easy access to your vehicle’s roof rack, consider selecting a wheel-to-wheel nerf bar.
  4. People who don’t really like the look of or necessarily need steps running the length of their vehicles should consider choosing individual nerf bars.

What Nerf Bar Finish is Right for You?

Every vehicle and vehicle owner is different, so consider the following when thinking about what type of nerf bar finish is right for you:

  1. If you want to add a shiny boost of style, go for polished stainless steel nerf bars from brands like Putco, Dee Zee or Go Rhino.
  2. We suggest selecting nerf bars that match the finish color of your grille guard, roof rack or tail light guard (if you have these items).
  3. If you’re looking for more of a plain, function-over-fashion style, we recommend getting black nerf bars from brands like Dee Zee, Westin, Go Rhino and Aries.
  4. We recommend getting color-matched running boards for seamlessness in look and style.

What Weight Capacity is Best for You?

Nerf bars and running boards are strong by design, but if you’re worried about weight capacity, consider:

  1. Nearly all nerf bars can accommodate up to 300 pounds per tube.
  2. If you require more weight capacity, we suggest selecting reinforced running boards or nerf bars that can hold 500 pounds of weight. Brands like BAK offer these types of running boards.

Contact Truck Works for Side Steps and Running Boards

The team here at Truck Works stands at the ready to assist you with all your nerf bar and running board needs. Whether you need more information, want additional recommendations or require professional installation, do not hesitate to call us at (816) 842-4222 or contact us here!