What Are the Pros and Cons of Running Boards?

Pros and Cons of Running Boards
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Are you considering getting running boards for your vehicle? Running boards are a great accessory to help make climbing in and out of tall vehicles easier.

However, there are both pros and cons of running boards that you should consider before making your decision.

Running boards, also known as nerf bars, side steps, or step boards, are common accessories that can be added to a vehicle.

They are typically mounted on the sides of a truck or SUV and provide a convenient stepping platform for passengers when entering or exiting the vehicle.

While running boards can provide several benefits, they also have some drawbacks to consider before purchasing.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of running boards so that you can decide whether they’re the right choice for your vehicle.

So let’s get started and weigh the pros and cons of running boards to see if you should give your ride a leg up.

Different Types of Running Boards

Running boards are available in various types, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

The following are the most common types of running boards:

1. Fixed Running Boards

Fixed running boards are the most common type of running board available.

They are permanently mounted on the sides of the vehicle and do not move.

Fixed running boards are made of different materials, such as aluminum, stainless steel, or composite.

They come in different lengths, widths, and styles to fit various vehicles. Fixed running boards are generally affordable, easy to install, and require minimal maintenance.

2. Retractable Running Boards

Retractable running boards are becoming increasingly popular due to their sleek design and functionality.

These running boards are mounted on the sides of the vehicle, and when the doors are opened, the running boards extend out to provide a stepping platform.

When the doors are closed, the running boards retract under the vehicle, giving the vehicle a streamlined look.

Retractable running boards are generally more expensive than fixed running boards and require more maintenance.

They are also more complicated to install, often requiring custom brackets for mounting.

3. Power-Deployable Running Boards

Power-deployable running boards are similar to retractable running boards but have the additional feature of being motorized.

They use a motor to extend and retract the running boards, making them more convenient for passengers.

Power-deployable running boards are usually more expensive than fixed or retractable running boards and require a power source for the motor.

4. Drop-Down Running Boards

Drop-down running boards are a variation of fixed running boards that can be lowered to the ground when the doors are opened.

They are especially useful for lifted trucks or SUVs, making it easier for passengers to climb in and out.

Drop-down running boards are usually more expensive than fixed ones and require more maintenance, including regular cleaning and lubrication.

Features of a Running Board

Running boards come in different shapes, sizes, and styles but generally share several common features.

Here are some of the most common features to check as you look through the pros and cons of running board:

1. Stepping Surface

The stepping Surface is the main feature of a running board. It is where passengers can place their feet when getting in or out of a vehicle.

The stepping Surface can be made of different materials, such as aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, or composite materials, and can have different patterns or textures for improved traction.

2. Mounting Brackets

Mounting brackets attach the running board to the vehicle’s body.

The brackets can be made of steel, aluminum, or other materials and can be designed to fit specific vehicles or models.

The mounting brackets should be strong enough to support the weight of the running board and passengers and should be properly installed for maximum stability.

3. End Caps

End caps are placed on the ends of the running board to provide a finished appearance and protect the edges of the running board.

End caps can be made of the same material as the running board or plastic or rubber for improved durability and protection.

4. Lighting

Some running boards, such as LED lights, have built-in lighting to improve visibility and safety.

The lights can be placed along the length of the running board or at the ends and can be wired to the vehicle’s electrical system or battery.

5. Durability

Running boards should be made of durable materials that can withstand environmental exposure, such as rain, snow, and road salt.

The materials should be rust-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and scratch-resistant to ensure long-lasting performance.

6. Style

Running boards come in different styles to match the vehicle’s aesthetic and design.

The style can be influenced by the running board’s shape, length, and width, the materials used, and any additional features, such as lighting or end caps.

Running boards have several key features that enhance their functionality, durability, and style.

When choosing a running board, it is essential to consider the materials, mounting brackets, end caps, lighting, durability, and style to ensure that the running board meets the needs and preferences of the vehicle owner.

Pros and Cons of Running Board

When choosing a type of running board, several factors should be considered, including cost, functionality, maintenance, and aesthetics.

Fixed running boards are the most common and affordable option, while retractable and power-deployable running boards provide more convenience and a sleeker appearance but are generally more expensive.

Drop-down running boards are useful for taller vehicles but require more maintenance than other running boards.

Running boards are available in various types, each with advantages and disadvantages.

When selecting a type of running board, it is essential to consider the vehicle’s make and model, the intended use, and the budget.

Ultimately, the chosen type of running board should meet the needs and preferences of the vehicle owner while enhancing the vehicle’s appearance and functionality.


When it comes to the pros and cons of running boards, one of the biggest advantages is their aesthetic appeal.

Running boards are designed to enhance the look of your vehicle, adding a sleek, stylish touch to its profile.

Depending on your vehicle and the type of running board you choose, they can also add a touch of elegance to the overall design.

The installation process is also relatively easy and can be completed in minutes.

On the other hand, some people may not like the look of running boards, especially if they do not match the vehicle’s overall design.

Some may even argue that running boards detract from the car’s overall look, making it appear bulky or clunky.

Additionally, depending on the type of running board you choose, they may not always fit with the overall aesthetic of your vehicle.

For example, certain types of running boards are more suited for off-roading and may not suit the style of certain vehicles.

Furthermore, there is often an added cost associated with purchasing and installing running boards, so weighing all the pros and cons before making any decisions is important.

Ultimately, deciding whether or not running boards are right for you will depend heavily on your preferences. Running boards are likely an excellent choice if you prefer a rugged off-road style.

However, running boards might not be right if you want a more refined style that matches your current aesthetics.

As always, carefully consider the pros and cons of running boards before making any decisions.


The functionality of running boards has pros and cons that are important to consider before investing.

On the plus side, running boards provide extra space for getting in and out of your vehicle.

This can be especially helpful for people with physical limitations who find climbing into their car or truck difficult.

Running boards also provide a good grip on wet or icy surfaces, reducing the risk of slipping and falling when entering or exiting your vehicle.

On the downside, running boards may reduce the amount of available clearance between your vehicle and the ground.

This could be a problem when driving on rough terrain or in deep snow.

Additionally, running boards can add considerable weight to your vehicle, increasing fuel consumption and detracting from performance.

When weighing the pros and cons of running boards, it’s important to consider how much-added benefit they offer for your particular lifestyle and driving needs.

If you need help entering or exiting your vehicle, adding running boards might be just what you need.

On the other hand, if you’re mostly concerned about preserving your vehicle’s performance and handling characteristics, you might want to think twice about adding them.

Ultimately, the decision should come down to an individual’s unique preferences and needs.

As long as you take time to understand the pros and cons of running boards, you should be able to decide whether they’re right for you.


The maintenance of running boards is an important factor to consider when deciding if they are right for your vehicle.

While they offer a variety of benefits, there are pros and cons to weigh when it comes to upkeep.

On the plus side, running boards are usually quite easy to maintain.

They are made of durable materials that can withstand all types of weather, requiring little more than an occasional rinse with a hose or a damp cloth.

However, the cons of running board maintenance come down to time and cost.

Running boards need regular cleaning and waxing to remain in good condition and prevent corrosion or other damage.

Depending on the type of material used, this can be a time-consuming and costly process.

Additionally, running boards may require additional parts or tools for installation or repair, which could add to the cost.

The pros and cons of running boards in terms of maintenance should be considered carefully before purchasing.

While running boards are generally low maintenance and long-lasting, they require regular upkeep and may require additional costs in parts or tools.

Pros of Running Boards

Improved Accessibility

The primary benefit of running boards is that they make it easier for passengers to get in and out of the vehicle.

This is especially helpful for children, the elderly, and individuals with mobility issues.


Running boards can provide a barrier between the vehicle’s body and other vehicles, debris, or obstacles on the road.

This can help prevent damage to the vehicle’s paint job or body.


Running boards can add a stylish touch to a vehicle, especially if color-coordinated with the vehicle’s exterior.

They are available in various finishes, such as chrome, stainless steel, or powder-coated black.


Running boards are available in different sizes, styles, and materials.

They can be customized to fit a vehicle’s specific make and model, allowing for a perfect fit and optimal function.


Running boards can serve other purposes besides providing a step.

For example, some models are designed with additional features such as light bars, side rails, or storage compartments.

Cons of Running Boards

Reduced Ground Clearance

Running boards can reduce a vehicle’s ground clearance, which can be problematic for off-road driving or navigating steep driveways.

This can also increase the risk of damage to the running boards themselves.


Running boards can be expensive, especially for high-end models of premium materials.

The installation cost can also increase, particularly if the vehicle needs custom mounting brackets.


Running boards require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent rust and corrosion. This can be time-consuming and add to the cost of ownership.


Running boards add weight to a vehicle, affecting fuel efficiency and handling.

This can be particularly problematic for smaller vehicles or those with lower horsepower engines.

Safety Hazard

Running boards can be a tripping hazard, particularly if wet or covered in mud or snow. This can increase the risk of injury for passengers entering or exiting the vehicle.


Running boards are a great way to customize the look of your vehicle and add a little extra convenience, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of running boards before making a decision.

On the one hand, they can protect you from mud and debris while boosting you into taller vehicles.

On the other hand, they can be bulky and require regular maintenance and cleaning to prevent rust or corrosion.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you – but with the right care and maintenance, running boards can add style and convenience to your ride.

Running boards can provide several benefits, such as improved accessibility, protection, style, versatility, and utility.

However, they also have some drawbacks, including reduced ground clearance, cost, maintenance, weight, and safety hazards.

Before purchasing running boards, it is essential to consider these pros and cons and decide whether they are a good fit for your specific needs and preferences.

If you decide to install running boards on your vehicle, choose a reputable brand and have them installed by a professional to ensure optimal function and safety.

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