Ultimate Guide to Running Board Installation
Running boards for trucks serve a variety of purposes. They are a significant investment that can benefit the look and feel of your vehicle. But where do you start if you're considering attaching a running board to your truck? We've laid out some pertinent information to help you select the right running board for your vehicle and manage the installation process.
Benefits of Running Boards
Running boards come with some great perks for your truck:
- Keeping your truck's interior clean - A running board acts like a doormat for your vehicle. Passengers can get rid of dirt and grime before entering your truck or SUV's interior, thus keeping the inside of your vehicle clean.
- Help you to get inside the truck - Running boards prevent you from having to strain to reach the inside of your truck or SUV. This situation is especially the case if you have higher ground clearance.
- Protect the truck from debris - This is excellent news if you participate in off-roading. Often, running boards can act as a buffer by preventing dirt and grime from reaching and damaging the truck.
Types of Running Boards
Running boards are an excellent addition to your truck, and there are various types to choose from. Most of the difference will relate to running board materials and the additional features some offer, like LED lighting or electricity for movement.
Here are the different types of running boards to consider as you conduct your product research:
Traditional running boards: These stationary running boards are typically made of durable materials like aluminum or steel. They can come in various sizes, depending on the length you need for your truck.
Electric running boards: Some running boards come with a motor that will allow them to retract once you enter the vehicle. These types of running boards are typically more expensive than traditional running boards.
Running boards also are differentiated based on their look. For example, some have chrome, painted, and metallic-looking finishes, while others might have a more heavy-duty rubberized look.
There are also running board alternatives like nerf boards. While this accessory does have the same purpose, running boards usually offer more surface space for stepping than nerf boards.
Another difference between running boards is the material they are made from. The type of material you prefer will depend on durability and price. For example, aluminum running boards are more lightweight and are typically rust-resistant. Whereas steel is more vulnerable to water but might be more heavy-duty.
Steps to Install Running Boards
Before you move through the running board installation, always check the running board's instruction manual. Some may come with particular installation directions. Additionally, adding running boards to your truck may depend on your vehicle's make and model. We'll include some standard instructions on how to install running boards, but remember that the installation process may differ.
Step 1 - Gather all the Equipment
Open the packaging and take out the instruction manual. There, you'll be able to see a list of all the items that should be included with your running board. Check to make sure everything is there before you get started. If not, be sure to contact the retailer. It's also helpful to review the installation directions to know what to expect with the process.
Next, make sure to have the following tools on hand:
- Ratchet and socket set
- Safety Goggles
- Safety Gloves
Step 2 - Find the Factory Holes or Drill Them In
Look underneath your vehicle, and find the bolt plate underneath the passenger and driver side doors. Typically, there should be factory-drilled holes that may have rubber plugs within them. This step is where you connect the bolts on the running board. If there are no holes, you'll need to refer to your running board instruction manual to drill them in.
Step 3 - Add the Bolt Plate
Once you have located the holes on your vehicle, or have drilled them in, line up the bolts on the running board with your vehicle. Then, grab your washers and nut and use the socket wrench to secure the bolts.
Step 4 - Install the Brackets
Once the bolt plate is in place, it's time to add the brackets. The number of brackets on the running board will depend on your truck type. Start with the front, and attach each bracket with the proper washer and nut. Start by tightening these brackets with your fingers so you can easily change them later if needed.
Step 5 - Place Running Boards on the Brackets
Now add the running boards to the brackets. Make sure they are centered and accurately lined up with the brackets. Check that they are properly placed and do not block any entrance into the truck. You should also finger-tighten the exposed bolts, as you may have to return and readjust them. Once all looks good, tighten all the bolts to the brackets.
Step 6 - Handle any Extra Features
Refer to your manual if you have an electric or retractable running board or one with features like LED lights. For the former, you'll need to connect the running board motor to your engine, and the latter will require you to ensure the electric system is added to the lights. These can be complex installations, so make sure you’re following the manual.
Step 7 - Plan for Upkeep
Finally, make sure that you have an upkeep plan. It's important to clean your running boards and check for any damage regularly to prevent malfunctioning.
We Can Help You Find the Running Board You Need
Running boards come in many sizes; not all are made to fit every vehicle. So, whether you're a running board installation veteran or a first-timer, our team can help you find the running board you need for your truck. From stainless steel options to rust-resistant aluminum, we want you to find the running board that's the best fit for your vehicle and budget. Check out our varied inventory, which also contains nerf boards and truck steps, if those are a better option for your vehicle.