Running boards or side steps: what's the variation between the two? That may be evident to some, but what differentiates a round side bar from an oval one? How would you know if you like a "cab-length" or "wheel-to-wheel" length side step? If you're shopping for running boards or side steps for your truck or SUV, the terminology may be foreign to you. Browse through our useful glossary, so that you can make a savvy buying decision when you visit our Running Boards & Step Bars section.
"Cab length running boards" or side steps extend beneath the door(s) of the cab (passenger compartment) on both sides. While they might not entirely cover the complete length of every door, they are long enough to provide a step under each door for entry and exit.
"Drop step bars" are a type of side bar or side step. They include a "second level" of bars or steps. In practicality, they allow the primary side bar to be mounted adjacent to the body for style, and the "drop step" drops out from there to serve as a practical foot step.
"Individual side steps", are designed in a fashion to allow room for only one foot at a time. These are mounted directly under door openings to facilitate entry and exit of the vehicle.
"Integrated running boards" work just like any other running board, but add end pieces which will integrate the board with the vehicle's wheel openings.
"Lighted running boards" offer built-in illumination, either as individual lights or arranged in a row. The lights serve as a visual effect and as an assist when entering or exiting the vehicle in the dark. Installation requires some electrical work, so please consult a professional.
"Nerf bars" means any tubular shaped devices fitted to cars and trucks. This term may refer to other items such as bumpers. The term “Nerf Bars” is further used interchangeably with round or oval side steps or step bars.
"Oval tube side steps", when looked at from a side angle, are made from an oval tube. They’re a great trade-off between a flat running board and a round tube side step providing classy looks while offering a slightly broader and more secure foot step area.
"Retractable side steps" are electrically-powered side steps. While driving, they pull back out of sight, below the vehicle's rocker panels. When necessary, they electrically extend outward allowing them to function as footsteps.
"Rocker bars" are tubular side bars precisely designed to operate both as side steps and as vehicle body protection for off-road vehicles.
"Running boards" are wide, flat boards installed below the vehicle's doors. Mounted close enough to the rocker panels so there is little to no gap between the vehicle and the running board. This design often provides the widest foot step area.
"Side bars" also known as "side steps" or "step bars" are the common names you’’ encounter being used when describing any tubes, bars, or rails installed as footsteps along the side of a truck or SUV.
"Sport tubes" look similar to round or oval tube side steps. But they sit closer to the vehicle's body, and are for aesthetic purposes only. They do not provide a foot step area, just stylish looks.
"Wheel-to-wheel running boards" or side steps come out from the front wheel opening and extend to the rear wheel opening. Commonly used on trucks, they serve the added benefit of providing a step in order to access the pickup truck bed.