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Dodge Ram Running Boards and Side Steps Basics

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Shop Ram 1500 Side Step Bars & Running Boards

Whether you have a hard-working work truck or a chromed out show truck, you'll be interested in side steps and running boards. Lifted trucks especially can benefit by giving you a secure step as well as the added protection and personalization.

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Side steps and running boards are a staple of American pickup trucks. More than just a means of getting in and out of lifted trucks, side steps and running boards add protection and style to your Ram truck. Consider the following questions, and you'll quickly see the perks of such a mod.

Why Would I Want Side Steps or Running Boards?

One of the first upgrades many should consider for their Ram trucks are running boards or side steps. Don’t think so? Why don’t you ask yourself the following questions about your personal truck; does my truck sit higher than stock, would I like added styling, safety and comfort while getting in and out of my truck, or would it be nice to have a step up that not only adds grip to muddy boots, but also keeps the mud outside?‚Äč

If you have answered yes to any of the questions then running boards and side steps got your name all over them. Side steps or running boards all serve to overcome these obstacles. You might look at the names we’ve been rattling off for the step options and you’re going to ask yourself what these names mean. Though, you’re pretty much comparing apples to apples in most cases we’ll give you a breakdown of each type of board you’re likely to come across on the market.

Ram Trucks: Running Boards

The term “running board” is probably going to be the first term you’ll hear on the market. A lot of times dealerships push running boards as an option on brand new trucks to give it an OEM look.

Ram’s never actually came with factory molded boards so it may raise your eyebrow and a few questions.  A good rule of thumb is that running boards are flat in style. They tuck up to the rocker panel more snugly than other options, and these qualities make for a more low profile appearance. These types of boards are perfect for those looking for the added comfort and utility without standing out.

Ram Trucks: Drop Steps 

A traditional drop step is a universal piece that drops down from the chassis of the truck. It provides a platform to use when stepping up into a lifted vehicle. They are pretty universal in application and are very straight forward.

Appearance wise, they do stick out on certain vehicles, which may draw you away from them. What if you need that extra step to get up into your lifted truck though? Not to worry; one of the most popular new trends are drop steps built right into nerf side steps or running boards. This feature adds that lower step for high-riding vehicles, and combine the utility with styling

Pay attention to the footing area on these types of side steps; they are usually rough in design. This is added safety for muddy boots as it allows unwanted materials to scrape off so you can get a good grip and not worry about busting your knee open.

This type of step isn’t just great for the guys and gals thrashing in the bogs either. We all know Rams are a workhorse, so the guys in all sorts of trades will find this type of step to be rather attractive. 

Ram Trucks Running Boards and Side Steps: Construction 

Added parts is added work, and if you live in the rust belt you really want to know what you’re getting into before you add on another piece of metal to something that’s going to see a lot of road salt. The good news in this department is pretty hot now, and everyone is trying to keep up with the trends, which equates to high-quality design. 
This isn’t to say you’re always going to get the best pieces for bottom dollar though.

Generally speaking both nerf steps and running boards come in two color options—black or silver. Black is usually a black powder coat, and the silver is polished stainless steel. Both options hold up well against the harsh weather conditions found all over the states. A lot of manufactures and consumers learned the hard way just why other materials aren’t being used, such as chrome; built from chrome, these running boards or side steps would deteriorate rather quickly due to road conditions.

There are other coating types that stand strong in harsh environments too. Textured black finishes are growing in popularity. This type of finish is super rugged in appearance and function. The textured finish is added grip and another layer of protection against corrosion.

The pretty parts stay pretty. What about the construction of these pieces? Well, you get what you pay for. Obviously if you spend less money pieces can be made with a less-than-perfect design. Ram trucks tend to see a bit of abuse in the real world, and you can’t have cheap parts breaking on you during work or play.

Again, good manufacturers take care of these concerns by making sure they mount well and stay mounted even when beat on. Welding is used minimally, meaning stamped brackets are used for better durability. And if welding is used, you will find strong quality welds delivering proven durability.

Ram Trucks Running Boards and Side Steps: Maintenance

Maintenance of your running boards or side steps is important to the lifespan. The durable construction can only do so much, so it’s important to thoroughly clean them as often as possible. This is no surprise nor is it a daunting task.

They can be cleaned and polished just the same as any other metal surface on the truck, and the stainless steel boards can be polished with appropriate polishes. It wouldn’t hurt to also properly clean the mounting hardware from time to time to prevent any corrosion.

Another factor to keep in mind is some applications will highlight themselves as “no drill” mounting types. This means you will be able to mount the boards to pre designated areas on the truck. It’s as simple as bolting them right on.

The types that require drilling will give specific directions on where to drill mounting points into your truck. If this doesn’t sit well with you, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Both can be done in the garage over a few hours, but any physical modifications warrant the help of a trained hand. 

Fitment includes: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, SRT-10, SLT, ST, Laramie, Sport, SXT, TRX, TRX4, RT, LaramieLonghorn, Tradesman, Express, HFE, Rebel, Longhorn, LoneStar, Outdoorsman, Limited, BigHorn