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2013 Dodge Ram 1500 Wheel to Wheel Nerf Bars & Running Boards
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Side Step Variations
Side steps come in several variations, including style, color, length, and more! Each variation has unique benefits, lending itself to different builds and applications.
Running Boards: A wide and flat step surface that offers maximum assistance with climbing into a vehicle. Running boards come in power-retractable and fixed position variations.
Nerf Bars: Nerf Bars feature off-road inspired styling, typically consisting of a low-profile tubular main structure, with or without welded-on drop steps to ease access into the cab.
Hoop Steps: Hoop steps are similar to nerf bars, so much so that the terms are commonly interchanged. These steps feature a low-profile main tube that tucks tightly against the rocker panels. Welded-on drop steps protrude under each door for easy access into the cab.
Sliders: Sliders serve two primary functions: easing entry into the cab and protecting your vehicle’s rockers against damage from obstacles on the trail. These steps are traditionally manufactured from steel for superior durability and impact resistance.
Nerf bars and running boards come in two length varieties: cab-length and wheel-to-wheel.
Cab length steps span only the length of your vehicle’s cab, assisting passengers with entry. Alternatively, wheel-to-wheel steps stretch from the rear of your vehicle’s front tires to the front of your vehicle’s rear tires, spanning the wheelbase.
While cab length and wheel-to-wheel are relatively synonymous on most Jeeps and SUVs, as the passenger cabin stretches from wheel to wheel, the differences become apparent when ordering steps for a pickup. Wheel-to-wheel steps often feature an additional step surface or drop step just before the rear tires, improving bed access. These steps are ideal for use on work trucks or pickups that regularly haul, providing easy access to tool boxes and other cargo.
Material and Finish
Side steps come in several material constructions, mostly alloys, and some with rugged ABS plastic step pads for additional grip. The most common materials include:
Steel: Rugged and durable; steel is arguably the toughest alloy on the list, but also the heaviest and most corrosion-prone.
Aluminum: Aluminum side steps are lightweight and dependable, featuring excellent corrosion resistance and relatively high strength, though not as stout as comparable steel or stainless steel steps.
Stainless Steel: A durable, corrosion-resistant iron alloy featuring a high chromium content, preventing rust and scaling. This alloy is also high-strength, making it an excellent choice for steps, bumpers, and exhausts.
Finishes also vary, though the most common are polished, chrome-plated, painted, and powder coated.
Polished: Many aluminum and stainless steel steps aren’t coated and, instead, are left raw and polished, producing a remarkably lustrous finish. While polished stainless steel requires little maintenance or upkeep, polished aluminum requires routine polishing to retain the bright finish.
Brushed: Brushed finishes refer to raw corrosion-resistant alloys with long sanding marks along the step's surface, producing a grain similar to stainless steel appliances. This finish hides scuffs and dings far better than polished finishes.
Chrome-Plated: Chrome plating refers to the process of electroplating a thin layer of chromium onto another alloy, traditionally steel. This finish is highly corrosion-resistant and produces a lustrous shine, making it popular for automotive bumpers, exhaust tips, and side steps.
Powder Coated: Powder coating is the process of applying an electrostatically charged polymer powder to an alloy and baking the product at high temperatures, which melts and bonds the pigment to the underlying metal. The resulting finish is extremely durable, resisting chips, abrasions, oil, and chemicals.
Painted: These parts have been painted with standard automotive-grade paint, providing a corrosion-resistant finish. Though not as durable as powder coating, painted finishes can last a vehicle's lifetime if properly cared for.