Choosing the Right Side Steps
For avid 4WD enthusiasts who enjoy having high ground clearance for off-roading, installing side steps on your vehicle is a necessity. Without some assistance in getting in your 4WD, you can easily trip or fall and find yourself in a lot of pain! I see so many 4WD’s these days with aftermarket suspension that buying side steps almost goes hand in hand.
But, side steps don’t just offer extra support when you’re getting in and out of your vehicle. They also protect the doors and side panels from road debris that is kicked up by the wheels when driving on dirt or rocks. Plus, when it’s wet outside or you’ve got dirty shoes, you can always use side steps as a doormat and keep the interior of your 4WD clean!
Today, there are a wide variety of side steps available in differing styles, colours, and finishes. If you try to search online you’ll likely get overwhelmed with all the options at your fingertips. So, to give you some assistance in choosing the right side steps for your 4WD, we’ll be providing you with a step by step guide.
Your vehicle makes all the difference!
The majority of side steps are specifically designed for certain vehicles, so the first step is simply knowing the year, make, and model of your 4WD. If you purchase side steps for a different model, you’ll likely find that the bolts of the side steps won’t fit within the holes in your vehicle’s frame.
Additionally, side steps are manufactured for specific body styles as well, so a Toyota Hilux crew cab will have different side steps to a Toyota Hilux double cab. The reason for this is that your vehicle’s body style will affect the length of the side steps which are needed to fit your vehicle, especially if you’ve got your eyes set on wheel-to-wheel running boards.
Side steps style
While there are a range of styles and levels of support available for your vehicle, the most popular types of side steps are running boards, nerf bars, and truck steps. The following outlines each of these different styles and their purposes.
- Running Boards
The most popular and common type of side steps are running board which extends the entire length of your step pad. Running boards offer the greatest level of style, protection, and support and are recommended for large families who are constantly on the go. Running boards offers a uniform step with a wide and flat board made from steel, plastic, and sometimes aluminium.
- Nerf Bars
Nerf bars are essentially a long metal tube that runs parallel with the side of your 4×4 which were originally designed as a ‘side bull bar’ to protect your vehicle from debris and rocks when off-roading. While they also provide assistance when entering and exiting your 4WD, they are typically spaced away from your vehicle which makes them look rather distinguishable. Nerf bars are designed in either a tubular or oval shape and offer a flat, non-slip stepping surface to your vehicle.
- Truck Steps
Truck steps offer a single step up to your 4WD and can be positioned in certain areas depending on the size and style of your vehicle. While they don’t offer as much protection as running boards, they are the cheapest and most basic type of side step which can be permanently or temporarily mounted. Originally designed for trucks, truck steps have evolved to become relatively stylish and are available in different colours and finishes.
Whatever type of side step you choose, you should always ensure they are airbag compatible (ABC) before purchasing them. If not, your airbags are prone to being deployed whenever there is any side impact and this unnecessary deployment can cause injuries along with substantial maintenance costs. The last thing you need when off-roading is your airbags to be deployed because your side steps have hit a rock!
TJM Dandenong undertakes extensive engineering development to ensure all their side steps achieve optimal performance for off-roading while at the same time offering maximum protection and vehicle safety compliance. For more information on their range of side steps, phone their staff today on 03 9792 1116.