Running boards make entering and exiting a vehicle easier, particularly with high ground clearance. They’re common in pickup trucks and SUVs.
Running boards may appear identical from the outside, leading you to believe they are interchangeable.
However, are running boards universal? Continue reading to find out.
Are Running Boards Common?
Not at all. Running boards are made to fit specific makes and models of vehicles. A running board installed on an F150 may not fit perfectly on a Jeep Wrangler or a Toyota Highlander. As a result, you cannot say that all running boards are universal.
If you’re looking for a running board, specify your vehicle’s make and year of manufacture. By providing these measurements, you can find a running board that perfectly fits your car.
What Is the Definition of Universal Running Boards?
If you came across the phrase “universal running boards” while researching, the above information may have added to your confusion. But don’t worry; this article will clear everything up for you.
Universal running boards are a type of running board that comes in various sizes and can fit in most vehicles. They are long enough to fill the space between the wheel wells. They are also sufficiently wide to board or exit your vehicle easily.
The distinction between universal and custom running boards is that the latter is designed to fit a specific vehicle. In contrast, the former is more of a label assigned to running boards designed to fit a variety of vehicles.
If you can’t find a custom option for your vehicle, you should consider universal running boards. Additionally, universal running boards may not fit properly and may need to be modified. When dealing with custom running boards, you won’t have to worry about this.
Regardless, universal running boards are available in a variety of materials. Durable boards made of aluminum or stainless steel are available. Universal running boards come in a variety of designs. There are numerous finishes to choose from.
Is the size of all running boards the same?
One of the reasons that running boards cannot be called universal is that they come in a variety of sizes. This is true for both the length and the width. If only running boards had a standard length and height, they could be considered universal.
Even universal running boards come in a variety of lengths and widths. As a result, the bottom line is that not all running boards are the same size.
Can Running Boards Be Installed on Any Truck?
One running board will only fit some trucks because they are not universal. If you want a running board for your truck, you should look for one specifically designed for your vehicle’s make and model.
Can we swap out the running boards?
Running boards, unfortunately, are not interchangeable. The only way to get interchangeable running boards is to get them from a car similar to yours in terms of make, model, and year of manufacture.
If you own a 2020 Chevy Silverado, for example, you can borrow running boards from another 2020 Chevy Silverado. However, you may have fitment issues if you get them from a 2018 Toyota Hilux.
If you have running boards from another vehicle, modifying them is the only way to make them fit. This is frequently more laborious and time-consuming.
How Do I Select the Best Running Board?
Now that you understand that running boards are not universal, here is a quick guide to selecting the best side steps for your vehicle.
1. Select the Type
Running boards are classified into two types: retractable and traditional. Retractable running boards have a mechanism that allows them to extend when the door is open and retract when it is closed.
They are convenient and ideal for those who do not want to drive around with running boards protruding from the side of their vehicle. Traditional running boards are those that are permanently attached to the sides of the vehicle.
2. Select the Size
After you’ve decided on the type, the size comes next. Running boards, as previously stated, come in various sizes and shapes.
Running boards are classified into two types based on their size: wheel-to-wheel and cab length. Cab length refers to the size of your truck’s cab. And a stretch from one end of the wheel to the other.
Running boards differ in width in addition to length. Select a comfortable width for your feet to step on when entering or exiting the truck.
3. Choose a Suitable Finish
The final consideration is the finish. You can choose a color similar to or complements your truck or SUV. Running boards are now available in various finishes ranging from chrome to painted, powder coated, and polished.
Is it necessary to drill holes for universal running boards?
Some SUVs and trucks come with factory-drilled holes in the chassis. All you have to do is locate the holes and install the side steps if you get the correct running board for that vehicle.
However, if no factory holes exist, you can drill new holes in the running board’s body. Make a careful note of the strategic location where the holes should be drilled.
If you purchased a universal running board, the holes may not be aligned with the holes on the running board. As a result, you’ll have to drill new holes. This can be avoided by purchasing custom-made running boards made explicitly for your car.
Is the size of universal running boards large enough to fit from wheel to wheel?
The size of most universal running boards will be indicated in the description or packaging. As a result, finding one that fits from one wheel to another should be simple.
When purchasing universal running boards, failure to consider size may result in side steps that are either too short or too long. Such a running board will be ineffective and unattractive.
Custom Running Boards vs. Universal Running Boards
These are the two main types of running boards. You can either choose those labeled as universal. Alternatively, you can have a custom running board for your vehicle.
Most universal running boards are inexpensive and useful when you can’t find a custom side step for your vehicle.
On the other hand, custom running boards are a much better fit and look better because they are designed specifically for that vehicle. You also never have to worry about compatibility issues with a custom running board.
Even though universal running boards are widely available, a custom side step designed to fit your vehicle is the best option.
Custom running boards have more advantages than generic ones. As a result, it is worthwhile to look for a running board compatible with your vehicle.
Considerations When Purchasing A Universal Running Board
When purchasing a universal running board, size is the most important factor to consider. First, determine the distance between your wheel wells. You can then look for a universal running board that fits that size range.
It will not fit if you purchase a longer running board. If you buy a shorter one, it will look hideous and will likely be ineffective.