One of the best things about the HiLux is the amount of parts and accessories available due to its popularity in Australia. So whether you’re looking for off-road accessories, performance parts or anything in between, you’ll have a rather easy time finding it online and in dealerships. One such accessory, that can be used for both off-road protection and functionality are the side steps or running boards.
Running boards or side steps are located at the bottom of the vehicle at the foot of the vehicle’s door. They serve two basic functions, as a step and for protection. If your HiLux is lifted, then an extra step can be especially helpful for shorter passengers. Moreover, it will prevent any debris, rocks or dirt from hitting your vehicle, thus preventing scratches on the paint and damaging the side panels and doors. You can also use them as a doormat, where you can wipe off the dirt from your feet before entering your HiLux.
You can find side steps HiLux models made from many different types of materials, the most popular being rubber, fibreglass, plastic and diamond-plate steel. All of these materials have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. For instance, plastic side steps HiLux typically have a built-in gripping surface which is meant to improve traction, making them less slippery, but on the down side, they aren’t as durable as diamond-plate steel or fibreglass.
When side steps were first used on cars, they were used on both sides to provide secure footing in and out of the vehicles. This is because older vehicles were generally higher off the ground than modern vehicles. As time went on, vehicles became closer and closer to the ground and side steps became obsolete. However, some vehicles kept side steps just for aesthetic reasons.
A similar accessory to the side steps are nerf bars. They serve the same purpose, except they’re slightly different. Nerf bars are pipes located on the sides of the vehicle. They feature small footpads for traction. Similarly, some trucks have truck steps which are much shorter than side steps and are there purely for practical purposes.
Bottom line is, whether you’re personalising your truck for aesthetic appeal, functionality or protection, side steps can be a worthwhile investment, as they’re relatively cheap, yet reliable and highly functional accessories that serve various purposes. They come in various styles, can be made of several different materials and you can easily find them online and in car dealerships.