It’s no secret that 4WD’s are getting bigger and better with time, not only in terms of their overall size but also their height above the ground. It’s not uncommon these days to see group of trucks with massive suspension driving around the city. As a result, side steps such as running boards, nerf bars, and truck steps are highly beneficial and necessary for larger trucks. These 4WD accessories are convenient and useful by helping passengers to get in and out of large 4WD vehicles by offering a secure place to step.

There is a wide range of side steps available, and you might get a bit overwhelmed if start shopping for side steps for your 4WD. Side steps are available in a vast array of styles and colours that suit different vehicles and personal preferences. To assist you in selecting the right side steps for you 4×4, the following provides a simple step by step guide to help you make the best decision regarding your vehicle’s support and accessibility.


Make & Model

The year, make, and model of your 4WD will have a significant impact on the type of side steps you purchase. Side steps are designed to fit specific vehicles, so you can’t go and buy the first set of side steps you like because you’ll find that the holes in your vehicle’s frame won’t be flush with the bolts needed to attach them. The next step is to know your 4WD’s body style. Is it a crew cab, double cab, extended cab, or super cab? Your 4WD’s body style will determine the length of the side steps you need, particularly if you’re interested in wheel-to-wheel running boards for example.

Side Steps Style

Side steps have a variety of styles according to the level of support you wish to add to your vehicle. There are three main styles to choose from: running boards, nerf bars, and truck steps. Each of these options serve a different purpose and adds a unique style to your vehicle.

  • Running Boards

One of the most popular styles of side steps, running boards cover the length of your step pad and are ideal for large families where people are constantly entering and exiting your 4WD. Running boards are flat, wide boards that offer the largest support and are recommended for individuals with children and the elderly as the provide a wide and uniform stepping surface. In addition to this, running boards are more discreet and stylish then nerf bars and truck steps.

  • Nerf Bars

Originally designed to protect your vehicle’s sides and undercarriage from debris, nerf bars have evolved to become a long metal tube that runs parallel with the side of your 4WD. Mounted to your vehicle’s frame, nerf bars are often spaced away from the body of your 4WD which makes them look distinguishable. Nerf bars are generally tubular or oval shaped and provide a flat, non-slip stepping surface to your vehicle’s doors.

  • Truck Steps

Truck steps are the cheapest and shortest type of side step available that offers a step up in a specific area of your 4WD. Depending on your preferences, you can place truck steps below your door or on the sides of your box, and you have the choice of permanently mounting them or not. Truck steps are typically designed for one person to enter and exit a vehicle and are not suitable for large families.

Airbag Compatibility

These days, purchasing side steps with airbag compatibility (ABC) is highly recommended since unnecessary deployment of airbags can cause injury and significant repair costs. Non-ABC side steps will generally deploy a vehicle’s airbags if there is any side impact, regardless of its severity. TJM Australia ensures the safety of each driver by engineering a wide range of side steps that are compliant with vehicle OE safety systems. For more information on TJMs ABC side steps, or to browse their entire range, visit their website at