Part of the fun of getting a new pickup truck is equipping it with all weather floor mats and other accessories to customize your vehicle and really make it your own. With so many options available, you may not be sure which accessories to include. Here is your guide to nerf bars and whether you might benefit from adding them to your truck.

What Do Nerf Bars Look Like?

Nerf bars are tubular devices that extend down from the undercarriage of a vehicle, parallel to the road. They can be made out of materials such as fiberglass, aluminum, or plastic, but are frequently made of steel. The finish depends partly on the material used. Common options for steel nerf bars are powder-coated and polished. Powder-coated nerf bars are resistant to scratches and chips, while polished nerf bars give a vehicle an attractive shine.

What Do Nerf Bars Do?

Nerf bars can serve a similar purpose to running boards, providing a step up into a tall vehicle for those who may otherwise have trouble getting into the cab. Some nerf bars are equipped with a non-slip tread specifically for that purpose. However, that was not the purpose for which nerf bars were originally conceived.

Nerf bars originated in the world of auto racing, where they serve as a protective barrier preventing two vehicles’ wheels from coming into contact in case of a small collision at high speeds. On pickup trucks, they provide some protection to the truck body by deflecting dirt, mud, and debris. This can be especially helpful if you take your truck off-roading. Nerf bars may also prevent the doors of other vehicles from slamming into your truck and scratching the paint job.

Some people like nerf bars for primarily aesthetic reasons. They make the truck appear lower to the ground than it actually is, which can give it a more streamlined appearance.

What Different Nerf Bar Options Are Available?

If you’re interested in nerf bars primarily for their looks, you may want to purchase sport tubes. Compared to standard nerf bars, these have a smaller diameter. The ends curve under the vehicle for looks, and the weight capacity is lower than standard nerf bars. This makes them a good option for people who like the look of nerf bars and either do not need to use them as a step or do not require a greater weight capacity. Standard nerf bars can bear between 300 and 500 pounds.

Standard nerf bars can pose a risk of slipping and falling. If you must rely on nerf bars to get in and out of your vehicle, you may want to consider an oval-shaped variation rather than the standard round shape. The oval nerf bar provides a bit more stability because of its wider stepping surface. However, it may still pose a slipping hazard, especially when wet. This may be mitigated with a non-slip tread, which is another nerf bar option.

Online auto parts retailers offer many different truck accessories, including nerf bars and WeatherTech mats for sale. Buying online gives you the opportunity to compare prices and access a greater selection than is often available in store.