How to Install a Running Board

by Cassandra Tribe

It can be difficult to climb in and out of a truck designed for off-road use, or one that's had a lift kit installed. Running boards make a truck look good and serve a functional purpose as well. Most truck manufacturers design the frames of their large trucks with holes for the installation of running boards. Even if your truck does not have these holes, you can easily modify the frame for this purpose.

Lay the left running board down alongside the driver's-side door of the cab. Decide where you want the running board to hang. There is no right or wrong place; it depends on what works best for you. Once it's in position, look under the truck for pre-drilled holes. Go to Step 2 if you don't have these holes; otherwise, skip to Step 3.

Clamp the end of your hanger to the bottom of the side rail of the frame with a vise grip, so the hole on the hanger is held in place where you will need to drill the hole in the frame. Using the hole on the hanger as your guide, put a metal drill bit in your drill and drill out the frame. You should be drilling up through the side rail of the frame and not making a hole that is parallel to the truck body.

Use a socket wrench to bolt the ends of the hanger to the frame using the hardware provided. Make sure that you place the small rubber pad included with your running board package between the hanger and the frame to prevent metal-to-metal wear of the parts. Running board hangers are Z-shaped. You want the top of the "Z" laid flush against the frame of the truck. Push the bolt in from the top and thread the nut on from the bottom through the hole. This way, should you lose the nut off the bolt, the bolt will stay in the frame. Attach all the hangers you will need to support your driver's-side running board.

Attach the hanging strap to the hanger. The hanging straps are rubber strips that have two holes in them. Bolt one to the hanger using the hole that is towards the top of the diagonal of the "Z." Do not pass a bolt through the other hole. Do this for all the hangers.

Lift your running board into place and rest the bottom of the board on the bottom angle of the "Z" of the hanger. Clamp the board to the bottom of the hanger with several vise grips.

Bolt the hanging straps to the running board by passing a bolt through the pre-drilled holes in the top of the running board frame (the part that fits under the truck, not the part you step on) and threading a nut on to lock it into place. Do this for all the hanging straps.

Attach the bottom of the running board to the bottom part of the hangers by bolting them together. Repeat all of these steps to attach your passenger-side running board.

Tip

  • check Add mud flaps behind your front tires and directly in front of your running boards to keep mud and debris from the road off the boards. The cleaner the board, the less likely you will be to slip when stepping on it.

Warning

  • close Do not attach running boards to hangers hung from the body panels of your truck. The panels will not support your weight.

Items you will need

About the Author

Cassandra Tribe has worked in the construction field for over 17 years and has experience in a variety of mechanical, scientific, automotive and mathematical forms. She has been writing and editing for over 10 years. Her areas of interest include culture and society, automotive, computers, business, the Internet, science and structural engineering and implementation.