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Are Electric Running Boards Worth It?

Are Electric Running Boards Worth It?

Electric running boards are gaining popularity in today's automotive accessory market for their convenience and functionality. However, are electric running boards worth the investment for the average car owner? This detailed exploration will delve into the pros and cons of electric running boards, addressing their benefits, potential drawbacks, cost considerations, and whether they constitute a worthwhile investment.

Functionality and Operation

Electric running boards are side steps installed beneath vehicles with automatic retracting capabilities. Operating like power doors, they extend automatically when triggered by door sensors or switches as the vehicle's occupants approach, facilitating easier entry and exit. Once the doors are closed or the occupants move away, the running boards retract automatically to minimize their impact on the vehicle's aesthetics.

Pros of electric running boards

Enhanced Appearance

Electric running boards can significantly enhance the aesthetic appeal of a vehicle. When the vehicle's doors are closed, the running boards retract neatly under the car, maintaining a sleek and streamlined appearance. This feature adds a touch of modernity and sophistication, particularly for SUVs and trucks.

Improved Accessibility and Ground Clearance

One of the primary advantages of electric running boards is improved accessibility. They automatically deploy when the vehicle doors are opened, providing a convenient step for passengers to enter and exit the vehicle. This accessibility is especially beneficial for children, elderly individuals, and individuals with mobility limitations. Furthermore, when the running boards retract, they contribute to better ground clearance, reducing the risk of damage when driving over uneven terrain.

Simplified Maintenance

Unlike traditional fixed running boards, electric running boards are less prone to damage from road debris, as they retract when unused. This design feature reduces wear and tear and minimizes the accumulation of dirt and mud, simplifying maintenance and prolonging the lifespan of the running boards.

Improved Fuel Efficiency

Electric running boards can improve fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag when retracted. This aerodynamic advantage is particularly noticeable at highway speeds, potentially improving fuel economy.

Cons of electric running boards

Higher Cost

One of the most significant drawbacks of electric running boards is their higher cost than traditional fixed running boards—the additional complexity of the motorized mechanism and electronic components results in a higher upfront investment.

Installation Complexity

Installing electric running boards can be more complex than installing traditional running boards. The installation process often involves wiring and integration with the vehicle's electrical system, requiring professional installation to ensure proper functionality and safety.

Potential for Electronic Component Issues

Electric running boards may be susceptible to malfunctions or failures over time due to their reliance on electronic components. Sensor malfunctions, motor failures, or electrical connectivity problems, necessitating repairs or replacements, can arise.

Susceptibility to Cold Weather Failures

Electric running boards may encounter operational issues in colder climates due to freezing temperatures affecting the motorized components. Ice and snow accumulation around the running boards can impede their movement, leading to potential failures or reduced functionality during winter.

Are electric running boards a worthwhile investment?

Whether electric running boards are worthwhile depends on individual preferences and usage patterns. For those prioritizing convenience, aesthetics, and enhanced accessibility, the benefits of electric running boards may outweigh the initial cost and potential maintenance considerations. However, for budget-conscious consumers who prioritize simplicity and cost-effectiveness, traditional fixed running boards may be a more practical choice.

To further evaluate whether electric running boards are worth the investment, let's explore aspects to consider:

  • Resale Value: Upgrading your vehicle with electric running boards can increase its resale value. Many buyers appreciate the convenience and enhanced aesthetics these features offer, which could make your vehicle more attractive on the market.
  • Long-Term Benefits: Consider the long-term benefits of electric running boards. If you plan to keep your vehicle for an extended period, its convenience and comfort can justify the initial cost.
  • Personal Use Case: Reflect on your specific lifestyle and usage patterns. Electric running boards can significantly improve usability if you frequently carry cargo or passengers requiring easy vehicle access.
  • Alternative Options: Compare electric running boards with other accessibility solutions, such as fixed running boards, side steps, or grab handles. Evaluate which option aligns best with your needs and preferences.

Applicability and Use Cases

Electric running boards are particularly suitable for:

  • Family Vehicles: Families with children or elderly members benefit from the convenience and increased safety provided by electric running boards.
  • Commercial Vehicles:Vehicles used for business often require frequent embarkation and disembarkation; electric running boards can enhance efficiency and professionalism.
  • Off-Road Vehicles: Off-road vehicles typically have higher ground clearance, and electric running boards can mitigate the inconvenience of entering and exiting such cars.
  • Customized Vehicles: Electric running boards provide convenience and add uniqueness and personalization to their vehicles for enthusiasts of vehicle customization.

How much do electric running boards cost?

The cost of electric running boards can vary significantly depending on factors such as vehicle make and model, brand, and features. On average, the cost of electric running boards can range from $800 to $2,000 or more, including installation. Premium brands and models with advanced features may command higher prices.


Electric running boards represent a practical and worthwhile vehicle accessory for many car owners. Electric running boards offer a blend of style, convenience, and functionality that can enhance the overall experience of owning and operating a vehicle, notably taller models like trucks and SUVs. They enhance practicality and aesthetics, particularly suitable for those requiring frequent embarkation and disembarkation or seeking personalized vehicle enhancements. However, electric running boards may be considered a luxury item for users with more straightforward vehicle needs or limited budgets. Therefore, carefully considering personal requirements and budget is advised before investing in electric running boards.


Do electric running boards affect the vehicle's warranty?

In most cases, installing electric running boards should not void the vehicle's warranty, provided that the installation is performed correctly by a certified professional. However, it's advisable to review the vehicle manufacturer's warranty terms and consult with authorized dealers or service centers to ensure that the installation of electric running boards does not impact warranty coverage.



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