Many vehicles come with auto brakes, but nerf bars are usually something you have to add yourself. As far as accessories go, they’re useful and aesthetically pleasing. The question is, should you get them, and if you do, what should the finish be? To find the answers, you should start with the basics.

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What Are Nerf Bars?

If you’re familiar with running boards, you’ll already have an idea of how nerf bars work. Like running bars, they’re attached below truck doors. However, unlike running boards, they tend to be simple bars without flat edges for footholds.

Why are they designed this way? Nerf bars weren’t originally created as a convenient step. Instead, they were attached to race cars to reduce damage when the vehicles came into contact. Nowadays, nerf bars can be seen on larger everyday vehicles.

What Benefits Do They Offer?

“Nerfing,” or intentionally hitting another car to gain an advantage in a race, isn’t something most drivers have to worry about. So why add nerf bars to your truck? There are actually a few reasons.


There’s no doubt about it: nerf bars look cool. If you want to personalize your vehicle without going over the top, nerf bars are a great option.


Like running boards, nerf bars can actually keep your truck’s interior clean. They serve as welcome mats, providing passengers a place to wipe their feet before climbing aboard.

If you spend a lot of time camping, hiking or off-roading, you’re probably familiar with how difficult it is to get mud out of your carpet. In contrast, nerf bars are easy to wipe down, making them the perfect place to scrape off muddy shoes.


There’s a reason nerf bars show up on larger vehicles: They make a great step. Smaller passengers may have trouble climbing into a large vehicle; nerf bars give them an extra step halfway between the truck and the ground.

What Materials Are They Made Of?

Because they need to put up with a lot of punishment, nerf bars are made from durable materials:

  • Powder-coated steel
  • Chrome
  • Stainless steel

All of these materials are easy to clean, rust-resistant and difficult to damage.

What Types of Finishes Can You Choose From?

Once you’ve chosen your favored style of nerf bar, it’s time to look at the finishes. There are two main types: matte black and polished. Each has its own pros and cons.


Matte black is a popular option since it doesn’t show smudges. However, if you have a dark-colored truck, it can blend into the paint job.


Polished nerf bars are silver. They’re more likely to show smudges and fingerprints but make a nice contrast to most paint jobs. They also complement most trims.

Which Finish Is Best?

When it comes to finishes, it’s all about personal choice. How important is style versus ease of maintenance? Once you make that decision, you’ll know which finish to choose.

Can your vehicle benefit from truck step bars? In most cases, the answer is “yes.” Fortunately, there are many affordable options on the market and many different styles to choose from. If you’re interested in enhancing your truck, don’t wait — start looking for your accessories today.

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