Driving around in a big truck, seated up high and looking down on everyone else, can make you feel like the most powerful person in the world. However, when you struggle to climb in and out of the vehicle, those feelings of power quickly fade into feelings of foolishness.
Luckily, there are several “step assistant” products available to help with that problem. Power Steps are just one of the products available on the market today, but because of their price tag many people have found themselves asking, are truck Power Steps worth it?
Truck power steps are worth it; they provide greater ground clearance, improved fuel economy, and a sleek, clean design. In addition, power steps stay cleaner than fixed steps, especially when off-roading.
Continue reading to learn more about Power Steps and whether or not they would be worth it for you.
What Are Power Steps?
Sidebars, nerf bars, running boards, electric running boards, power steps—there are a variety of products on the market today that were designed specifically to help people step up into (or down out of) a lifted vehicle. Even though each of these products shares some similarities, such as the fact that they are all designed to mount beneath the doors of your vehicle, they differ in many critical ways.
People commonly refer to any “step assistant” as a power step, but actual Power Steps are a line of products researched, designed, and sold by the company AMP Research. Because of their innovative design, Power Steps retract to sit flush with the body of your truck, allowing them to disappear when not in use.
However, thanks to a sensor that sits inside of the door frame, as soon as you open your door, the steps will extend to help you step in or out of your vehicle.
Are Power Steps Universal?
While most companies try to make their product as universal as possible, there is always a chance that the product will not fit your vehicle. However, most electric steps are universal to a point, and even if the company does not have the correct fittings for your vehicle, it may be possible to create (or have a professional fabricate) custom mounts.
There’s a lot of conflicting information swirling around in the virtual world when it comes to the universality of AMP Power Steps. While many places state that Power Steps are universal, AMP’s own website only lists four vehicle makes in their “vehicle locator” tool—Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, and Ram.
Furthermore, each make only has 3 to 4 models available to choose from. However, in another area of their website, Toyota, Nissan, and Jeep are also mentioned. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. Although many of the most popular trucks are listed, it would be impossible to say that AMP Power Steps will fit on all vehicles and shoppers should contact the company with any questions they may have about the product.
Will Power Steps Damage My Vehicle?
When installed and used correctly, Power Steps should not damage your vehicle. However, when not used properly, Power Steps could potentially cause damage to your truck. For example, many drivers have reported issues with carwashes ripping the steps off and causing other damage to the vehicle. Additionally, other drivers have reported rust building-up on both the steps and areas where they mount onto the frame.
Reasons to Buy Power Steps
There are many obvious, and some not so obvious, advantages to installing retractable running boards on your truck. Some of these advantages include:
- Assistance getting in and out: Power Steps can make getting in and out of the vehicle easier and safer for both you and your passengers.
- Health benefits: Power Steps may offer some surprising health benefits as well. For example, years of climbing in and out of a vehicle may impact your back and knees in a negative way but being able to step into the vehicle easily could reduce these effects.
- Keeping your vehicle clean: Power Steps can help reduce the amount of dirt and grime that ends up in your vehicle by offering a place for passengers to wipe their feet.
- May help prevent rust: Power Steps may help to prevent rust by folding over and protecting the rockers and frame of your vehicle from dirt, rocks, and salt.
- Better clearance: Power Steps retract, allowing you to maintain a better clearance than you would with other types of steps.
- Lighting: Some Power Steps come with lighting options that illuminate the steps and prevent missteps that could result in a fall.
- Easy installation: This is more specific to the Power Steps brand but being able to install them yourself will eliminate any hefty installation fees.
Reasons to Avoid Power Steps
While Power Steps come with some amazing advantages, they have their disadvantages as well. These disadvantages include:
- Seat wear: When using Power Steps, people are more likely to slide in and out of the vehicle, which could cause the side of the seat to wear more quickly. However, this is not a serious disadvantage and can be easily avoided.
- Tripping: Power Steps are great for short people, but taller people may find themselves getting tripped up on them. Additionally, if your passengers are not expecting them to lower, they may try to get out of the vehicle before the steps have lowered.
- Snow and ice: Depending on the design, some Power Steps are more prone to catching snow and water, and if it gets packed in too tightly, it could cause the step to become slippery.
- Cleaning: Cleaning a set of Power Steps can be a chore sometimes because lowering them in the car wash could result in damage to the vehicle, and the door needs to be open while cleaning them. However, some steps do some with an added switch that allows you to lower the boards without opening the door.
- Cost: Power Steps are a bit more expensive than other running boards, which may be a disadvantage for some.
Do Power Steps Last a Long Time?
Although some drivers have found themselves having to replace a mount or door sensor, most users have reported great longevity from their Power Steps. In fact, as long as they are treated with care and properly maintained, a set of Power Steps should last throughout the lifespan of your vehicle.
It is worth noting that some of the most commonly reported problems are a result of user error. For example, many drivers have reported damage due to lowering the steps while going through a car wash while others have tried to reinstall them on other vehicles.
Will Power Steps Void My Warranty?
Many warranties are written in a way that allows dealers and insurance companies to reject coverage if you have installed aftermarket parts on your vehicle. However, in most areas, dealers are legally required to prove without a doubt that the aftermarket part caused the damage before they can reject the warranty coverage.
Since this is often hard to do, and since running boards are quite common on trucks, most people do not have a problem with their warranty being voided. Still, it is always a clever idea to look up the laws in your area to ensure you do not void your warranty.
How Much Do Power Steps Cost?
The final cost will depend on the make and model of your vehicle as well as where you buy the product. However, you can find the starting prices for some of AMP’s more popular Power Steps below.
|AMP PowerStep Smart Series||$1,749|
Are Power Steps Worth It?
In addition to being able to step confidently up into your truck, rather than squirming and wiggling your way into the seat, the safety and protection that Power Steps offer make them worth the purchase. However, if you do not care about the innovation and added features that Power Steps offer, you may be able to buy a more basic set of running boards at a much cheaper price.
You may find these posts helpful:
- How to make a Silverado faster?
- Are Borla exhausts worth it?
- Are Smittybilt winches worth it?
- Are K&N filters worth it?
- Are Superlift lift kits good?
- Are trucks cheaper in Texas?
- Are WeatherTech mats worth it?
About the Author
John Cunningham is a Red Seal Qualified automotive technician with over twenty-five years of experience in the field. When he’s not writing about car repair, you’ll find him in his happy place – restoring classic cars.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.