Whether you own a Ford, Dodge, Chevy or GMC truck, choosing the right accessories is essential. While custom grilles, running boards, tube steps and other accessories are more than popular, nerf bars remain one of the best ways to set off your truck with rugged good looks, yet ensure that you’re installing something that will actually give you some use.
What should you look for in nerf bars? What elements will tell you if you’re making a purchase that will stand the test of time? As you might imagine, it is essential that you choose high quality accessories; below, you will find just a few of the areas to consider.
How much weight can your nerf bars bear? Is the weight limit sufficient to make these accessories a viable option? Remember, you will be using the bars as a step into the truck, as well as to help protect the vulnerable sides of the truck from debris and obstacles. Therefore, you should ensure that the bars are capable of supporting your weight.
What materials make up the actual nerf bars? Does the manufacturer use high carbon steel? Do they use aluminum? Are the bars manufactured of steel overlaid with a layer of chrome? While each of these materials is certainly an option on the market, you should consider stainless steel as the most durable choice out there.
Aluminum can be a great choice, though these are very expensive. Carbon steel can be durable, but rust can dramatically reduce the lifespan of your bars. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is both economical and durable, capable of withstanding years of use and abuse outdoors.
Mounting Hardware Considerations
While the construction material of the nerf bars themselves is very important, the material used to fabricate the mounting brackets, nuts, bolts and washers is also of high importance. Many manufacturers utilize high carbon steel, with a coating of black paint over the top. This looks great and helps to hide the mounting hardware from sight. However, it might not be the best choice for durability.
A better option is to choose nerf bars that use stainless steel mounting hardware. Why is this? Consider the fact that your hardware will be exposed to just as much punishment from the elements as your nerf bars, perhaps more. Since they will be under the truck, they will be in almost direct contact with rainwater from the road, salt, rocks and other things that cause corrosion and wear.
If you opt for a set of bars that comes with basic carbon steel mounting hardware, you can find that your brackets, nuts, bolts and washers are incredibly corroded after just two years of use. Over time (a very short time, at that), this corrosion will eat through the metal, weakening the mounting hardware and causing massive potential problems.
Stainless steel mounting hardware is not subject to these problems. In fact, after two years installed on a truck, you will find almost no corrosion or wear. This ensures that you are able to get the most out of your investment. No one wants to throw money down the drain, but buying nerf bars with inferior mounting hardware is essentially doing just that.
Ease of Installation
The installation process for your nerf bars should also be a significant consideration. Will you need help to install them? Will you need to take your truck to a mechanic’s shop? Check the manufacturer specifications to find out the mounting bracket locations, tools required and more. You’ll also need to consider your truck – can you get underneath it easily? Can you do the job alone, or with a friend? These are vital considerations.