Do Running Boards Affect Gas Mileage?

Published April 26, 2024

Running boards, also known as side steps or nerf bars, are a common addition to trucks and SUVs. They serve multiple purposes, including enhancing the vehicle's appearance and providing a convenient step for easy entry and exit. However, one question often arises among vehicle owners - do running boards affect gas mileage?

What Affects Gas Mileage?

To answer one of these common questions about running boards, we need to consider a few factors. Firstly, it's important to understand that gas mileage is affected by multiple variables, such as vehicle weight, aerodynamics, tire pressure, and driving habits. Running boards may have some influence on gas mileage, but their impact might be relatively small compared to other factors.

Impact on Aerodynamics

One potential way running boards could affect gas mileage is their impact on aerodynamics. These accessories can create wind resistance and disrupt the airflow around the vehicle, thereby increasing drag. However, the effect of running boards on aerodynamics is generally minimal. Most modern running boards are designed to be sleek and aerodynamic, reducing the chance of substantial drag. Additionally, the average speed at which most people drive may not be high enough for the running boards to significantly impact fuel efficiency.

Impact on Weight

Another consideration is the weight added by running boards. Additional weight can increase fuel consumption, as the engine needs to work harder to move the vehicle. However, running boards are generally lightweight and made from materials like aluminum or steel, which limit the weight impact on the vehicle. Furthermore, the weight added by running boards is distributed evenly and low to the ground, minimizing any negative effects on gas mileage.

Impact on Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is an important factor in fuel efficiency, and some drivers might be concerned that running boards could make checking and maintaining tire pressure more difficult. However, running boards are usually designed with cutout sections that allow easy access to the valve stem for tire inflation and maintenance. Therefore, owners shouldn't worry about any significant impact on fuel efficiency due to difficulties in maintaining optimal tire pressure.

Do Running Boards Affect Gas Mileage?

Ultimately, the effect of running boards on gas mileage is likely to be minimal, especially when compared to other factors that have a more substantial impact. Driving habits, such as aggressive acceleration, excessive idling, and driving at high speeds, have a far greater influence on fuel consumption. For example, accelerating rapidly from a stoplight or consistently driving over the speed limit can significantly decrease gas mileage.

It's worth noting that the potential impact of running boards on gas mileage might vary depending on the specific vehicle make and model. The shape and design of a vehicle can influence how much running boards affect aerodynamics, and larger, bulkier vehicles might experience a more noticeable change in fuel efficiency. Additionally, the type and quality of running boards can play a role. Higher-quality running boards from reputable manufacturers are more likely to be aerodynamically designed, reducing any negative impact on gas mileage.

Overall, while running boards may have a slight impact on gas mileage, the effect is likely to be minimal compared to other factors that affect fuel efficiency. So, if you love the convenience and style that running boards provide, you can rest assured that the impact on your vehicle's gas mileage will be negligible. Focus on driving responsibly and maintaining your vehicle's optimal performance, and you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of running boards without any significant concerns about fuel consumption. If you have questions regarding a running board for your make and model, reach out to Village Truck Visions today!


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