What are Running Boards?Running boards are step-like extensions that run alongside the driver's and passenger side doors. They are made out of aluminum and typically painted the same color as the SUV. They are also commonly topped with grooved non-slip rubber for safety. They are found not only on SUVs like the Rav4 but also on vehicles like trucks and vintage cars. Running boards can last for the lifetime of the vehicle but only with proper maintenance and repair. They serve to help people climb in and out of the SUV. They also add to the overall look and function of the Rav4. They are higher in price than most exterior Rav4 parts, selling for around $300 new at most licensed Toyota parts stores. Despite being made out of durable materials like aluminum and rubber, running boards can wear out or become damaged. You can make yours last longer by knowing how to take care of them and when to replace or repair them.
How Do Running Boards Wear Out?Running boards are built to withstand some of the most extreme conditions to which your Rav4 may be exposed. Even so, a number of factors could wear them out or damage them significantly. For example, the typical Rav4 running board can tolerate between 300 to 500 pounds depending on how well it is made. While it may infrequently be able to hold up more than that amount, it will eventually wear out or become damaged if too much weight is placed on it regularly. Likewise, they can be damaged if they are hit directly by hard objects or flying debris. Being in a rollover accident or driving in a hailstorm could dent, ding, and otherwise damage them and cause them to need extensive repairs or replacing. Further, if you do not take good care of the vehicle's exterior, you could contribute to the deterioration of these parts. You should keep your Rav4 clean so that the outside parts like the running boards do not become rusted, dirty, and otherwise damaged. Finally, poor manufacturing can cause your running boards to fail you. You should buy yours from a licensed Toyota parts dealer so that you know you are getting parts that are designed for your Rav4 and are made from the best quality materials.
Signs Your Running Boards Need Repairs or ReplacingThe signs that your running boards need to be repaired or replaced should be obvious even if you have never owned a vehicle with these parts on it. Of course, if you see noticeable damages like dents or dings on them, you should repair the running boards if possible. If not, you should consider having them replaced promptly. Other signs that your running boards need repairs or replacing include:
-cracks in either the aluminum or rubber topping
-rust or corrosion
-loosening or movement when you step on them Repairing or replacing running boards requires a level of expertise that many Rav4 owners do not have. Rather than risk the integrity and safety of your SUV, you should allow a trained and experienced Toyota mechanic or auto body specialist fix or replace them for you.