Whether you have a brand new Jeep Wrangler two door or an older, classic model, and whether you use your vehicle for work, for play, or for daily driving, chances are you want to have a little fun and customize your Jeep. Customizing your Wrangler can be about practicality as you seek to make your truck more useful, or it can be about aesthetics as you try and make it look even better. But most of the time? Well, most of the time it’s about both: making your Jeep Wrangler two-door do more for you, while also looking amazing.
One common addition to Wranglers are side steps. They’re a common add-on since they’re useful, good-looking, and more affordable than some additions. But what are they, what do they do, and what are the best models? Read on to find out.
What Are Side Steps?
Side steps are quite simple, and pretty much what the name suggests. These accessories, which are often referred to as side bars or nerf bars, run along the side of your Jeep, above the ground, but below the bottom of the vehicle. They serve as a stepping stool essentially, giving you something between the ground and the interior of your Jeep Wrangler to step on when getting into or out of your truck (though they do a lot more than just that).
Some side steps are simply the size of a single step, but they’re usually bars that run from the front wheels to the back wheels. Some people use the term interchangeably with running boards, but running boards are attached flush against the vehicle, whereas side steps stick out from the truck, with a gap between the step and the body of the car.
Why Side Steps Will Elevate Your Jeep
There are a lot of different reasons why adding side steps to your Jeep Wrangler will improve your vehicle. Let’s start with the primary reason, which is also the main reason that side steps exist in the first place: they make it easier to get in and out of your truck. Jeeps are obviously off the ground quite a bit more than the average passenger car, and that’s doubly true if you’ve added a lift kit to yours. They’re not always convenient to step into or out of, especially for people who are short or have joint pain. Side steps act as a stepping stool for your Jeep, making it easy to get in and get out, without having to jump.
Side steps also make it a lot easier to access the top of your Jeep Wrangler. Not everyone needs to be able to reach the top of their car, but a lot of people do. Maybe you want to keep your car looking its best by washing it by hand, and you need to be able to reach the top of the truck. Perhaps you have a luggage rack atop your Jeep, or are strapping cargo to the roof of your truck. Or maybe you want a better angle for attaching and detaching the roof of your Wrangler. Whatever the reason, side steps make it easier to get to the top of your Jeep.
Another great perk of side steps is that they give you better grip. They usually have a textured surface on them, which makes it easy for you to get a grip when stepping on them. This is important in the snow, ice, or even rain, when you’re likely to have decreased grip in your shoes. It might seem easy to get in and out of your Jeep when it’s warm and dry out, but even tall people can struggle to get into a Wrangler when the weather is acting up. This also makes your Jeep a lot safer, which is important when other people get in or out of it. You might be confident in your own abilities to climb in and out of your Wrangler, but it could be a lot harder for someone else who gets in your car. Side bars will make it easier.
Side steps also add a layer of protection to your truck. If you’re offroading, side steps can let you know when you’re too close to an object before it damages the vehicle. They deflect a lot of rocks and other objects that could hurt your Wrangler.
Finally, side bars simply look cool. They’re a great aesthetic addition to any Jeep Wrangler two-door. Side bars add a little bit of width to your truck, while also making it look even more useful and purposeful. They’ll instantly make any Wrangler look better.
Our Top 3 Picks for Wrangler Side Steps
Smittybilt Sure Step 3-inch Diameter Side Bars
These side steps are extremely heavy duty, with a one-piece design that can hold a full-statured adult’s weight on each side. This set is particularly strong with Wranglers that have been lifted, as the Smittybilt side steps provide extra protection upon impact. These side steps bolt on without any drilling, and are very easy to install. Simply put, these side steps are made to last, and with the textured black powder exterior, they’re made to look pretty awesome while they last.
Rugged Ridge Spartan Nerf Bars
Rugged Ridge Spartan side steps are sturdy and built to last. When you think of side steps, these break the mold with the rounded bar leading to a flat, textured step jutting out below. The steps are corrosion-resistant and extremely durable. They simply look fantastic, and are very easy to install.
ARIES Offroad ActionTrac Powered Running Boards with Steps
This amazing product is both a running board and a side step. ARIES Offroad ActionTrac side steps mount as a running board, with an electric-powered retractable side step. When you open your Wrangler door, the side step extends out, giving you two steps to get into or out of your Jeep. These running boards look great whether the side step is extended or not.
Shopping for side steps for your Jeep Wrangler? 4 Wheel Parts has what you need. From entry-level steps to full-featured power retractable side steps, you’ll find the perfect match right here.