One of the more common questions we get asked by customers is this – what do most people buy for their new truck/SUV? There’s a pretty consistent set of upgrades that make up the most common aftermarket package for new vehicles, so let’s run through that list and why each item is on it.

  1. Step Bars or Running Boards – trucks and SUV’s often have higher ground clearance and require a healthy step up to get into the cab.  Even for average size men, this can be difficult but it’s next to impossible for anyone shorter than that, especially children whose arms aren’t long enough to reach the grab handles built into most new 4×4 vehicles today.  Step bars or running boards create a more normal step-in height and easier exit from the vehicle. They come in various forms, from 3″ round bars with a step pad for each entry point all the way up to power running boards that drop down automatically when the door is opened. The power boards typically provide an even lower step-in than step bars because they don’t have to remain extended when the doors are closed.
  2. Tonneau cover – this is a close tie or second-place item for most new trucks. They keep the bed clean and dry and allow storage of items out of view.  Since I covered this topic in some depth in my first post, I’ll just note that there are a wide variety of styles and materials available.  Customers who aren’t sure which is right for them can come by the store, where we have a broad range of demonstration covers available.  Readers of this post who are outside our area should check for a local store with a good selection of displays before deciding which one to buy.
  3. Rainguards – also known as vent visors, these are the plastic shields that allow the window to be slightly opened for fresh air even in poor weather. They keep rain or snow from getting inside by directing the run-off from the roof out away from the window opening. Rainguards can be stick-on (the traditional style) or in-channel (meaning they mount inside the window channel and offer a lower profile look).  They can also be clear, smoked but still see-through, or chrome finish.
  4. Floor liners – these are frequently purchased soon after a new vehicle by people who plan to hang onto their vehicle for as long as possible and want to keep the carpeting looking new.  Here in New England, that’s especially important through the winter months when snow or slush cover our shoes as we’re getting in.  During the spring, we tend to have muddy shoes as the ground softens up and rain tends to fall.  The best floor liners are those that conform to the shape of the foot well and contain whatever comes in on our shoes or even the spills that happen now and then.
  5. Mud guards – the beauty of mud guards is that they deflect the road dirt that comes off our tires at speed away from the side of the vehicle, helping to preserve the fresh paint and keeping the side of the vehicle cleaner than would otherwise be the case.  They also help prevent that road spray from blasting the running boards or step bars if they are present.
  6. Seat covers – todays vehicles are expensive and, unless you’ve leased yours and plan to turn it over every couple of years, most people are keeping them longer.  Seat covers preserve the newness of the factory upholstery, protecting it from pets, children, or just dirty work clothing.  In the process, they help preserve resale value.

So that’s basically the new vehicle outfitting list.  Not every owner gets everything on the list.  Some new vehicles, depending on trim level, come with some of these items as standard equipment.  Some owners choose to only utilize a few of them items on the list.  But they are the most common.  After these items, personalization of the vehicle becomes as diverse as the owner personalities.  They can also make an enormous difference in appearance at far less cost than factory trim upgrades. Here’s an example of the before and after from our own 2012 F-350.







We have examples of these items and many others on display in the store and we will take the time to offer advice on what will best enhance the look and protection for your specific vehicle. Sometimes that even means advising a customer to buy less than what they came in looking for because the lesser item will actually blend in better with the look of their particular vehicle’s trim level. So, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by and see us. After all, it’s always a good time to protect that new-car investment!


  1. You mentioned that step bars or running boards create a more normal step-in height and easier exit from the vehicle. Do most vehicles require a certain style or type of running board? My brother just bought a brand new truck and his wife is upset because she can’t get into it without help. Having some running boards installed might be a good choice.


    • Derek, any given truck model can be outfitted with any of the types mentioned. Running boards mount tighter to the truck body so the step area is a bit smaller than with nerf/step bars but there is no space between the running board and truck for a foot to slip through when the step surface is wet or icy. Oval step bars bridge that difference. The ultimate solution comes from power boards that drop down when the vehicle door is open and retract when it closes again. They have the lowest step height and the best stepping surface but they are the highest priced. We can show all of the types at the store to help make it easier for customers to reach an informed decision on what works best for them.


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