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A Ford tailgate step is a feature that makes it easier for you to access the bed of your truck. It offers a footstep and a grab bar that allow you to climb into the back of your truck to grab items that you’ve stored there. We’ve put together this guide to help you learn more about this convenient integrated feature.
What Is a Ford Tailgate Step?
The integrated tailgate step offered on the newer model Fords provides a step and grab bar that helps you get into your truck bed. When using a tailgate step, make sure you adhere to its weight limits. With Ford’s integrated step, stow and fully latch your step and grab bar before re-entering and moving your vehicle. Some models offer a power tailgate feature that lets you open and close your tailgate electronically. This feature won’t function when the tailgate step is opened and notifies you using a warning message and sounds.
The integrated tailgate step offers several features and benefits, including:
- Lifts you into the truck bed: With this feature, you can press a button to release a step for your use. This step makes it easier to get into your truck bed on taller vehicle models.
- Enhances safety with grab bar: Besides a step, this feature allows you to release a grab bar to hold onto while you step into the truck bed. This grab bar can help you step more securely or maintain your balance as you move into the truck bed to grab or secure items.
- Looks more streamlined: The tailgate step and grab bar stow securely inside the tailgate, so you can only see them when you need to use them.
- Provides clamp pockets: The new F-150 tailgate provides clamp pockets on either side of your truck’s gate, enabling you to secure clamps to your vehicle. You can use these clamps to hold materials into place while you work on them, such as lumber.
- Fastens items securely: The new F-150 tailgate also has cleats mounted to its sides, which allow you to tie down large items. If you need to leave your tailgate open while transporting these long materials, the cleats enable you to fasten them securely within the truck bed.
Types of Tailgate Step
If you’re looking for a tailgate with step, you can choose from a couple of options:
Integrated tailgate with step
The integrated tailgate step comes installed on several Ford vehicles. It offers the pull-out step and grab bar. The availability of this feature varies depending on the Ford F-150 model you purchase. The Limited model has the power tailgate with tailgate step and work surface as a standard feature. However, it’s an option on the Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum models. The XL and XLT models offer an optional tailgate step without the power tailgate. The Ford Super Duty also offers a tailgate with step.
A bumper step is an attachment that you can add to your pickup truck’s bumper, located below the tailgate. You can step onto this attachment to reach into or enter your truck’s bed. For example, you can purchase a 12-inch BumpStep or 24-inch BumpStep XL, and the location of these attachments can also help protect your truck’s bumper from rear-end accidents or dents. Unlike the integrated tailgate with step, the BumpStep attachments don’t stowaway.
If you want to make your bump step less noticeable, AMP Research offers several retractable options. They offer BedSteps that fit 2006 -2014 and 2015-2019 Ford F-150 models or 2017-2021 and 1999-2016 Ford F-250/350/450 models. These nonslip attachments help you step more securely, and you can flip the step up or down with your foot.
How to Choose a Tailgate Step
If you’re looking for a tailgate with a step and grab bar, you need to purchase a Ford F-150 or Super Duty vehicle. If you already own a pickup truck, you can buy a bumper step online and install it yourself.
The bumper step helps lift you onto your truck bed but doesn’t stow away like the integrated step installed on Ford models. If you don’t want to purchase a new vehicle, this represents a less costly, often easy-to-install option. When buying these devices online, you may find options to identify the make, model, and year of your vehicle to ensure you choose an attachment that fits your needs.
How to Install a Ford Tailgate Step
Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner’s manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.
The integrated tailgate with step comes installed on Ford F-150 models. However, you can install a tailgate step yourself:
1. Prepare your tools
After ordering the tailgate step, you need to gather several tools to loosen bolts and mount its components. These tools include torque and open-end wrenches, a ratchet and socket set, and Allen bits. You can also use a breaker bar to help loosen tighter bolts on the truck’s underside.
2. Configure your tailgate
Before tightening any of the components, you must ensure you configure your tailgate to your vehicle. Use the socket bolts to mount brackets to the linkages. Tighten these to ensure you have the proper fit or placement. You can then use your torque wrench to tighten them to about 33 foot-pounds.
3. Attach the mount
Use your open-end wrench to remove the stock bracket under your truck, then remove the bolts with a socket. Take the new bolts provided in your tailgate step kit and use a ratchet to attach the mount to your truck. Again, use your torque wrench to tighten these bolts to about 42 foot-pounds.
4. Install the step pads
Determine the position of your step pads. Then place weld nuts into the step’s slots and install the linkage’s lower slot. Next, you can screw in the Allen screws from the bottom of the pads. Avoid tightening these screws too far because this can cause damage. Keep your footstep a little loose to allow you to adjust it properly, allowing it room to shift slightly from side to side. When you find the right position, use your torque wrench to tighten the step pads to 6 foot-pounds.
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