How to Install a Step Bumper in 4 Steps

What You'll Need
New bumper
Bumper brackets and receiver brackets
Tape measure
Bolts and washers
Penetrating lubricant
Spray undercoat

A step bumper is installed on a truck to supplement the existing bumper. The regular bumper provides the vehicle with structural support, protecting the rest of the frame during collisions. The step bumper is not designed to withstand intense horizontal forces. The step bumper makes the truck’s tailgate easier to access. It is a wise investment for work vehicles. Step bumpers make it easier for passengers to reach their tools and equipment. Step bumpers are sized for the model and make of your vehicle. If you choose the correct bumper, installation will be very easy. The job should take about 45 minutes and doesn’t require drilling into the vehicle frame.

Step 1 – Choose a Step Bumper

Measure the back of your truck and locate a step bumper that meets your needs. The steps used for a pickup truck will not be the same as the ones used for a box truck. If possible, hold sample bumpers against the truck in their desired positions. Note any spacing conflicts with trailer hitches or electrical fixtures. You may have to remove or reposition the hitch in order to install the bumper. Installing a trailer hitch can require drilling through the truck frame. Ask your vehicle’s dealer first because the manufacturer may have recommended parts. You can also check at junkyards. Along with dimensions, you must consider the bumper’s composition. Stainless steel is the best choice for strength and durability. If you cannot obtain a correctly sized bumper, you may have to modify another one. Cut the mounting brackets short with a torch and drill new guide holes for installation.

Step 2 – Remove Old Bumper and Prepare New One

Locate the fasteners at the four corners and loosen them with lubricant. Depending on the model of your vehicle these may be vertical or horizontal bolts. Remove them with the wrenches. Pull off the bumper and disconnect the wiring. Try to save the original fasteners. Install the black plastic step treads and the gray cladding in the back before fastening the new bumper to the truck. Spraying the inside of the new bumper with undercoat will help inhibit rust. Corrosion can occur if dirt and moisture become trapped under the bumper.

Step 3 – Switch Out Bumper Brackets

Remove the bumper brackets from the truck frame, and remove the wiring guides from the bumper brackets. If necessary, make any adjustments to the trailer hitch and spare tire carrier. Position the brackets for the hitch receiver between the bumper bracket and frame. Install the bumper brackets loosely using bolts and washers. If you are using the manufacturer’s parts, the new layout should exactly replicate the old one.

Step 4 – Hang Bumper

Fasten the bumper to the brackets and tighten them with a wrench. You may have to use two wrenches to keep the bolt from turning inside the frame rail. Reconnect the electrical wiring for the license plate light and test the bumper out.