ARIES ActionTrac Powered Running Boards
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ARIES ActionTrac Powered Running Boards

A Step-within-a-Step Up on the Competition

So we sell a lot of step bars and running boards. And most of them pretty much are what they are: steps to help you get into your vehicle. There are a few that stand out from the rest, but mostly this is because of an aesthetic difference or a minor design shift. We feel they all have their place, and for a long while now we have promoted the idea that you need to pick the step bar that fits your ride. The running board that looks cool. And then this happened.

Powered running boards hit the market. The ability to hide the step up along the edge of your vehicle, retracted, was new and frankly pretty f-ing cool. AMP lead the way with a patented product, the PowerStep, that raised and lowered as your door was closed or opened respectively. Neat. We thought that was the pinnacle in running boards. And then this happened.

ARIES broke the Interwebs with their announcement of a brand new, patented powered running board called the ActionTrac. What made this running board so shocking right off the bat was the step-within-a-step design. The ActionTrac is TWO steps in one. The lower step is hidden inside the other until you need it. When you open your vehicle’s door, it automatically descends into place, providing two steps up into your cab. Consider the mic done dropped.

How Does ActionTrac Do It?

Action Trac Powered Running Boards in action

Here’s the dets: a magnetic sensor detects when your door is opened. The hidden step-within-a-step then folds down. When the door closes, the magnetic switch retracts the second step. This means the ActionTrac are low profile and yet also close the distance to the ground at the same time. These running boards are great for kids, older people, or even just super lifted trucks and Jeeps in general.

Since the step-within-a-step drops upwards of 8” below the primary step, up to 15” below the doorsill, these powered running boards are safer and easier to use than nearly every other product we can think of on the market today. To say we were “wowed” would be a great understatement.

Before I super geek out about these new running boards, let’s just give you the quick version in bullet point style:

  • Powered hidden step-within-a-step design is innovative, unique, and easy to use
  • Simple no-drill install, utilizes factory holes
  • Primary step houses & protects hidden step and electronic components
  • 6061-T6 aluminum construction is lightweight yet strong
  • Powder-coated finish adds a second textured skin to eliminate any possible corrosion
  • Main board adds protective shield against rocks and debris
  • Control module prevents accidental pinches by detecting any obstructions before closing
  • Powered single motor is quick, silent, and hassle-free
  • Added visibility is provided from an integrated LED light that activates on deployment
  • A durable pair of steps with a static weight capacity of 650 lbs.
  • ARIES tacks on a Limited Lifetime Warranty for added peace of mind
  • Oh, and did I mention: Powered Running Board with a Hidden Step-within-a-Step!!!

Again, we think ARIES’ new ActionTrac is going to revolutionize the step bar and running board market. So we are excited to tell you all about these running boards in vivid detail. Let’s get started.

Stylish and user friendly: ActionTrac

Coolness Factor Meets Functionality

Not only is the patented Step-within-a-Step design pretty sweet, it is also useful on a number of levels. The most obvious advantage is that you get two steps to help you get into and out of the cab. This makes ActionTrac great if you often drive around elderly relatives, have little kiddos who could use an extra step to get into your crew cab, or just if you have your truck or Jeep lifted. Heck, I’m 6 foot tall, and I’ve had some trouble getting into our company Jeep even though it has a more traditional style step bar installed. It never hurts to have an extra step.

So now that the obvious part is out of the way, here’s the bonus cool stuff that I didn’t even consider until it was pointed out to me. When the hidden step is up, the electronics and the second step itself are protected from the environment, including any elements like rain and snow. The single motor easily secures the step-within-a-step in place.

For added safety, a control module is able to detect any obstruction to closing the hidden step. This electronic component halts operation if a tree limb or a person’s shoe is in the way. First off, this prevents any personal injury from pinching. This also prevents any debris like rocks or sticks from messing up the electronic components and/or the running board itself. There’s nothing worse than having your steel toe boot scuffed up by a runaway powered running board, am I right? Well, ARIES has prepared for this. Nothing is going to get stuck in this automated step board.

At the end of the day, this is what I really love about their innovative design. Any product we consider selling or putting on our personal vehicles should look cool and be unique. That’s a given. But when the very thing that makes the part cool--the automation, in this case--is also an added safety feature and protective in nature, that’s just extra butter on my bun, bro. What? People don’t say that anymore? Sigh.

Adamantium Level Strength

A Double Step on the ActionTrac Running Boards

The quick version of the durability is this: 650 lbs. of static weight capacity. In other words, this puppy can hold a massive load. Damn! While this would be impressive for a standard running board, consider this: that hidden step, yeah, 650 lbs. of support and strength. Tough as balls.

Part of this durability comes from material selection. The difficulty with material is you want something that is strong as nails but also something that is lightweight. Enter 6061-T6 aluminum. Lightweight metal alloy meets durable as f$#%, not safe for work hardness.

Alright, Parts Prof, we hear you. But what’s all that technical jargon really mean? Glad you asked, hypothetical enthusiast. 6061-T6 is a particular alloy of aluminum with a peak tensile strength of 42,000 psi, or pounds per square inch, buddy. Let me parse what that really boils down to in real person speak. Steel is about 50k psi. So we are talking a very similar strength level here, but the kicker is that aluminum is about 3 times lighter than steel. So this stuff is not going to weigh your vehicle down even though it can handle a massive amount of weight--we’re talking your buddy, “Tiny,” weight here, bro.

6061 Aluminum alloy is used in everything from SCUBA tanks to aircraft wings. The combination of durability and lightness is ideal for these kinds of applications, including for truck and Jeep parts. But the -T6 version is what really gets me going. This alloy is used in several of the main components of the popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, as well as many drone helicopters’ chassis. This particular alloy of aluminum is so badass it was even chosen for the famous Pioneer plaques, the metal tablets that were launched into space back in the 70’s in hopes of showing interstellar creatures that we, Earthlings, are actually pretty cool.

The Actual Pioneer Plaque

If only they’d put a truck or Jeep on those plaques, then ETs would really want to come visit Earth. Hindsight, right?

Suggested Revised Pioneer Plaque

Anyway, if this particular aluminum grade is strong enough to be shot into space, you can bet it will handle just about anything we can throw at it here on the ground floor. Earth 1; Space 0.

Corrosion Protection

You know what space doesn’t have? Oxygen. You know what O2 does? Corrodes stuff. Not to worry though, ‘cause on top of the aluminum being tough as all hell, it doesn’t actually rust. Alright, I’ll have to come clean here. While aluminum doesn’t rust and produce those orange flakes when exposed to oxygen and water, technically aluminum will corrode. Most metals corrode. However, the difference is this.

When aluminum corrodes, or reacts to oxygen and water, it produces aluminum oxide. This layer forms on the surface of the metal, actually forming a second skin that adds protection to the aluminum itself both from further corrosion and from dents and dings. Winner, winner, chicken skinner! Um… sure.

So corrosion isn’t really an issue. And as if the aluminum itself wasn’t already tough enough and cool enough, we then have to account for the additional second skin layer: the powder coated finish.

Powder coating is a method of finishing a metal by coating it with a thermoplastic layer. This finishing technique is both protective and cosmetic. Powder coating is designed to shield the metal from all things damaging, including, but not limited to: snow, ice, knives, branches, cherry bombs, Big Footed Boots, bottle rockets, carefully aimed slingshots, and, my personal favorite, rogue swordfish.

Also, let’s not forget that by sealing the metal in plastic it prevents any oxidation from forming in the first place. Ideally, this gives you a product that barring a serious accident will be nigh indestructible. ActionTrac aren’t going to weaken over time or be damaged by the sun or elements. Unless you are taking a sledge hammer to it, these running boards are going to last the life of your vehicle. And that sledge hammer would have to be coming down with over 42k psi of force. Sounds highly unlikely, unless if you’re a pro wrestler or banned from the Olympics due to steroid use. We’ve all been there, right? I’ll have to whip out my Lucha Libre suit one of these days soon.

The cosmetic element of powder coating has to do with pigment that can be mixed into the thermoplastic. For the ActionTrac, this gives the running board that nice matte black finish. Add in a bit of texture for looks and friction and you’ve got a number one, best selling powered running board on your hands… or feet? Yeah, on your feets.

Lightin’ ‘er Up

A Great Looking Step with High Automatic Functionality: ActionTrac Running Bars

So the safety of these boards has already been demonstrated, but let’s also consider the nightlife here, folks. Has this ever happened to you? You’re out having some drinks with your work buddies, and everything is going pretty smooth. Maybe you’ve had one or two too many, but it’s cool cause your bud said he’d give you a ride home. Only problem is, he’s got a super lifted Ford F-350 monster truck.

And I love this truck, man. It is sick to look at and even sicker to ride in, especially when we take ‘er off the trail. But here’s the thing, and I honestly never thought of it until that fateful night. That F-350 is kinda hard to get out of, especially in the dark.

Getting in was no biggie. There was a streetlight out front of the pub, and I opened the door, propped my boot on the step bar, and jumped on in. A few blocks later, we’re at my humble home. Check this: no streetlight cause my town is cheap as $%!#. I get it. I don’t wanna pay for it anyway--taxes, right?--and it never mattered until…

Well, maybe I should establish that this was Winter a couple years back, and Rumplemintz is just not something I should ever be drinking. Nevertheless, picture this: I open the truck door and go to step out, missing the step bar completely in the darkness. My leg slips down, my crotch hits the door frame, and while I’m hopping around on one foot in agony, I hit a patch of ice and end up on my tuchus. At least my buddy was laughin’ his ass off. Fun times.

And that was the first time I realized a terrible flaw in step board design: lack of lighting. The research and development team at ARIES was on it though. Maybe they heard my story when we were all at SEMA last year. I don’t know. Either way, they added in an integrated LED light that activates when you open the cab door. This lights up the steps, showing you where to place your boot. Wish I’d thought of that one. This brilliant design is also compliant with most street legal lighting laws since it only comes on when you are entering or exiting the vehicle. Now that’s some intelligent design for your friendly local truck & Jeep guy.

How does the ActionTrac Running Board work?

Easy Install & Limited Lifetime Warranty

As though all this wasn’t enough, the durability, the smart design moves, and the cool step-within-a-step element, the whole piece installs using pre-existing factory holes. This means you can install this puppy right in the comforts of your own home garage. Elegant in its simplicity. Just bolt it on, and your ready to roll.

However, what about the wiring? How much splicing am I going to have to do to give this bad boy power? Whereas some powered running boards require you to have at least a couple electrician certifications under your belt before attempting, the ActionTrac uses a self-contained system that plugs directly onto your vehicle’s battery, making install so easy, my kid could do it--if I let him use a step ladder to get up under the hood first, of course.

Tack on a great warranty, and you’ve got the peace of mind that your new running board is made by a manufacturer that you can trust. And did I even mention where these bad mamajamas are made?

Born in the US of A!

That’s right, each and every ARIES ActionTrac is manufactured right here in the states. You know that here at Midwest Aftermarket we value selling great products that are also keeping Americans employed. Nothing more patriotic than trucks, Jeeps, and US manufacturing. Am I right? That was rhetorical. Of course, I’m right.

ActionTrac: made in the USA

So go ahead and get off your high horse, out of your pickup’s cab, just make sure not to bust your ass like me on your way down. It’s time for a major running board upgrade. Get on it. Order your ActionTrac Powered Running Board today from Midwest Aftermarket.

Our collection of powered running boards, pickup bed covers, truck fender flares, and much more includes all the leading styles and brands. Midwest Aftermarket is the #1 online retailer for aftermarket truck and Jeep accessories, selling products at the lowest prices and providing the best customer service in the industry. With the goal to provide the highest quality product with the fastest shipping at affordable prices, look no further for your vehicle’s aftermarket accessories. From ATV’s to Jeep-fanatics to F150’s or Chevy Silverado’s, Midwest Aftermarket will give you the customer support you deserve and the cool products you just gotta have.