A Guide to type of deploying access steps

Internally or externally mounted?

There are two types of deploying access step. The internally mounted step deploys from inside the vehicle while the externally mounted step deploys from under the vehicle’s floor.

Internally mounted steps have the advantage of being fully protected from the harsh environment found underneath a vehicle and do not compromise the ground clearance. They are normally manually operated and come either as a flip-over or a fold-out unit.

  • The flip-over unit, when stowed, forms part of the cab floor in a specially constructed step well. When deployed, it forms a second step tread.
  • The internal fold-out step offers the two-step drop of the flip-over unit but avoids the need for expensive bodywork alterations. This step is simply bolted to the vehicle floor and deploys out through the door opening.
    However, when it is stowed, it will block its doorway. An alternative clear emergency access, such as though a rear door, must therefore be available if this type of step is to be considered.

Externally under-floor mounted steps come in either cassette or frame form.

  • Cassette type steps enclose most of the tread and step workings in a protective case when stowed. They operate like the disc drawer on a CD player.
  • Frame type steps have one or more treads attached to pivoting links or frames. They generally do not enclose the tread when stowed. Frame steps are simpler to maintain than cassette types and are more tolerant of dirt. However, the shape of their frames makes it difficult to fit them to the smaller van ranges.

Externally mounted steps may not be suitable for certain vehicles that have very low sill heights, and a step well is required if a single-tread under-floor mounted step is to be fitted to a vehicle with a higher floor.

Electric or manual?

Manual steps are less costly than electric versions. If the driver is expected to help the passengers at the doorway where the step is mounted, a manual step operated by the driver is perfectly adequate. If the driver is expected to remain at the wheel, and the passengers alight and embark unaided, then an electric version that is controlled by the driver at the dash (driver controlled), or that automatically operates when the door is opened or closed (door controlled) would generally be more advantageous.

If you have decided on the type of step for your vehicle, we recommend that you study our Selection Chart which lists the popular vehicle types and the recommended steps from our range. The chart also gives the part number for the appropriate step mounting kit.