Home » Why I Think The Ford F-150’s Pro Access Tailgate Is Winning The Tailgate Wars

Why I Think The Ford F-150’s Pro Access Tailgate Is Winning The Tailgate Wars

Tailgate War Winner Ford Access Ts2
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I’m declaring a winner to the Tailgate Wars, and it’s going to be controversial, so grab your pitchforks. Beating out the Honda Ridgeline’s “Dual-Action Tailgate,” GM’s “MultiPro Tailgate,” and Ram’s “Multifunction Tailgate” is the 2024 Ford F-150’s Pro Access Tailgate. Here’s why.

The Tailgate wars have been getting wild this last decade. We of course had Ford’s “Man Step” almost 20 years ago — a design Chevy poked fun at in the commercial below. Then about a decade later, GMC and then Chevy launched its own “man step,” which was really a step inside a step inside a step called the MultiPro tailgate. It was basically step-ception.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Here’s the Chevy commercial in question:

Here’s how that “Man step,” technically called the Integrated Tailgate Step, works, by the way:

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Basically, there’s a step that slides out of the top of the tailgate. When the tailgate is down, that step is in a great spot for you to reach with one of your feet, and you can pull yourself up into the truck using a handle that also ejects from the top of the tailgate and folds 90-degrees to stand straight up. It’s fairly straightforward:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.32.44 Am

Also straightforward is Honda’s Dual-Action tailgate that both drops and swings. A version of it has been out for about 20 years at this point,

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Here’s a look at both of those “actions”:

2018 Honda Ridgeline
2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E in Obsidian Blue Pearl
2018 Honda Ridgeline
2018 Honda Ridgeline RTL-E in Obsidian Blue Pearl

And here’s a photo from Honda’s website showing the hinges:

2020 Honda Ridgeline

As for GM’s MultiPro tailgate, here’s a skinnier, younger, more energetic me showing how it works for… seven minutes. I’m not sure why this video is so long, but hey, clearly I was excited:

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And I had reason to be excited; the MulitPro tailgate is a fun gadget. Let’s go through its functions, beginning with its basic tailgate function:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.50.47 Am

If you fold the tailgate-within-the-tailgate down, you get easier access to things in the bed:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.48.34 Am

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If you fold the tailgate-within-the-tailgate-within-the-tailgate down, you then add a step to that tailgate-within-a-tailgate. And if you fold up a handle that hinges from the driver’s side bedside, you can easily hoist yourself up into the bed:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.48.50 Am

Here’s a closer look of the step (the tailgate-within-a-tailgate-within-a-tailgate). It’s got optional speakers and charging ports built in!:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.49.49 Am

If you just fold down the tailgate, and then fold the tailgate-within-a-tailgate-within-a-tailgate (the step), you can use that as a load stop:

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Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.48.15 Am

If you keep the tailgate up and fold the tailgate-within-a-tailgate, you get a work surface:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.49.25 Am

And if, from there, you fold up the step, you get a load stop for the second-level of your bed (since you can slot boards into the inner walls of the bed to create a double-decker):

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 9.48.58 Am

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The MultiPro tailgate is a legitimately impressive piece of tech, and customers seem to really like it.

Then there’s the Ram’s Multifunction tailgate, shown above. It basically splits the tailgate into two swinging sections: A long section (on the left) and a short section on the right. The two sections (doors), when closed, can be folded down and used as a traditional tailgate. Have a look:

2025 Ram 1500 Multi Function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi-function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi Function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi-function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi Function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi-function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi Function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi-function Tailgate

I actually like the idea of the Multi-Function tailgate. It allows you to gain access to the bed even when you have a trailer jack just behind your hitch. Typically ,if you tried to drop a tailgate, it would hit the jack, so having the ability to swing a door — especially a small one that won’t interfere — seems useful. It also seems useful in a tight parking spot. Customers seem to like it.

My issue is that I don’t like the way it looks; the offset seam just looks…odd.

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2025 Ram 1500 Multi Function Tailgate
2025 Ram 1500 Multi-function Tailgate

So why do I like the F-150’s Pro Access tailgate? Well, for one, as cool as GM’s MultiPro tailgate is, it’s just too complex for my tastes, and it doesn’t really solve the “accessing stuff in bed when parallel parked or when hauling a trailer” issue. Plus, I prefer simplicity in my pickups, though I recognize that many folks who regularly load and unload their trucks might love that option, just as they might like Ford’s “Man Step.”

The Ram’s tailgate is a bit hideous for my tastes, I like the Ridgeline’s but think that huge swinging gate would be tricky in parallel-parking situations, so that leads me to the Pro Access tailgate. It’s just a door within a door; it’s simple.

The door is in the middle, and it’s wide enough to let you get sizable objects in and out of the truck. Because that door hinged inboard and not all the way at the edge of the tailgate, you don’t have to swing a giant door, and you’re able to access the bed from the middle of the truck instead of the very edge like you would if you cracked open the Ridgeline’s tailgate in, say, a parallel parking spot.

Speaking of parallel parking spots, I parked an F-150 in one, and you’ll see how a normal tailgate really doesn’t work well at all, especially if you had to lift something heavy like, say, a pancake air compressor:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.30.54 Am

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The Pro Access tailgate lets you just swing open that center door, and grab your things. If you lived in a city like I do, I could see this coming in clutch fairly often:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.31.03 Am

If you’re towing, that inboard-hinged center door also lets you grab things from the bed without worrying about hitting your trailer jack, as 2024 F-150 chief engineer Milton Wong points out here:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.26.45 Am

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.27.00 Am

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Wong also showed a step that pops out from under the F-150’s bumper.

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.27.25 Am

You can step on that, and then grab this little grip area that Ford designated on the left side of the tailgate, and hoist yourself up:

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.27.50 Am

Here you go:

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Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.30.29 Am

I’m not convinced that, if you need to frequently load things into and out of a truck bed, the Pro Access tailgate is the best option over, say, GM’s MultiPro tailgate or even Ford’s own “Man Step,” but for occasional towing duty and definitely city-parking, it seems like a decent, no-BS, simple solution.

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.28.02 Am

Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.28.11 Am

It’s a door in the middle of a tailgate. That’s it. It’s useful, but not complicated. And what’s more, because it’s in the center, the seams are symmetrical:

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Screen Shot 2024 05 22 At 10.40.43 Am

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My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
1 month ago

They all suck. It needs to open by sliding down and under the bed of the truck. Simply no better way. Period.

Like this, but truckier https://youtu.be/AAtkoje4-eM?si=fUhb19DpoRGKs17A

Last edited 1 month ago by My Goat Ate My Homework
Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

I do agree, swinging open the full length of the tailgate can be a problem in tight spaces. My Ridgeline has the paint chips to prove it. But I still prefer the simplicity of it. The tailgate is still a single, relatively lightweight piece. I haven’t gotten hands on with the new Pro Access tailgate, but the GM and Ram fancy tailgates are heavier and more complex than they need to be.

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago

My only issue with this tailgate is that it should open toward the street, not toward the sidewalk when you’re parallel parked. Also, it looks like it takes as much room to open it as it does to open the normal tailgate. Not that it wouldn’t still come in handy.

Uberscrub
Uberscrub
1 month ago

I always think the same thing – but I think they open that way because it is the side the driver approaches from, not needing to go around the front of the car or the back of a trailer. If you are just opening the door because you have a tight parking space – just take one more step.

Reasonable Pushrod
Reasonable Pushrod
1 month ago

I’m a fan of simplicity. GM perfected the bed step when they added the steps in the bumper corners and reshaped the stake pocket to be a grab point. Everything since then has been unnecessary expense.

06dak
06dak
1 month ago

Was going to say the same thing!

Musicman27
Musicman27
1 month ago

Man I hate Ford, but man do I love their tailgates.

Shinynugget
Shinynugget
1 month ago

I went to a new car show with my boys every year when they were little. The year the ‘man-step’ came Ford had a few at the show. That thing was a PIA to get in and out. Not worth the trouble.
Why do I think that all these complicated tailgate designs are solutions to problems created to make trucks look cool but not add functionality? Modern trucks from the Big 3 and Toyota are too tall, the load height is too high, with bed walls so tall you can’t reach in the bed. Most have bed lengths that are too short but hey the entry level tow rating has gone up 100 lbs. since 1995. How much less could the MSRP be without some over-engineered, complicated mess designed to solve problems that shouldn’t be there in the first place? Before you say “not that much” remember Ford cheaped out on head gaskets in the Focus RS, probably to save literally pennies.

Last edited 1 month ago by Shinynugget
Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
1 month ago
Reply to  Shinynugget

Well, you make good points about these costing extra, but remember, they’re optional. They don’t just come on the base model.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Shinynugget

I’ve only ever heard that the batch of RS engines that had head gasket issues did so because they used Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost gaskets instead of the correct RS ones. Nothing cheapened about them, just not quite the correct part.

David Barratt
David Barratt
1 month ago
Reply to  Shinynugget

You are absolutely correct, on my trusty 3/4 ton GMT800 pickup, I can reach over the sides and grab things in the bed while standing on the ground. And the tires are even a couple sizes bigger than stock. The regular-ass tailgate can fold all the way down without hitting the trailer jack and the bed floor is about belly button height for an average-sized man. New pickup trucks have cool powertrains and safety technology but the tall-height short-length beds are infuriating.

Fruit Snack
Fruit Snack
1 month ago

The end of that Chevy commercial stung a bit. Reg. Cab started at 19,550.

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
1 month ago

I’ll take the Ridgeline tailgate (and trunk) over all of them…

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

The storage cubby in the Colorado/Canyon tailgate is comical to anyone that’s used the Ridgeline’s trunk.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

Nah, unless it’s a Maverick I prefer my trucks to be RWD-based with longitudinally-mounted engines. Not the dated timing belt-driven snooze of a V6 that feels overworked in a odyssey or pilot.

In 1966 Ford introduced their “Magic Doorgate” as they called it, which was their multi-directional tailgate. Very similar in operation to what Honda adopted decades later with the ridgeline (though I’m not sure if they used the tech on the F-Series or Ranchero). So Ford’s multi-directional tailgate predates Honda itself being sold in the U.S. by 4 years.

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
30 days ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

I’ll give you that the timing belt engine (being phased out) is lame, particularly since I’m coming up on that pretty soon on my Ridgeline. I don’t care about RWD or FWD bias on my AWD to be honest. But my comment was about the tailgate and trunk and those features are must-haves for me now (trunk for my tools and easy tailgate pad on/off of tailgate pad for mountain bikes).

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
1 month ago

They wouldn’t need to have a tailgate war if trucks were lower. The tailgate is up to Milton’s Neck. On my truck the bedsides are at my elbow. I don’t even need to use a tailgate to reach into the bed. I just reach over. Trucks are stupidly tall.

Mortalcombatant
Mortalcombatant
1 month ago

Yeah, but why does it open wrong way? It looks like it was designed for LHD country.

DolanDuk
DolanDuk
1 month ago

It should be double-hinged and able to open from either side

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  DolanDuk

That feels like it would be too easily completely detached, and I’m guessing it’s not particularly light or easy to reinstall with only two hands.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago

LHD areas, like where most F-Series are sold? Gosh, what an idea.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
1 month ago

I must have been living under a rock or something, I didn’t even know there was a tailgate war going on.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago

That GM contraption is way too complicated and I have zero need for it. Therefore I need it.

VermonsterDad
VermonsterDad
1 month ago

I just need my tailgate to open, close, or be removed. Bonus points for a tailgate that is a bit lighter to remove.

These tailgates all seem kinda gimmicky. It is a truck, keep it simple. . .and trucks cost too much anyway.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
1 month ago
Reply to  VermonsterDad

Agreed, but with the exception of the Ridgeline. I do love theirs, especially with the massive in bed trunk. That one is worth it, the rest are dumb and are used to show off far more than they are functional.

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago
Reply to  VermonsterDad

Weight is a real issue. One of the reasons so many people demand dampened tailgates anymore is because the things are getting so damned heavy. The Because it’s a simple dual hinged tailgate, the Ridgeline is easy to open up one handed. That makes it infinitely more useful than any multi/pro/step access tailgate.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  VermonsterDad

The basic tailgate is still standard AFAIK.

Mike Dris
Mike Dris
1 month ago

How do these new-fangled tailgates hold up over time and real-world use? They seem rather complicated.

I’ve owned many cars but only one truck which was a first gen Tundra. The plastic tailgate handle got crispy and broke in the Los Angeles sun which was an easy fix. I imagine these more complicated tailgates would fail more frequently but I’m only guessing.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Dris

I hear just about nothing but horror stories about the gm “pro” gates, especially when dirt/debris is introduced.

Ram’s is too new yet, haven’t really heard much about it.

The Ford Tailgate Assist has a pretty good reputation. I’ve only heard of issues with them for folks that didn’t care for them properly, e.g. Allowed water to collect and sit inside, didn’t lubricate the moving parts or slides, impact damage, etc.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
1 month ago

See, I find this worse than the RAM because there’s an extra seam where there doesn’t need to be, AND I’m limited on width of what I load/unload through there.

I’m 5’7″ and they keep making these trucks taller and taller. The asymmetrical barn doors on the RAM are the people’s champ. Function over form.

Between the barn doors and the RamBox, RAM knows how to make use of a truck bed.

Shame I’d have to buy a Stellantis product to get those features, which I haven’t been able to convince myself to do.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
1 month ago
Reply to  David Tracy

This is The Autopian, we embrace the oddities!

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
1 month ago
Reply to  David Tracy

Three very simple solutions to your asymmetry anxiety:
a) get it in black.
b) add black racing stripes if you get it in non-black.
c) seek professional help for your asymmetriphobia.

Last edited 1 month ago by MaximillianMeen
06dak
06dak
1 month ago

Or just add a fake stamped seam in the other side to help with the symmetry

Paul B
Paul B
1 month ago

I have the GM one. A big advantage is that you can use the step while walking off the bed facing the tailgate, no need to turn around like a ladder.

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul B

I’ve done that on the Ford version where the step comes out of the tailgate.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago

Given how much damage the tailgates in my pickups survived I worry about this in a true ‘work’ truck, it is good as todays trucks require a suborbital booster to reach inside

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
1 month ago
Reply to  Sklooner

I’ve worked on several farms where the main pickup trucks were decades-old Ford Hi-Boys, which are also quite tall.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago

“…Honda’s Dual-Action tailgate that both drops and swings. A version of it has been out for about 20 years at this point”

Longer than that.

Ford introduced their “Magic Doorgate”, which did exactly the same thing – plus had a retractable window – on all 3 lines of Ford Wagons in 1966.

Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I remember some GM wagons that had this, as well as one that dropped inside somehow

Jim Zavist
Jim Zavist
1 month ago
Reply to  Sklooner

You’re probably remembering the “clamshell” ones GM had in the early ’70s . . .

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
30 days ago
Reply to  Sklooner

The 1977 and later full-size wagons had a drop or swing tailgate – after the Ford patents expired?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Your comment has just made me realize that there really never has been anything as good as a full size wagon with side benches and a fancy gate. Not kidding in the slightest. The universe peaked with those.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

I’ve been tempted to resto-mod one. Then I remember that in an accident everyone would die. We need a modern land yacht wagon.

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago
Reply to  MikeInTheWoods

I literally have the exact same thought chain. Sometimes I try to imagine incorporating a roll cage the doesn’t look ridiculous to help with the death problem.

Last edited 1 month ago by Crank Shaft
MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
30 days ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Having owned a 50’s car, it’s partly telling yourself that it’s a little bit safer than a motorcycle. But then a useful wagon is best served as a utility vehicle, and that involves kids, dogs, spouse. All of whom didn’t sign up for the death trap issue involving no crumple zones, non-safety glass and more.

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

The rear-facing 3rd row is my favorite, I grew up in the wayback of a Caprice Classic wagon

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

That would be my second choice after whatever version Pontiac had. But just because I’ll be Pontiac til the day I die.

Last edited 1 month ago by Crank Shaft
Old Busted Hotness
Old Busted Hotness
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

And served as the inspiration for my homebrew version on my old Ranger. It was great to be able to drop bags of cement, cat litter, mulch, etc directly on the bed floor without having to bend over the tailgate. The big trick was figuring out the linkage to make certain latches stay latched while others popped.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago

I feel like these are too complicated, but then I have always had two wheel drive trucks with moderate bed heights.
For heavy stuff you might as well go all the way and get a Tommy Lift hydraulic lift gate like a,box truck.

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Also an aluminum flatbed on a pickup adds so much more utility. But they don’t look cool parked outside the Applebee’s on date night.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago
Reply to  DadBod

A tray top does give an Australian vibe, so it would look right at Outback Steakhouse.
I live in farm and ranch country so a significant number of trucks are flatbeds to facilitate towing gooseneck trailers and hauling hay.

SLM
SLM
1 month ago

I’m waiting for the Dual-Action MultiProfunction Access Tailgate (with a LGBTQ+ step option).
I won’t but it, but I’m curious about how it would look.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 month ago
Reply to  SLM

That comment looks a lot like it’s making fun of people’s gender orientation. Not cool at all.

Let’s enjoy the cars and leave the culture wars outside.

SLM
SLM
1 month ago

Not the intention, I wanted more to make fun of the “man” step in fact.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
1 month ago
Reply to  SLM

Thanks for clearing that up!

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
30 days ago
Reply to  SLM

The LGBTQ+ tailgate option would be a very long and wide retractable ramp.

So we can either gracefully sashay up into the bed.
Or roll our big Harleys inside.

You’re welcome.

Last edited 30 days ago by Urban Runabout
V8 Fairmont Longroof
V8 Fairmont Longroof
1 month ago

Doesn’t it open the wrong way for LHD though? If you’re parallel parked, chances are you want to access from kerb-side (right) right?

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
1 month ago

Yeah, that would be inconvenient for the 3 people in Australia street parking their full size pickups
(also I can’t imagine flipping it for the Australian market is a massive manufacturing challenge, and they are the only LHD market with full-size trucks)

Last edited 1 month ago by Chartreuse Bison
Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
1 month ago

Um… I think you have it backwards. This IS designed for the Australian market, and opens the wrong way if you’re parallel parked in the US or any LHD country. Australia, Japan and the UK are RHD.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
1 month ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

Ah embarrassing, well I wish I could delete this comment, wasn’t even paying attention

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
1 month ago

Haha no worries. I for one am glad for your comment, if only because it now has me picturing a neon green bison, though in my head it somehow traded its 2 horns for a large unicorn style one because the color just made more whimsy a requirement.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
29 days ago
Reply to  Brandon Forbes

I usually use Appa from last airbender
Reminded me to finally figure out avatars on this site

Last edited 29 days ago by Chartreuse Bison
Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
29 days ago

Oh ok I didn’t know that was a thing. Never watched that one.

86-GL
86-GL
1 month ago

Honestly the ‘Old Man Step’ is great, and I hope they keep offering it. It’s not the most sophisticated gizmo, but it’s plenty practical. It wasn’t on our wish list when I was shopping for a used F150, but the truck we ended up with has it, and I use it all the time. I can bound right up into the bed, and while the step is flappy, it’s right where you need it. You can even use it as a fulcrum to roll heavy items up into the bed.

I like that it leaves your otherwise normal tailgate both structurally and visually intact. If you scratch it up, it’s hidden within the tailgate out of sight. If you damage it irreparably, you could just throw it away and forget about it, but a replacement grab handle is $75, and the whole unit can be ordered new from Ford for about $1000. That’s still a good chunk of change, but reasonable compared to the $3000-$4000 in parts to replace the GM Multi Pro.

Last edited 1 month ago by 86-GL
Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
1 month ago

I don’t usually leave these kind of “new features are totally pointless, why would you even want anything other than a 1942 Chevy with a three on the tree” comments, but……..

All of these tailgate gizmos seem so pointless. I can’t see myself using them, ever. A normal tailgate is so perfectly adequate for everything I need it to do, and I never ever find myself wishing it was any different.

Hermtownhomy
Hermtownhomy
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Never ever? Well, getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative. It happens to all of us. (Hopefully, because, again, it beats the alternative). And it happens faster than you think. In my 50’s, and I’m not just hopping up onto that tailgate like I used to. And me and my artificial knees are definitely not jumping down to the ground anymore. I didn’t pay much attention to the tailgate when I bought my F150, but now that I’ve had it for a year, I’m glad that step thing is there.

DadBod
DadBod
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermtownhomy

I have to belly up and crawl into the bed of my F150, and I am 6’3″, old, with a ruined back. I wish I had the tailgate step. From the side I can step up on the tire but that’s a whole gymnastics routine.

VanGuy
VanGuy
1 month ago
Reply to  Hermtownhomy

Was gonna say, I’m 29 and if I had one of these trucks, I’d be grateful to have something “integral” to use as a step to get in to grab something or other.

Last I checked, I can’t use the step on the bumper (i.e., by the plate) when a “normal” tailgate is folded down.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
30 days ago
Reply to  Hermtownhomy

Never ever. I 100% would want a step if I had a bed as high as a new f150, but on the reasonable bed heights of the pickups I own, no. Never.

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
1 month ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Bragging rights when you show off to the neighbors. That is how these are used 90% of the time.

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