Equipped as standard in many larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks, the step bumper or tow bumper is a bumper with a recessed center section that functions as a step. Usually, there’s a hole that serves as a mounting point for a tow ball.
Some step bumpers also feature an anti-slip surface pad at the center of the bumper. The pad gives the step more traction so that it’s not as slippery when dirty or wet.
The advantages of having a step bumper include:
The step makes it easier for people to board and alight from the truck bed, particularly if the vehicle boasts considerable ground clearance.
The step bumper speeds up the process of loading and unloading the truck bed. People can use the step to give themselves a leg up while hauling cargo onto the truck or off it.
If the step bumper features a hole for a receiver ball, it can tow a trailer that it’s rated for.
However, for towing purposes, the drawback to a step or tow bumper is that you are limited to towing smaller trailers and lighter vehicles.