In today's world, new vehicles boast of an extensive list of standard equipment and most options are available only in a package that includes costly others. This modern approach not only streamlines assembly plant production, it also makes the vehicle purchasing experience much easier for the average buyer. Some equipment is still available on an individual basis, and for General Motors' fullsize pickup trucks, Oval Tubular Assist Steps are among those options.

For the new Sierra, GMC offers a three-foot variation that's dealer installed while the chrome plated six-foot units are factory-installed. Though "running boards," as they're most often called, can be an obstacle that long-legged passenger must hurdle when entering or exiting a pickup truck, they're a virtual necessity for most women and children. Since we planned to use our Sierra Denali as a family hauler, we deemed Assist Steps as a must-have option, but that added nearly $700 to the price tag of the truck and if bought in a package, the total came to more than an additional $2,100. That seemed excessive to say the least.

Immediately after taking delivery of our 2010 Sierra Denali, we logged onto the GM Accessories Zone website (gmaccessorieszone.com) and found among the many available accessories the same chrome-plated Oval Tubular Assist Steps that come factory-installed on GM's fullsize pickups. Retailing for $600, the complete kit included all necessary hardware for installation. We also found that they are also available in durable black powdercoated finish, which we felt better complemented our truck's exterior finish.

Also, our Sierra Denali wasn't equipped with factory-installed bedrail protectors, and that's something we wanted to add to finish the bed. We found the factory-installed Bed Rail Protectors that match the standard tailgate protector at GM Accessory Zone for $109. A quick call to our local dealership and we had both sets available for pickup the next day. Both kits included detailed instructions and installed very easily. The entire project was complete within an hour after starting and we were rewarded with the factory-installed appearance that we were after.

The kits from GM Accessory Zone include durable components that are compatible with existing factory pieces and install with minimal effort. For an investment of $710 dollars and an hour of install time, the interior of our particular Sierra Denali is much more accessible and the bed gained a finished look. And when it comes to installing parts at home, it couldn't get much easier!