Fleetside vs. Stepside: Which Chevy Truck Bed Style Is Better?

The conversation around Chevy Fleetside vs. Stepside bed trucks is determined by your sense of style and the vehicle’s carrying capacity. The two terms are used popularly with many brands, not just General Motors or Chevy-related cars.

Fleetside is the newer bed style of pickup trucks and features a more modern and refined look. Stepside, on the other hand, is reminiscent of a time long gone with its wheel well arches that are situated outside the bed. This forms a box shape used to hold cargo, thus more carrying capacity. Fleetside is the most common truck-type bed and features flat side beds and wheel arches situated inside the bed.

This article will take you through the meanings and design of Fleetside vs. Stepside. You will get to know the history behind these two popular bed styles. Read more to learn about what customers say about the two and which one you should choose for your next purchase.  

Fleetside vs stepside

What is a Stepside Truck Bed?

Stepside truck bed styles came before Fleetside. The design refers to trucks that have short cargo boxes. Back wheels in this style of trucks are located outside the cargo box. Moreover, stepside truck beds have rear wheels covered by fenders. The design originated over half a century ago to help owners step between the can and rear wheel well to put cargo or offload cargo from the truck.

Stepside truck bed styles
The design originated over half a century ago to help owners step between the can and rear wheel well to put cargo or offload cargo from the truck. Credit: flickr.com

Vehicles with a stepside truck bed are more stylish and classic by truck enthusiasts. Additionally, many owners believe that the bed style increases the general handling of the truck. The design is excellent for those who want easy access to the truck’s bed.

The stepside design was popular in the 1950s but has since become a relic since the fleetside design has become more widespread. There are very few vehicles in the market today with this design which adds more value.

What is A Fleetside Truck Bed?

fleetside truck bed
A fleetside truck bed is a bed style used in vehicles like Chevy, Dodge, and GMC.
Credit: flickr.com

A fleetside truck bed is a bed style used in vehicles like Chevy, Dodge, and GMC. Fleetside refers to a bed style comprised of flat bed-sides and wheel arches that are tucked inside the bed. The purpose and advantage of this design are that it makes the production process less complex and increases the load that can be hauled by the vehicle.

Fleetside truck beds come with slab-sided cargo boxes. The box’s width in this vehicle usually extends over the back wheels to make more room for the cargo area. Chevrolet, in their fleet of vehicles, first used the term. Today, many vehicles, including Toyota and Ford, use the term to refer to the same styling as that of Chevy trucks.

This type of bed style changed the market and led to more innovation in vehicles like the Apache Chevrolet. More buyers were attracted to the design as more features were added, including quad headlamps.

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Fleetside Bed vs. Stepside Bed: Key Differences

At A Glance

At a glance, the stepside truck design stands out on the road. Fleetside truck beds are widely used in many vehicle models from Chevy to GMC, Toyota, Ford, Jeep, Dodge, and many more. The classic look of the stepside makes it stand out in a sea of regular modern-designed fleetside trucks.

From this, you can tell that most stepside trucks are owned by classic truck enthusiasts since fleetside truck beds offer more advantages. However, your choice on which one looks better will boil down to personal preference. Some may love the modern and common look of the Fleetside, but others may see the appeal in getting something less mundane and more classic like stepside.

Bed Dimensions

The stepside truck bed style has a narrower cargo box when compared to the fleetside bed style. The size of the bed depends on various factors, like the model of the vehicle, but you can expect a standard size of a 6.5-foot stepside body and a 6.5-foot fleetside body in most Chevy trucks.

The 6.5-foot stepside body comes with an inside length of 78.5 inches, a width of 50 inches, and a height of 17.5 inches. The 6.5-foot fleetside body features 78.5 inches inside length, 72 inches inside width, and 19.5 inches inside height.

Bed DimensionsStepsideFleetside
Inside length78.5 inches78.5 inches
Inside width50 inches72 inches
Inside height17.5 inches19.5 inches

Weight

Weight is also dependent on the vehicle and model. For example, the C1434 is rated for a maximum fleetside body payload of 1500 pounds, whereas the stepside body has a maximum load of 1550 pounds. In this case, you can tell the stepside can carry more weight, albeit small.

Value

  • Which is more valuable?

Stepside trucks are more valuable depending on the specific type of truck and the overall condition of the whole machine. The stepside truck design is less common, making it a great option to sell to truck enthusiasts who are willing to spend the extra cash.

  • Which is better for sale?

Fleetside trucks are better for sale since they are the standard truck bed style in the current market. They are more likely to get out of the lot than stepside trucks that are more conspicuous. Additionally, fleetside trucks are easier to make, which helps get spare parts.

  • Which is better for personal use?

Stepside truck bed styles were built to help in loading and offloading cargo. They were utilitarian-oriented compared to the Fleetside. Fleetside trucks are tailored more for personal use, which is excellent for a family car or a daily commuting vehicle. 

  • Which cost more maintenance fee?

Since stepside trucks are more complex in manufacturing and maintenance, they will cost more to keep up than Fleetside. This is one of the advantages of a fleetside truck bed. 

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Pros and Cons of Fleetside

Pros

  • Has a more streamlined design
  • Manufacturing is simpler
  • Production process is cheaper
  • Has a clean, modern look
  • Has more carrying capacity

Cons

  • Less stylish
  • It is ordinary and mundane when compared to stepside

Pros And Cons of Stepside

Pros

  • More stylish when compared to Fleetside
  • Features a unique and classic look
  • It is easier to load and unload cargo onto the truck
  • Features fenders
  • May improve the overall handling of the truck

Cons

  • Cost more to maintain
  • More expensive
  • Has less carrying capacity than fleetside truck beds

What Are Chevy Truck Fans Talking About Them?

What Do They Like About Fleetside?

  • “Fleetside has more room. Stepside is lighter but has less space. As for the looks department, you are going to get mixed opinions; personally, I like both. The step side bed should bolt right up.” Xtremegeek, s10 forum. 
  • “I own both, and I like fleetside better cause then you don’t have to buy step shavers.” LowLady, s10 Forum. 
  • “If you’re going to be using the bed regularly, I will go with the Fleetside because the stepside is too narrow to fit a lot of stuff, and the flares can be a pain when you’re trying to tie something down. If your truck is like mine and it rarely ever hauls anything, I’d go stepside just because I think it looks better, but that’s strictly my opinion.” – Firm, s10 Forum. 

What Don’t They Like About Fleetside?

  • “The stepside has a little more character (than fleetside).” – Mr. Sandog, Performance Trucks 
  • “I have a fleetside too, and the stepside sometimes looks a little nicer cause it gives the illusion that the truck sits wider.” Clutch, s10 forums.

What Do They Like About Stepside?

  • “I like having something different and maybe not everybody likes. I also like the bulged fenders; they give an otherwise boxy area some character.” – Iluvcamaros, GM Inside News
  • “I always thought it looked nice. The plastic fenders are good and bad, easy to replace if needed. Reduced cargo space, yes, but still enough space for a quick trip to the local hardware store.” – OKCSuburban, Automotive Forums.
  • “The original stepside trucks were used on the farm simply because it was easier to wash out at the end of the day after hauling corn/manure/pigs to the sale.
  • They also used a lot in the cities years ago for utility trucks. You could take off the fenders and mount a utility box that was made to fit the bed-side, one on each side. It turned the bed into what we call now a utility bed.” – Javero, Automotive Forums.

What Don’t They Like About Stepside?

  • “I don’t like stepside because of the wasted space, extra mass, wasted steel, and wasted money on the production process of stepside.” Smart, GM inside News
  • “I like stepside also, although I will state the obvious lack of capacity relative to a fleetside.” – 91, GM Inside News. 
  • “I prefer Fleetside, but that is because I want to use a truck as a truck. You can lay down a 4×8 sheet of plywood in a long bed, with the stepside it is leaned up against the side and hanging out the tailgate.” – Wildgoosechase, Gm Inside News. 

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Chevy Fleetside vs. Stepside Bed Trucks: The History

The era of Stepside Bed

Stepside Bed
Stepside beds were GM’s first post-war line of vehicles designed for the commercial and personal market. Credit:

The first series of stepside truck beds were introduced by General Motors. These were GM’s first post-war line of vehicles designed for the commercial and personal market. The series ran from 1918 to 1952 and included vehicles like the Chevy 3100 Series from 1947.

The designs were modified and tuned after several years to form several generations of the entire stepside lineup. The second series ran from 1954 to 1959, where the height of the bed sides was increased and the height lowered.

So, when did GM stop making stepside trucks? 

As per the GM calendar, the last year of stepside was 2005. The design was done away with mainly because the style of trucks had evolved to suit the dominance of fleetside trucks. Stepside trucks are currently not being made by manufacturers. The disappearance of stepside gave way to the popular Fleetside taking over the market. 

The era of Fleetside Bed

Fleetside Bed
The first appearance of the fleetside truck bed was in 1955 in the Cameo Carrier.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The first appearance of the fleetside truck bed was in 1955 in the Cameo Carrier. The bed extended the width of the entire design, took off the step, and created a more synonymous design with flat bed-sides. Some of the first vehicles to incorporate this design were the likes of the 1959 Chevrolet Pickup and the 1961 Ford ‘Unibody’ truck.

The design became widely popular since it was a low-cost design that provided more space and improved truck styling.

Stepside and Fleetside Chevy Truck Chart

YearsStepsideFleetside
1918-1938: Early TrucksYES1918-1938: Early Trucks StepsideNO
1939-1947: Arsenal of DemocracyYES
1939-1947: Arsenal of Democracy stepside
NO
1947-1955: Chevy Advance-Design TrucksYES
1947-1955: Chevy Advance-Design Trucks stepside
NO
1955-1959: Chevy Task Force TrucksYES
1955-1959: Chevy Task Force Trucks stepside
YES
1955-1959: Chevy Task Force Trucks fleetside
1960-1966: First Generation Chevy C/K SeriesYES
1960-1966: First Generation Chevy C/K Series stepside
YES
1960-1966: First Generation Chevy C/K Series fleetside
1967-1972: Second Generation Chevy C/K SeriesYES
1967-1972: Second Generation Chevy C/K Series stepside
YES
1967-1972: Second Generation Chevy C/K Series fleetside
1973-1986: Third Generation Chevy C/K SeriesYES
1973-1986: Third Generation Chevy C/K Series stepside
YES
1973-1986: Third Generation Chevy C/K Series fleetside
1988-1998: Fourth Generation Chevy C/K Series (GMT400)YES
1988-1998: Fourth Generation Chevy C/K Series (GMT400) stepside
YES
1988-1998: Fourth Generation Chevy C/K Series (GMT400) fleetside
1987-1991: Chevy R/V SeriesNOYES
1987-1991: Chevy R/V Series fleetside
1998-2006: First Generation Chevy Silverado (GMT800)YES
1998-2006: First Generation Chevy Silverado (GMT800) stepside
YES
1998-2006: First Generation Chevy Silverado (GMT800) fleetside
2007-2013: Second Generation Chevy Silverado (GMT900)NOYES
2007-2013: Second Generation Chevy Silverado (GMT900) fleetside
2014-2019: Third Generation Silverado (GMT K2XX)NOYES
2014-2019: Third Generation Silverado (GMT K2XX) fleetside
2019-present: Fourth Generation Chevy Silverado (GMT T1XX)NOYES
2019-present: Fourth Generation Chevy Silverado (GMT T1XX) fleetside

Read more: Chevy Truck Generations, Model Years, And Body Styles By Year (With Chart)

 Which Chevy Bed Style Should I Choose?

The style of your choice is dependent on what you are looking for. The stepside truck bed style is more common among those who want a classic look and a ‘step’ to help load and unload cargo easily.

The fleetside design is a great choice for those who want a modern look, a low-cost design machine, and more space. Moreover, the fleetside design has been said to extend the truck’s lifespan, which is excellent for those looking for longevity.

Which one do you like better between stepside and fleetside?

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2 thoughts on “Fleetside vs. Stepside: Which Chevy Truck Bed Style Is Better?”

  1. Phew! I felt so relieved after you explained that stepside truck beds are much more convenient to upkeep. My uncle keeps wondering lately if he should modify his truck before the end of this year. I believe he should seek professional aid to help him make the right selection later.

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