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10 Awesome Ways To Modify Your Toyota Tacoma

Oct 04, 2023Oct 04, 2023

Improve your Toyota Tacoma and make it truly your own with these awesome modifications.

The Toyota Tacoma, one of the best, if not the best, off-road pickup truck on the market today. Not an opinion — the truck sold over 200,000 units in both 2021 and 2022. The highest spec variant is the Toyota Tacoma TRD (Toyota Racing Development) which offers a 3.5-liter V6 producing 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque.

The best off-road pickup truck has 9.4 inches of ground clearance and a host of off-road features for enthusiasts like four-wheel drive capabilities, multi terrain monitors, and great build quality making maintenance easy. The Toyota Tacoma has a great foundation on which any power user can build upon for specific uses such as hauling or off-roading, starting at only $28,250. Here is a list of the most awesome ways to upgrade your Toyota Tacoma if you haven't gotten the TRD version, or you're thinking about changing the aesthetic.

Chances are you are going to be off-roading and hauling some heavy weight with your Toyota Tacoma, investing in suspension kits is a great idea for both. The front and rear springs have different stiffness in the Tacoma, getting new ones based on how much load you'll be carrying will help your car deal with the extra weight.

Similarly, if you will take your Toyota Tacoma on your next adventure, then a lift kit is a good idea, this will increase the angle of approach and departure for your car, so you can tackle the crevices more easily. A 6-inch lift can help you fit bigger tires and shocks so that you can really open up the car off the road.

Besides the look of larger, rugged tires, they're better at going over obstacles the bigger they are. This is a relatively simple upgrade you can make to your Tacoma, depending on your use case you may decide to go with a 33-inch tire and 17-inch wheel for off-roading, or if it's just for looks, a 20-inch wheel would look impressive.

Off-road tires are available for most Toyota cars, all terrain vs. mud tires is where your next decision lies, but keep in mind these aren't very good for highways. And if you're really precise when it comes to off-roading, you could even get a 12V powered air compressor that'll help you inflate and deflate these tires for those unforgiving trails.

RELATED: 10 Ways The 2024 Toyota Tacoma Will Be Perfect For Adventure Seekers

There are a host of lights available for the Toyota Tacoma. Ditch lights will help you cover 120 degrees on each side of the vehicle while light bars will increase the visibility in the front, there's even a light kit to make your Toyota Tacoma look like a raptor. They will definitely come in handy on those dark trails at night, you'll thank us the next time you avoid a ditch.

If you're planning on using the 1,685 payload capacity of the standard Tacoma, then under bed rail LED lights could be useful, specially if you've got a cover for your bed. And finally, if the interior lighting isn't doing it for you, then do get the interior LED lights that will give your car a more daytime feel.

Any camping aficionados will appreciate the Toyota Tacoma for its ability to be a good compact camping truck, a modification here would be a good roof rack for carrying a tent that you can set up right on top of your car. These tents can go up to 4 people and will cost around $2000, a small price to pay for your next portable family home. For the more adventurous types, a kayak could be a better fit for the roof rack.

There have been instances of living on the road where people have installed portable shower systems here, but the main idea is that roof racks help you get back that valuable space in the bed, and there is no doubt the car can handle the extra weight, what are all the extra suspension upgrades for anyway?

Even if you don't plan on going in deep water, a snorkel will help your Tacoma breathe better. Obviously, it will increase the wading depth beyond the recommended 2.25 ft right next to the grill under the headlight, but another benefit it will have is in dusty trails. The higher intake will prevent dust from going in the engine, improving performance and efficiency.

Might we also mention how the snorkel makes any vehicle look cooler and gives the rugged vibe. In the past, Toyota themselves would provide add-ons like the snorkel, but not to worry you can get all types of snorkels for your Toyota Tacoma though they will cost you around $500.

RELATED: 10 Coolest Features Of The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

If you have a base-model Toyota Tacoma and not the TRD Pro, then you probably won't have a skid plate to protect those powertrain components during serious mountain drives. Not to worry, a skid plate is a good investment that will protect your axles and sumps from damage and leaks.

Besides the underbody, doors are often the victims of off-road drives, which is what rock sliders are for! Not only do they protect your doors from scratches and damage, but look great and provide a platform to step up in case you have added a lift pack, which is highly suggested.

Another factor that distinguishes the higher models from the lower ones is the absence of a differential lock, now the software on these Toyotas is quite good at determining which wheel has traction and sending power to it, but sometimes you just need a good taste of mechanical engineering.

Ideally you'd get them on both front and back, but if you had a choice of only one, then the back is preferable. A locked differential will help you get a higher torque on the wheel with more traction, unlike normal differentials which only give 50/50 splits. The only problem with locked differentials is binding, a case where the excess torque accumulates within the drivetrain, it can only be released once the wheel leaves the ground. The curious among you may benefit from reading up on the differential types.

What is the most noticeable part of a vehicle? The front. A way you can enhance the look of your Toyota Tacoma is by changing the front bumper. Though these bumpers are quite expensive, costing around $2,000 they will allow you room and mounts to add your lights, winch, and skid plate.

Additionally, these bumpers are reinforced with steel, so the tough looks are valid and will keep the vehicle body safe from off-road collisions or with animals on the highway. While some can have quite aggressive looks to differentiate your Tacoma from the others on the road, there are versions that blend in with the factory vehicle, so they don't stick out.

So far, we've mostly talked about the functional upgrades and exterior of the vehicle, but where will you be spending most of your time? Sitting inside the vehicle. Whether you just want the factory seats to last longer or want to change the look of your vehicle, these seat covers for the Toyota Tacoma have you covered.

They come in a host of colors and customization options and are made from marine grade vinyl to withstand any off-road abuse. They're even side airbag compatible, so there is no need to worry about safety. If this level of customization isn't enough, then you can order your own custom pattern as well to make it truly unique.

RELATED: Why The 2024 Toyota Tacoma Proves The Long Wait Was Completely Worth It

If you did decide to get a new bumper for the Toyota Tacoma, chances are it has a spot for a winch. An off-road car cannot be complete without a good winch, it is a non-negotiable. Whether you want to get yourself or your pals out of a rut, or if you're traveling solo, this is a good investment.

The curb weight of a Toyota Tacoma is around 4000 lbs, multiply that by 1.5 and a 6000 lb capacity winch will be good. Equipped with basic winching techniques and a rock, tree, or car you'll be able to get out of any trouble, but do make sure that your battery can handle the 600 amps it takes to operate the winch, it can kill the battery pretty quick so keep that in mind.

Tried and tested engineer in the automotive industry with a passion for cars. Worked with automotive giants like Ford for electrification and software. Avid reader and now writer, set out to prove his opinions.