It doesn’t get more American than driving a pickup across a dirt trail. But while vehicles like the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tacoma are some of the best selling in the country, the fun shouldn’t stop at leaving your vehicle in its stock form.
Indeed, there are all sorts of toys and essentials we can buy to make our pickup more enticing to drive and show off with any number of aftermarket parts. If you recently purchased a new or used truck, this is the guide to take your new ride from good to great.
Tires are the one thing connecting your truck to the road, so why would anyone skimp on ensuring they’re in good, working condition? Of course, there are plenty of places to go cheap when it comes to buying truck gear, but its shoes are not one of them.
In that vein, purchasing a dependable set of all-terrain tires will help ensure you experience a safe, comfortable ride on the road, along with superior grip on dirt tracks. Of course, you should still hunt around for deals and good prices, but, again, don’t play dollars and cents when it comes to tires.
Smart systems like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are common in new trucks, from Ford and Chevrolet, but others like the Tacoma and Tundra from Toyota have yet to adopt these popular interfaces. Luckily for everyone who wants their iPhone or Android smartphone in their vehicle, there are tons of aftermarket options that place CarPlay and Auto right in the dash.
Just make sure everything is compatible, as new trucks have lots of other tech features, like backup cameras, that need to communicate with the infotainment center. Moreover, some aftermarket units need special adapters to “speak” to the truck’s microphone (the one we use for hands-free calls), so make sure yours matches with everything in the cabin.
Of course, if you don’t want to shell out the cash for a brand new infotainment center, a good dash mount for your smartphone can go a long way. You’ll more than likely notice them near the driver’s steering wheel the next time you take an Uber or Lyft.
A new truck seems like it will look that way forever, but the interior and exterior can deteriorate quickly without proper care and maintenance. And this is especially true if you take your truck out camping or off-roading.
But this isn’t about expensive details and wraps that dealerships try to sell you with every oil change; rather, it’s about essential items like car soap, wax and microfiber cloths that can go a long way in preserving your car’s look. Check out a company like Chemical Guys, and grab an all-inclusive car care set to keep your truck looking brand new for years.
A lot of truck owners don’t realize how modular their rear cargo space can be in nature. Of course, there are plenty of people who choose to throw groceries, sports equipment and other keepsakes in the bed, where they tend to roll around and become a giant mess.
To take advantage of this space, you can go big with a blown out setup that includes a camper shell (4) and drawer system that will cost thousands, or just spend a few hundred bucks on dividers and cargo nets. No matter how far you go down either road, there’s no excuse to let your gear roll around in the back when you’re on the road.
This is where the fun begins. Half of the fun of owning a truck is buying any number of aftermarket upgrades that will help transform your ride into an off-road monster. Now, these upgrades aren’t usually cheap, but if you have the extra cash and want that rock crawler, these are some of the areas in which you can invest.
- Bumper and winch: A front bumper offers more clearance for large tires and keeps the brush off your paint, while a winch can pull you out of slick situations.
- Rock Rails: These steel beams run underneath your doors to protect the body from rock damage.
- Skid Plates: These steel plates (note: don’t use aluminum) protect important components under your truck from rock damage.
This only scratches the surface of the toys you can buy for your truck, but start here and your stock vehicle will quickly go from friendly mall crawler to an adventure machine that can go anywhere.
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