Gas prices might be surging and hybrid vehicles might be inching into the spotlight, but Americans will always love their trucks. In fact, according to one recent report, pickup trucks account for around 21% of all vehicles on U.S. roadways.
While they might be as popular as ever, trucks are anything but run-of-the-mill. Today, there are more ways than ever before to give yours a custom touch.
Not sure which features to invest in, and which to skip? Before you customize your truck, read on. Today, we’re sharing five of the best upgrades that are sure to give it the personalized look you want.
Change the Tires
When it comes to truck customization, few changes are as dramatic as upgrading the tires. While there’s nothing wrong with the set that comes standard on yours, they’re just that: standard.
Turning heads on the road requires making a few adjustments to the wheels that came on your ride. just like using deviant race parts on your off-road vehicle. Yet, before you hop on the latest trend and start choosing the first ones you see, it’s important to understand the two different categories.
Wheel and Tire Options
First, you can choose oversized wheels with smaller tires. This puts more emphasis on the wheel itself and definitely delivers some major attitude. If you’re leading with aesthetics, then this is a solid choice, but keep in mind that this look isn’t super rugged.
If you intend to take your truck on a lot of outdoor adventures, then you need tires that are robust enough to keep up. With large wheels, the tire’s sidewall is required to be a little slimmer, which can make it less durable.
While they’re fine for everyday use, you might want to think twice before taking these tires on rough terrain. Slim-profile tires can also be expensive, so be prepared to shell out some cash if you find ones you like.
The second option is to switch that ratio and go with a small wheel and a large tire. As you might expect, this gives you more grip and durability on the road. If you ever want to take your truck off the road, you can simply remove a little air from the tires to soften them.
Lift It or Lower It
When it comes to truck customization, elevation is everything. You don’t have too many choices with this one, but each selection can make a major impression. Let’s take a look at your two options.
Lifting Your Truck
Custom lifted trucks command attention on the road. They stand tall above the other vehicles and give any driver an air of authority.
In basic terms, lift kits are designed to lift your car off the ground, allowing you more clearance underneath it. While you might not need the extra wiggle room on the highway, you’ll be glad you have it if you ever venture into rockier territory.
With a lift kit, you can rest assured that the bottom of your truck won’t scrape against the ground while you drive. This way, you can traverse even the roughest ground with ease. If you plan to install large tires onto your truck down the road, you’ll be glad you invested in the lift kit, which is the only way you can feasibly do so.
Functionality aside, lifted trucks also look tough and rugged. These kits allow drivers to completely transform their trucks, giving them a brand-new look that gets noticed.
Lowering Your Truck
It might not be as popular as lifting your truck, but some drivers choose to lower theirs instead. This trend is especially popular among vintage truck enthusiasts who love to make their vintage rides look as unique as possible.
While this look might seem cool when you’re parked at a car show, it’s not exactly practical on the road.
You need at least some degree of space between the bottom of your truck and the road for your vehicle to operate properly. Knowing this, many drivers who prefer lowered trucks will purchase a separate air suspension kit to raise them a little when it’s time to actually drive.
Not only does the kit make it easier to drive your truck around town, but it also means that roadblocks and speedbumps won’t pose as much of a threat.
You might not notice if a truck doesn’t have great-quality liners on the floorboards and a new bed liner in the back. However, you’ll definitely take note when it does. Here are the two categories to know.
This is one of those custom truck accessories that seem small but packs a major punch. When you invest in premium liners, you send the message that you care about your truck and you want to keep every inch of it as clean as possible.
Sometimes, a new truck may come with floor liners or floor mats. Usually, these standard mats are made out of a hard-to-clean fabric that blends seamlessly with the rest of the interior. Other times, you’re on your own when it’s time to add them in.
Whether you have any or not, it’s time for an upgrade. Add sturdy, heavy-duty rubber liners and keep messes, spills, and debris away from the cloth floors. Drivers with small children know that these mats make an essential difference in keeping your truck relatively clean and organized.
Likewise, a bed liner works in much of the same way.
This liner protects the surface of your truck bed from becoming scratched, stained, or dinged as you haul items back and forth. This is an ideal addition for anyone who uses their truck to transport materials, such as a building contractor or construction worker.
Look for one that’s made out of tough rubber, but that won’t scratch the surface of your truck when you install it. These liners also protect the bed of your truck from intense sunlight, which can help preserve the paint underneath.
Install a Bed Cover
A bed cover is a protective covering that you can install to fit over the bed of your truck. It’s designed to secure the area completely, protecting any items that you have stored underneath.
Not only does this keep them safe from would-be thieves, but it also safeguards them against the elements.
Bed covers can be as simple or elaborate as you prefer. If you want a straightforward one that gets the job done, there are budget-friendly options without too many frills or features. You can find both hard and soft bed covers that open and close in many different, ways, including:
- Roll up
- Fold up
If you need a little more space, consider getting a bed topper or canopy instead.
These fit higher up on your truck bed and give you more space. The heaviest-duty ones can even turn your truck into an SUV, giving you a ton more space in the back. This is ideal if you plan to camp in your truck or need to haul a ton of gear.
While they will cost more than a traditional cover, many truck enthusiasts consider them worth the upcharge. Most models are lockable and made of either fiberglass or aluminum. While you may be able to install a simple bed cover yourself, it’s best to trust this task to a shop that specializes in truck accessories and installation.
Add a Rack
If you decide to customize your own truck, one of the easiest and most effective ways to do so is by installing a rack on the top. These racks are perfect for carrying bikes, sleds, skis, and any other type of outdoor equipment that’s too big to fit safely in the truck bed.
In addition to top-sitting racks, you can also install what’s known as a headache rack. These are designed to fit vertically against your truck’s back windows. They protect those windows from impact if an item in the bed of your truck suddenly lurches forward during a sudden stop.
Not only does this prevent your windows from shattering, but it also keeps your passengers safe as they ride in the back seat!
If you really need to haul a lot of oversized equipment, you may want to invest in a large rack called a deck. These fit onto the top of your truck and allow you to transport other vehicles. While most drivers use theirs to hold an all-terrain vehicle (ATV), some are rugged enough to hold even more weight.
Be sure to check the weight limits on any rack you choose, and never exceed the posted amount.
Customize Your Truck Your Own Way
When you customize your truck, you can go as big or as small as you prefer! If you just want to give it a fresh look, then add a rack or bed cover. If you want to totally transform its appearance, turn it into an SUV with a bed canopy!
There’s no limit to the different looks you can create, so research the features you want and incorporate them on your vehicle.
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