Best Truck Mods: Add Performance and Personality to Your Ride
Add performance and personality to your truck with these mods
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Truck owners aren’t generally the type of drivers who accept what they get at the dealership. Owning a truck is a labor of love, and there are many great ways to put your personal stamp on your vehicle while increasing its performance. Check out our guide with some of the best accessories and enhancers you can add to your pickup truck.
Tyger Auto TG Front Bumper Guard
This bumper guard mounts on the front of your truck. It comes in black or chrome. It fits the 2007-2018 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, and 1500.
- Pre-welded light mount channel
- Pre-drilled holes for a license plate
- It won’t fit all body styles
- Adds weight to your truck
RGB Led Rock Lights Four Pods Underglow Neon Light
This set of four LED light pucks are designed for installation on the underside of your truck. Each puck has three LED bulbs. The housing is die-cast aluminum. You can use the associated app to choose from 16 million color options.
- Waterproof rating of IP68
- Die-cast aluminum housing
- Power cords not long enough for large trucks
- Control box not waterproof or heat resistant.
Westin Black Rubber Bed Mat
This rubber mat fits in your truck’s bed and protects it from damage. It’s essential if you plan to move a lot of heavy things with your pickup.
- Universal size
- Ribbed surfaces grip tightly
- Installation is straightforward
- It May be unevenly cut
- The rubber can chip and suffer holes
Benefits of Truck Mods
- Increased performance. Modifying your truck’s performance can make it feel like a new vehicle. There are mods that will increase power output, handling, off-road capability, and aerodynamics, all increasing the performance of your truck.
- Functionality. Trucks were originally intended to make a task easier to perform, and modifying your truck to increase its functionality can be a big help. Toolboxes, hitch attachments, and lighting mods can make your truck a more capable workhorse.
- Comfort. Some truck owners spend a lot of time in their trucks, and comfort mods can be worth their weight in gold. Infotainment system upgrades, heated seat covers, hands-free device holders, and voice command capability can help make a long drive more bearable.
- Personality. One of the best parts of modifying your truck is that you get to show your personality and tailor it to suit you. Whether you want to show off with big wheels and lots of chrome, or prefer the subdued and blacked-out look, mods can make your truck a better representation of your personality.
Types of Truck Mods
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Performance mods can do a lot to increase the power and capability of your truck. Modifying the intake and exhaust will allow the engine to breathe better, increasing its horsepower output. An engine tuner can adjust your truck’s ECU settings and bump up the truck’s power while possibly increasing fuel mileage as well. Bigger off-road tires may make the truck slower on the road, but will allow it to better navigate tougher terrain. All these mods will improve the performance of your truck in some way, so they’re worth considering if tuning is your thing.
Aesthetic mods are intended to improve the look of your truck. These mods can include something simple like tinted windows and exhaust tips to high-dollar items like vehicle wraps and big wheels. Whatever your particular style is, you’ll be able to find some modifications that will allow you to put your own spin on your truck and make it stand out in a crowd.
Trucks are meant to serve a purpose after all. Utility mods can be a big help to someone who uses their truck to make money or get a job done regularly. Toolboxes, winches, hitch attachments, bed rails, ladder racks, and light bars are all utility mods that can help your truck help you. There are mods that blur the line between utility performance like lift kits, while other mods muddy the water between utility and aesthetics like brush guards with winch mounts.
K&N air filters have been a staple in the vehicle modification world since the early 1960s. Starting as an air filter designed for motorcycles, this Riverside, Calif. company offers products like this Drop-in, washable and reusable air filter for 2007-2019 Ford and Lincoln trucks.
Husky Liners was founded in 1988 in Winfield, Kan. It producse top-quality floor liners for all types of vehicles, but especially for trucks. Check out this Husky Liner footwell set for 2014-2018 Chevrolet and GMC pickups.
Since the mid-1980s, Flowmaster has been producing exhaust systems and mufflers, specializing in enhancing performance and sound. This Flowmaster Direct-Fit Exhaust System for the RAM 1500 5.7L V8 will replace your stock exhaust and add some rumble to your truck.
Weather Guard brand toolboxes have been around since 1968. Calling Crystal Lake, Ill. home, Weather Guard makes truck and van tool storage options that are widely used by contractors and utility workers. This Weather Guard Aluminum Saddle Box is a popular choice for truck bed tool storage.
Truck Mod Pricing
- Up to $250: Mods in this price range are usually aesthetic or utilitarian. Floor mats, budget toolboxes, and wind guards are prominent choices in this range.
- $250 to $1,000: In this price range, you can find tonneau covers, quality running boards, winches, and performance mods like exhaust, intake, and tuning systems.
- $1,000 and Up: This is the range you’ll find yourself in if you’re looking into lift or lowering kits, specialty tires, wheels, and serious performance mods like turbocharger swaps.
There are some mods, particularly utility mods, that benefit from an extra layer of security. Say you’re using a top of the line toolbox: It won’t do you any good to store your expensive tools inside if you can’t lock the box. Having a quality lock that can be secured and maintained for ease of use is a necessary feature.
Performance mods, particularly tuners, will benefit from having a degree of tunability available to the user. While it’s not a good idea to give just anyone access to their truck’s ECU programming, having a few different levels that you can adjust to suit your needs is a nice feature that a lot of quality tuners have. The years of drop-in “chips” are behind us, thankfully.
If you’re into modifying the appearance of your truck, it’s nice to be able to match your components for a seamless, more consistent look. Buying your parts from a well-known manufacturer means you’ll probably be able to match the color and finish, making it easier to maintain your style.
- Warranty. If your truck is under warranty, modifying it may cost you more than you bargained for. For example, if you’re running tuning software and the ECU decides to jump ship, you’re going to have an issue explaining that at the dealership. It’s important to remember this before you spend a ton of money on mods that could get you in hot water.
- Ease and Cost of Install. While it’s somewhat simple to figure out the cost of a product, it’s more difficult to establish labor costs to have it installed if you need to. Mechanics have varying rates, and some won’t do aftermarket modification work. If you’re not capable of installing a part yourself, make sure you budget for a professional installation.
- Mileage. Along with increasing your performance, you might find your gas mileage dropping. The first reason is some mods require more fuel to work properly. The more likely reason is that your foot will like the new mods and spend more time pressing on the gas pedal. Revving out a big V8 engine with an exhaust mod can be addicting.
Best Truck Mods Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Outfit the front of your truck with this rugged bumper guard. It comes in either black or stainless steel. It’s compatible with the 2007-2018 Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra 1500, 2019 Silverado Sierra LD & Limited. It’s constructed of heavy-duty 2.5-inch marine-grade stainless steel tubing. The chrome has a polished mirror finish. The frame is rust-resistant and has seamless welding. A nice feature is that it comes with the pre-welded light mount channel for optional LED lights added later. It also comes with two pre-drilled mounting holes for the license plate. You’ll appreciate the easy bolt-on installation.
The downside of this front bumper guard is that it won’t fit all of the models in this range. It won’t fit the 2019 and up Silverado/Sierra, 1500 New Body Style, or 2007 Classic.
Give your truck a custom glow with this LED light kit. It comes with four light pucks that each have three high-quality LEDs and controller chips. They’re durable enough to last with a waterproof rating of IP68. They’re also dust and rust-proof. You can safely drive through heavy rain and snow with them undamaged, thanks to the die-cast aluminum housing. Use the associated app to control your lights through a Bluetooth connection. You can set them to music mode and have them flash in time with your music. Each light comes with a 120-inch power cable. Each puck measures 2.85 x 1.58 inches. Each kit also includes all necessary mounting hardware and the main control ballast. If you want more light, there are six, eight, and twelve pod kits available.
Unfortunately, the power cords may not be long enough for larger vehicles. This can make it difficult to get an even glow throughout your truck. While the lights are water and heat resistant, the control box isn’t, so you’ll need to find a safe place for it.
Protecting your truck’s bed from unnecessary damage is what this product does best. The Westin Black Rubber Bed Mat will keep heavy items from scratching your bed, and also keep things from sliding around while you’re driving. The Westin Black Rubber Bed Mat is made from top-quality material. We like that the rubber is thick and durable, and the universal size takes some of the guesswork out of selecting the right one for your truck. What we like most about the Westin Black Rubber Bed Mat is that it’s super grippy, holding itself and the items you’re putting on top of it in place.
There are a few issues worth noting about this pick. The universal size is well intended, but the reality is not all truck beds are identically laid out. This means that some users have found that the bed mat is too small or too large for use in their truck. There may also be a quality control issue, as some mats were clearly cut unevenly.
Get off of the line faster with this pedal commander. It eliminates the delay from your electronic gas pedal. It comes with four modes, eco, city, sport, and sport+. There are a total of 36 adjustable settings for you to fine-tune the performance of your truck. It’s compatible with Dodge RAM trucks from 2001-2018, including the 1500,2500, and 3500. You’ll appreciate the quick and easy installation process that takes about six minutes. The plug and play system is Bluetooth compatible, so you can adjust your system through the associated app. Most importantly, this mod won’t void your warranty or leave any traces of its presence on the ECU.
Unfortunately, this mod doesn’t increase your truck’s horsepower. It only shortens the response time of the engine. You also become accustomed to the shortened response time, making it seem normal and unnoticeable over time.
Make it easier to get in and out of your truck with this set of four side steps. Each step is crafted from cast aluminum for superior strength. There are no welded seams to increase their weight capacity to a total of 350 pounds. This single piece of chrome-plated aluminum has an extra deep step for greater stability. They have a universal fitment, making them easier to install. The set of four steps make it easy to outfit your truck’s front and rear doors. The footpad has an anti-slip surface to prevent your foot from slipping off.
One drawback of these steps is that they aren’t very wide or have a deep footpad. This can make them not big enough for larger work boots. However, they are plenty large enough for dress shoes and sandals.
Install this truck bed assist on your tailgate and safely lower your truck’s tailgate. Each assist is custom designed for each make and model of truck. This ensures that it is the right size and strength for your specific tailgate. It will work in conjunction with your stock factory cables. What’s nice about this mod is that you only need one for it to work. Your assist will come with all of the required hardware needed for installation. The hydraulic assist piston and hardware are extensively tested to ensure it can withstand heavy use.
Unfortunately, your stock cable can get bound up in the piston. This will hinder the assist’s ability to raise and lower. It can also wear the protective coating off of your stock cables. This kit does come with a plastic collar that you can put on your stock cable to protect it.
Give your truck a sporty look and create a sturdy place for overhead light installation with this sport truck bar. You can choose from either a textured black or polished stainless steel finish. Your sport bar will mount just behind the cab of your truck on the rails of your truck bed. It’s constructed of large tubes and removable mesh side plates. On top of the bars, there is a flat plate with pre-drilled holes for light mounts. This sport bar has a universal fit to work with any full-size pickup truck.
Unfortunately, the universal fit means it can be difficult and complicated to install. The instructions are vague, and you'll have to assemble the bar and adjust it to your truck.
- While modding your truck, make sure to keep it tuned up with regular cleanings and fluid changes. Sometimes the best way to get more performance out of your truck is by simply taking care of it properly.
- When exploring more complex mods, be aware that superchargers and turbochargers are not the same things. Turbochargers boost your engine power using exhaust, while superchargers rely on the mechanical movements of the engine itself. While superchargers will get you a lot more power, turbochargers are cleaner and more fuel-efficient.
- Be aware that digital tuning chips can permanently damage your engine if turned up too high.
Q: How does a cold air intake help my truck’s engine performance?
A: Think of it as a decongestant for your engine. Cold air intakes increase horsepower by cooling the air that enters your engine, making it more oxygen-rich and leading to more efficient fuel burns.
Q: Is there a way to permanently protect my truck bed from damage instead of using a temporary insert?
A: Yes. You can purchase permanent coating sprays that will bond to your bed and strengthen it against whatever you plan to throw in there. If you plan on using one of these, be careful to spray in a single even layer.
Q: What other options do I have for modding my truck?
A: Superchargers and turbochargers will crank up your horsepower far beyond initial specs. More efficient exhaust systems are also available, and on the cargo side, you can buy protectors for your tailgate in addition to your bed.
For better fuel efficiency and performance, we recommend the K&N Cold Air Performance Intake as the best choice for modding your truck.
The Westin truck bed protector provides great protection and value for your money.
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