LAST UPDATED: November 27, 2019
Best Truck Mods: Add Performance and Personality to Your Ride
Add performance and personality to your truck with these mods
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON November 27, 2019
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 own personal stamp on your vehicle—all while increasing its performance. Check out our guide below to learn about some of the best accessories and enhancers you can add to any make or model of a pickup truck.
This air intake system helps your truck’s engine run more smoothly and powerfully by letting it “breathe.”
Provides noticeable increases in horsepower, acceleration, and gas mileage. Hardly requires any cleaning. Protected by a 10-year warranty.
The hose doesn’t fit with every kind of engine and requires extra parts in order to attach to some models.
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 fits almost all trucks. Heavy rubber and ribbed surfaces grip tightly to keep mat and loads from sliding around. Installation is extremely simple.
The fit is not completely universal and is occasionally too large or too small for some trucks. It may also be unevenly cut.
This large, lockable tool chest fits in your truck’s bed and has enough room for whatever equipment you need.
The 49-inch by 15-inch storage space and sturdy aluminum construction guarantees your tools will be safe for the journey. Fits easily into your bed, but is also easy to remove. Comes with locks and keys.
No padding on the inside, sometimes leading tools to slide around and damage the aluminum. The aluminum is also somewhat thin, and the latches may not work properly.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
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
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 2020
The 2020 Best Truck Mods Overall winner is the Performance Cold Air Intake from K&N. Decreasing the temperature while simultaneously increasing the volume of air your engine is getting can increase power and definitely enrich the driving experience.
The Performance Cold Air Intake by K&N has a lot to offer. We like that the engine feels stronger while accelerating, and the increase in gas mileage is a nice touch. The filter can be cleaned and reused, so if you have this mod for a while, you may end up saving some money on filters. Your truck will also sound really cool.
If we have any complaints about the K&N Performance Cold Air Intake, it would be that this kit doesn’t just drop in on all models. Users have reported that they’ve had to buy additional parts to make it work. While we’re not afraid of a little work, we’d prefer a direct fit.
Protecting your truck’s bed from unnecessary damage is what our value pick for Best Truck Mods 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 our value 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.
Our Best Truck Mods Honorable Mention goes to the Giantex Aluminum Tool Box. This tool box is large enough to hold whatever you can throw at it, while also securing your gear safely inside.
There’s a few things we like about the Giantex Aluminum Tool Box. For one, this box is not small. There’s enough room to hold quite a few tools, camping gear, or survival gear in the back. It’s also easy to install and remove, so you won’t have to pay a mechanic to install it. The aluminum build feels sturdy and durable as well.
Here’s where we tell you how the Giantex falls short. The interior of the box isn’t lined with any cushioning material, so there’s a good chance your prized tools will get scratched and possibly damaged. There’s also been a few complaints about latches wearing out or being misaligned, making closure difficult.
- 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.