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    Resources — lift kit

    The Ultimate Tacoma Tire & Wheel Guide

    The Ultimate Tacoma Tire & Wheel Guide

    Wheels and tires are the best way to customize any vehicle, and our Tacomas are no exception. Whether you intend to do some serious off-roading or just cruise down the highway, there are options for you. There are some things to know before diving in.

    Stock Tacoma Tire Sizes

    Between 1995 and 2018, Toyota did have varying sizes of the wheels and tires for the Tacomas. Even one model year may have different sizes depending on the model you get: base model, PreRunner, etc. If you’ve got stock wheels, it’s best to check your manual to see what the factory tires are supposed to be. That doesn’t mean different sized tires can’t fit, and it doesn’t mean you can’t change your wheels. That’s where customization comes in.

    Tacoma Lug Patterns

    Your lug pattern is also something to consider if you plan on changing the wheels. You are most likely going to have a five or six lug pattern. Which one you have depends on the model, but you can also always take a glance at yours or check your manual. In most cases, a 4x4 or PreRunner is going to have a six lug pattern (5.5 inch or 137.7mm medium offset), and the rest will have the five-lug pattern (4.5 inch or 114.3 high positive offset).

    Regardless if you want traction or looks, a bigger tire on our trucks is a good way to go. From the factory, we have room for a larger tire, but how big can we go? There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your big tires.

    Speedometer Calibration

    Your speedometer and odometer will be affected. Both are calibrated by the factory to work with factory wheel and tire sized. Your speed is calculated by the number of rotations your wheels are making. If you pick bigger tires, you are increasing the circumference around the tire, so the distance around it is longer.

    Here’s an example. Your 2017 TRD Pro has stock tires that are 265/70R16, but you put 265/60R18s on instead. Your speedometer will read 50 MPH, but you’re actually going 49.86 MPH. That’s not a big difference, but if you drive it frequently and plan to keep it for a while, your odometer will show a false reading. You can reprogram your truck for new wheel sizes to avoid this issue.

    Powerloss

    A more noticeable issue with larger tires is a loss of power. When you increase the diameter of your wheel, you effectively decrease your rear axle ratio. This will cause a reduction of torque upon acceleration.

    Lift Kits & Spacers

    Keep in mind that you can only increase your tire and wheel size by so much until you need to lift your truck, get new wheels, or start trimming. Just remember the “3% Rule”. Basically you can increase your tire height or width by 3% before having to change your ride height or wheels. In numbers, this is about 1 inch of height and about .3 inches of width.

    If you lift your Tacoma, you can get away with bigger tires. A good way to remember how big of a tire you can have is to think one inch: one inch of lift can allow one inch more height in your tires. This does not apply to the width of the tires. Width depends on the backspacing of your wheels.

    Legal Note: If your wheels and tires are wide enough to where they extend beyond the body of your truck, you may have to buy fender flares or mud flaps to cover the excess protrusion. Some states in the US require wheels to be covered. Check with your state laws to be on the safe side.

    *There are not many viable options for stock wheels with a three-inch lift. A common width for tires on a Tacoma with a three in lift is 285mm, so the tires sizes are based around that. We are going to skip the 15” wheels for obvious reasons.

    When it comes to buying tires and rims, there are plenty of options to choose from. It all depends on your budget, where you are planning on driving, and personal taste. What looks good to you may not look good to someone else. To help you out, however, let’s take a look at some popular options. I will focus more on the size of wheel and tire, and not so much on the style of the wheels themselves. Again, that comes down to personal preference.

    Popular Tacoma Tires

    BFGoodrich KO2's

    For people with 16” wheels, a common choice on the forums are the 265/75 R16 KO2s by BFGoodrich. You can generally get them for around $150 to $180 each. Reviews on TireRack rate them at around nine out of ten. Tacoma users say they have some great snow traction and they have a long life to them. For the biggest sized tire you can get with no lift on a 16” wheel and best all-terrain performance, it looks like it’s hard to beat.

    You can check them out and purchase them on TireRack or Amazon.

    General Grabber AT2's

    For about $150 each, Taco drivers on 17” wheels tend to like General Grabber AT2 265/70 R17. They are aggressive-looking, and seem to perform well on and off-road, and have a long life. If you’re looking for the max tire size on a 17” wheel without lifting your truck, this could be the choice for you.

    You can check them out and purchase them on TireRack or Amazon.

    Cooper Discoverers

    At the same size as the Grabbers, Cooper’s Discoverer is a common option as well. Though not as rushed after as the other, it still gets decent reviews, and at less than $150 each, they are a pretty good deal. For day to day driving, it's an all-around good tire.

    You can check them out and purchase them on TireRack or Amazon.

    Nitto Terra Grappler G2's

    A final option, while closer to the $200 mark, is the Nitto Terra Grappler G2 (there's are what I have). They are an aggressive-looking all-terrain with good reviews. The Nittos are popular on a number of off-roading sites, which should give you confidence in them being able to conquer most terrains.

    You can check them out and purchase them on Amazon.

    Now that we've gotten through some of the more popular tires Tacoma owners lean toward, let's dive into wheels by starting with discussing offset.

    Wheel Offset

    One of the more common questions people have when they start looking at wheels is "what on earth is offset"? The offset of a wheel is the distance from its hub mounting surface to the centerline of the wheel.

    Offset can only be one of three types, zero offset, positive offset, and negative offset. These are all measured in millimeters.

    Zero Offset: The mounting surface is even with the centerline of the wheel.

    Positive Offset: The mounting surface is located in the front half of the wheel closer to the wheel face. Positive offset wheels are typically found on front-wheel-drive cars and newer rear-wheel-drive cars. You will typically never find these on a Tacoma.

    Negative Offset: The mounting surface is located in the back half of the wheel closer to the back lip flange. This moves the wheel out away from the vehicle brakes and suspension. The wheels you see on many lifted Tacomas are typically going to have a negative offset.

    Here's a great image that shows the difference between the three.

    Popular Tacoma Wheels

    Fuel Off-Road Assault Wheels

    Fuel Off-Road Assault Wheels are probably one of the most aggressive looking aftermarket wheels you can buy for your Tacoma. These wheels feature a one-piece cast construction to ensure maximum stiffness while keeping the weight of the wheel low. They are extremely durable and make your truck look like a million bucks. They typically run around $150 - $250 per wheel.

    You can check them out and purchase them here.

    HELO HE878 Wheels

    The HELO HE878 wheels provide more of a rugged look for your Toyota Tacoma. These wheels were crafted from heavy-duty materials using avant-garde technologies and industry-leading equipment while providing extreme attention to detail to give you the look and style you are looking for. They typically run around $160 - $260 per wheel.

    You can check them out and purchase them here.

    KMC XD301 Wheels

    The KMC XD3001 wheels are built for Tacoma owners looking for an extremely lightweight, strong, and yes... race-tested wheel. These wheels are road-tough and provide a perfect balance of performance and reliability. Just because they are lightweight and race-tested, don't think for a minute they won't hold up to off-roading, because they will and Tacoma owners love them. They typically run about $140 to $200 per wheel.

    You can check them out and purchase them here.

    Method MR306 Mesh Wheels

    The Method MR306 Mesh wheel is crafted from a single piece of strong, lightweight aluminum alloy. It features a split, six-spoke design that gives it a timeless, yet aggressive look. This wheel is one of the only wheels on the market that is built with a mesh design with a simulated beadlock on the lip. these wheels are a perfect addition to any Toyota Tacoma. They typically run about $140 to $200 per wheel.

    You can check them out and purchase them here.

    TRD Pro Matte Black Wheels

    The TRD Pro wheels are definitely my favorite, that's why I have them on my Toyota Tacoma. These 17 inch wheels are matte black and have the red TRD logo in the center. They are machined out of light weight aluminum and are perfect for giving you a custom look, while retaining Toyota branding. These are a little on the expensive side, running around $190 to $220 per wheel.

    You can check them out and purchase them here.

    In closing, there are tons of options for both wheels and tires for your Tacoma. At the end of the day, it all depends on budget and taste. If you can lift your truck, you have more options. If you can get new wheels, you have more options. As long as you keep in mind the speedometer and odometer changes, as well as potential rubbing issues if you go too big, then you'll be fine. People love to add mods to their Tacoma trucks, so make your truck yours!

    Image Credits:

    BFGoodrich KO2 – User Mauiboi84 on Tacoma World

    General Grabber AT2 – User Mtbkrguy on Tacoma World

    Cooper Discoverer – User Maticuno on Tacoma World

    Nitto Terra Grappler G2 – User texastaco11 on Tacoma World

    Fuel Assualt - User Gone Country on Tacoma World

    Helo - User Chestytaco on Tacoma World

    KMC XD - User Taco_lv on Tacoma World

    Method MR306 - User Kmorris45 on Tacoma World

     

    Wheel Offset - Lesschwab.com

    * Please note that some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.

    The Ultimate Tacoma Lift Kit Guide

    The Ultimate Tacoma Lift Kit Guide

    Trucks are best customized, if you own one, you know what I’m talking about. When customizing, there are so many options from appearance to function. While Tacoma’s are a killer truck straight from the factory, let's be real: we like our Tacos with a little height!

    In my last post, we covered different grille options. In today’s post, we’re talking lifts. Regardless if you're lifting your Tacoma for looks or function, you’ve got options, but there are some things you might need to know before you start shopping around. Let's dive into some technical terms, and then some lift options so you can decide what's best for you and your truck.

    Technical Info and Terminology

    Coilover: A coilover is the front coil spring and shock assembly. The parts are one unit. A typical spring and shock suspension are two separate parts.

    Shock: A shock is an oil or gas filled piston that's designed to compress and expand with suspension travel. They are designed to absorb impacts to give you a smoother or stiffer ride, depending on the type you choose. You can see these inside your springs.

    Upper Control Arms: UCA are at the front of your independent front suspension (IFS). They are mainly responsible for the vertical alignment of the front spindles. They generally are not load-bearing.

    Lower Control Arms: LCA are also part of the front IFS. These work together with your UCA, but these see most of the load-bearing.

    Leaf Springs: These are one of the oldest suspension designs. Leaf springs are made of a number of strips of metal curved slightly upward and clamped together one above the other.

    Add-A-Leaf: AALs are additional springs that are excessively arched to provide additional lift or support to the rear of some trucks.

    Leaf Pack: these are a replacement set of leaf springs. They are generally designed to have a better spring rate. Leaf packs may also add lift or additional load capacity.

    Alignment

    Now that we've covered the parts of the suspension, let's go over the aspects of alignment.  It's important to make sure your alignment is correct. If it's not, you could have uneven and quick wear and tear on your tires and other components. ALWAYS make sure that you have your truck aligned after doing any suspension work, especially when adding a lift.

    Caster: This is the angle that your front tires are tilted in relation to the steering axis.

    Camber: The angle that your tires are in relation to the vertical axis when viewed from the front of the vehicle.

    Toe: The angle at which your front tires turns in or out in relationship to each other.

    Types of Lift Kits (Front)

    We've got the suspension components covered, so let's get to the lift options for our trucks, what they are, and what they consist of. There are a few to consider for the front and rear. For the front, we have spacer lift kits, coil lift kits, and coilcover lift kits.

    Spacer Lift Kits: Spacers (also known as leveling kits, leveling spacers, or spring blocks) are the most inexpensive method to give you a fixed amount of lift in your truck. They don't require any new suspension components or modification. They simply add “space” between your suspension and the body of the vehicle effectively giving you typically one to three inches of lift.

    You should know that if you do any serious off roading, a spacer lift is probably not the best option for you. Because spacers compress the shock, you could cause the ball joint to break if you hit a big rock or dip. Trust me, this has happened to several friends of mine, so be careful!

    Coil and Coilover Lift Kits: The kits operate the same way, but keep in mind the differences we stated before. Coils are separate pistons and springs, and coilovers are one unit. Now, while spacers add space to the existing units, coils and coilovers replace the stock suspension entirely. You can get them in all different sizes and stiffnesses. It all depends on what you're looking for.

    Coilovers are basically plug and play: remove the old, put in the new. Coilover lift kits are a bit more popular for the serious lifter. While they may cost more, they are already assembled and good to go. Some are also adjustable, depending on your needs.

    Here are some popular options for each to consider for your truck:

    Toytec Spacer Kit

    Toytec makes multiple suspension components for our trucks. This is their three inch spacer kit. At $169.99, they are relatively inexpensive, and they are designed to work with stock shocks.

    ReadyLift Leveling Kit

    This company also makes plenty of lift options. This kit costs slightly more at $239.95. Price and features depend on your situation and what you're looking for. 

    Toytec Front OEM Lift Coils

    Coils are generally inexpensive as well like these taller springs from Toytec for $169.99. Always be mindful when buying coils to make sure the shocks you have work with them.

    ICON Coilover Kit

    At over $1200, these kits are your most expensive. This particular kit from ICON offers adjustable ride height. This is a benefit of getting a complete coilover kit: more options.

    Types of Lift Kits (Rear)

    For the rear of our trucks, we'll be talking about lift blocks, add-a-leafs, and leaf packs. Since we've talked about these in some way, shape, or form earlier in this post, we don't need to go into too much detail.

    Lift Blocks: The principle of these is the same as spacers for the front. These are blocks that are placed under your rear leaf packs, on top of your axles. Kits generally include the lift blocks and longer U-bolts.

    Add-A-Leafs: As mentioned, this type of lift consists of an additional leaf spring that has an increased arc. They add lift by increasing the curve of your rear stock spring pack. They also allow added load capacity for hauling.

    Leaf Packs: Similar to replacing your coilovers up at the front, this is a replacement for your leaf springs in the back. Depending on what you get, these could increase your ride height, increase or decrease suspension travel, hauling capacity, and so on.

    Here are some popular options for each to consider for your truck:

    Tuff Country Block Kit

    Blocks are cheap, but effective for up to three inches. These blocks from Tuff Country can be found for about $60. A quick search online will lead you to many offerings for around the same price.

    Pro Comp Add-A-Leaf

    There are a multitude of popular brands for add-a-leafs including the very popular Toytec, but I picked this one to show you just how inexpensive this option can be as well. 4 Wheel Parts is selling this pair for about $35.

    Toytec Add-A-Leaf

    I figured I would throw this one in too. It’s a little bit extra at around $85, but it’s one of the more popular options out there for the Toyota Tacoma.

    All-Pro Leaf Pack

    A full on leaf spring swap with leaf packs is going to be your most expensive route. This kit from All-Pro Off-Road goes for about $550. Sometimes it may be best to consider an option such as this to avoid mixing new parts with stock parts. This would be a completely new unit.

    Types of Lift Kits (Body Lift)

    The last type of lift I’d like to discuss needs its own section: a body lift. This lifts your truck exactly the way it sounds by lifting the body. Spacers are added to the mounting points where the body of your truck meets the frame.

    While these are generally inexpensive, like this kit from Toytec for $180, there is more to it. You may want to get new bumper brackets to avoid such a gap between your bumper and body. You may also need things like steering and fuel line extensions. They are also not the most durable option.

    To wrap up, lifting your truck is a common practice. It looks good, and gives you more clearance. There are many options, and it all depends on what you want to do. If you just need to look good, a body lift, block, or spacer kit will do just fine. If you are serious about off-roading, then a full coilover and leaf pack kit are the best options.

    Keep in mind that any time you alter one component on your truck, it will affect something else. Factory trucks are technically meant to be left stock. If you modify them, it’s best to know what you’re doing. It’s always best to get an alignment after changing out suspension parts. If you lift your truck, remember that non-lift parts such as upper and lower control arms may need to be changed as well.

    Be safe, have fun, and lift ‘em up!

    * Please note that some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.