The Toyota 4Runner is a great looking SUV from the factory. Sharp lines, conservative amount of badges, and a stylish interior. What if you want to be a little different? What if you’re tired of chrome? If you want to be different and not break the bank, you might want to consider “blacking out” your 4Runner either partially or all the way. Here is your ultimate guide to do just that!
First off, what is “blacking out” something? If you’re unfamiliar, blacking something out means you take a part or parts of the truck that are painted or chrome, and make them black: matte, gloss, or semi. This, as you will see, can be achieved by a number of methods depending on the part.
Here are some of the main methods of blacking parts out. I am not going to go into much detail about specific parts just yet.
METHODS OF BLACKING OUT YOUR 4RUNNER
Sometimes the easiest and most effective way to black out a part is to simply replace it with a new one that is blacked out or tinted.
Covers and Overlays
If you don’t want to go about replacing parts there are tinted or blacked out covers that could be placed over some exterior and interior parts.
Sprays, Dips, and Paints
Products such a Plasti Dip are a favorite product for blacking parts out on a budget. Products like Plasti Dip come in a spray can that apply a rubber coating to the part in question. The best part is that it is durable, but also easily removed. You can also go the more permanent route and use paint!
Let’s get to the main event… Parts you can black out on your Toyota 4Runner!
EXTERIOR BLACK OUT
One of the first things many people choose to do is black out their windows. It’s cheap, and it can be done at a local shop near you. If you’re feeling crafty enough, you can also do it yourself. Tint comes with some great benefits: it really dresses up your ride, it protects you from the sun and keeps the interior of your truck lower, and it blocks people from easily seeing who is driving the best 4Runner in town! Make sure you follow all local and federal laws regarding the amount of tint. You don’t want your investment to lead to tickets and you having to remove it!
Smoked Headlights, Taillights, and Third Brake Light
Toyota’s sleek and somewhat squinty approach for the new 4Runner’s headlights and chiseled tail lights compliment the overall look of the SUV well, but the overall chrome flair might be too much for some. Thankfully, that’s easy to change. When talking about blacking out your lights, it is generally referred to as them being “smoked.” Smoking your lights will give you that tinted look to compliment your style.
With the blessing of interchangeable parts, you can easily swap out your factory lights for aftermarket ones that come smoked out of the box! Taillights are anywhere from $300-$600 for a complete set, and headlights are around $600-$1000. Some of these do indeed come with tinted/smoked lenses, but since many are utilizing modern LED technology that doesn’t need reflective surfaces, it’s not uncommon to find these aftermarket kits with clear lenses but blacked out housings. This will achieve the same effect, but it will also allow the usually impressive design of the LEDs to be seen even with them off.
You can go for a much cheaper approach, but be aware that it may look cheaper, not last as long, and could cost you a lot in tickets if you do it the wrong way (I’ll get to that in a second.) There is film/vinyl available for around $60 that simply sticks over the plastic and spray coatings for around $20.
Film or vinyl covers can either come pre-cut to size, or you can use a large sheet of it, and form it to your lights yourself, and cut as needed.
While I generally encourage people to try something new and take a risk, I would suggest a complete swap of pre-tinted/smoked lights. A big reason is time. A good set of smoked lights will last the length of the truck. Film and spray coatings will shrink and become brittle with age. UV rays and incandescent bulbs will expedite the problem. When it gets that dry, it’s not the easiest or most fun thing to get off.Remember the ticket thing I mentioned? Headlights and taillights are designed to help you see what’s around you, and for other drivers to be able to see you. The US Department of Transportation (or your country’s equivalent) takes that very seriously, and they regulate what is and what is not allowed. Local police will enforce that. If you tint something yourself, you could run the risk of doing too much, and you could have to pay for it. If you get a kit out of the box, they are generally (DOT) approved and safe for use. Of course, please check before buying.
Front and Rear “Toyota” Emblems
Thankfully Toyota was nice enough to ditch fender mounted emblems, but we still have the front and rear ones. However if you don’t like seeing a giant chrome “T,” there are ways to change that. You can find overlay kits, like this 4Runner emblem overlay kit on Amazon, that will allow you to place a blacked out version over the emblem. Another popular option would to be to break out a can of Plasti Dip or paint.
If you have “TOYOTA” across the front, your best bet is going to be to attack it with a can of Plasti Dip or spray paint, or to replace the letters with black letters.
The raised 4RUNNER emblem on the back sticks out well, and for some, that might not be desirable. Thankfully you can deal with the number and letters the same way as you did the Toyota emblems: spray them, overlay them or directly replace them! Lucky for you, with a little heat, they will pull right off and you can replace them with the letters that we sell here. It's super fast and super clean. They are $21.99 and you can buy them here.
This is where things can get a little pricey. However, it is one of the first things people see when looking at your SUV. They stand out! It could be worth some investment, but let’s talk about some options.
Some of the less expensive options would be “dipping” or “wrapping.” When you “dip” your wheels, you’re referring to spraying them with something such as Plasti Dip. Matte black Plasti Dip is very popular on wheels, and there are lots of pictures and videos online of people doing it. You’ll need more than one can, but you’ll also want to have some backups for when they chip and peel over time. It’s easy to reapply!
“Wrapping” refers to covering the wheels in vinyl. While usually better looking than dipping, it’s not as easy to repair if you get curb rash or other dings. You can also get overlays for some models. They are basically form fitting “hubcaps” that will snap over your existing wheel, turning them into black wheels!
Whatever you do, avoid spray paint at all costs. You will hate your wheels.
While it is your most expensive option, it will be your longest lasting and best looking option: new wheels. This can get very expensive. For example, you can get a set of 4Runner TRD Pro wheels off Amazon, but it will cost $1200. If you have the cash, they are fantastic options. Used wheels are a great option and can be far cheaper, but make sure you inspect them first.
Certain trim models for the 2022 lineup get a bit of chrome up front. Well, it’s actually quite a lot of chrome: the middle section of the bumper, the fog light bezels, and some extra trim. For the time being, your best bet will be Plasti Dip, or something like that. The Nightshade edition has that same trim, but it’s black. You might be able to order that trim in black, and replace your chrome parts with it. However, I cannot confirm that fitment, so order with caution.
INTERIOR BLACK OUT
While the outside is great for showing off (and looking over your shoulder with admiration when you park), the interior is what you see the most of. Might as well make it what you want, right?
If you’re not a fan of the bright and flashy A/C control knobs, AJT Design has you covered! For $45 - $65, pop on these covers, and transform the interior. They have a rugged look and come in many different colors (though we know you want black). You can also grab a kit that will black out your radio knobs as well.
Steering Wheel Logo
To keep the shape of the logo, Plasti Dip or paint can lead to good results. If you want something fast and easy, ATJ offers an emblem cover. While it is not the Toyota “T,” and it does sport the ATJ logo or be blank, it’s hard to beat for $18.
Last but not least is the start button. This overlay from AJT Design not only changes the look of one of the first and last things you touch, but it will only set you back $23!
All Trim Vinyl Wrap
If you want to go all out and cover everything, wrapping all non black trim in black vinyl is a very cost effective solution. You could grab a large sheet and do it yourself, but Rvinyl offers a pre-cut kit for your 4Runner.
If you want to get everything black from the factory, you do have that option if you order the 2022 Nightshade edition! The wheels are black, trim is black, emblems are black, and you get a black exhaust tip. The interior gets the dark treatment as well! While you will still find some brighter knobs and trims in the interior, it still fits the build. While it will cost you just over $47,000, if you want to start new and warrantied, call up your local Toyota dealer today!
The blacked out look is popular and looks good. The best part is that there are so many different cost options to get the look you want. Just make sure to follow all of your local and federal laws, and have at it!
- Blacked Out 4Runner: Courtesy of VIP Auto Accessories Blog
- Interior Trim: Courtesy of AJT Design
- TRD Pro Wheels: Olathe Toyota