The Toyota Tacoma is known for being easily customizable. From a vast amount of combinations and options from the factory, the almost limitless amount of aftermarket add-ons, there is almost nothing you can’t do. Sometimes you might want to get a little creative. Henry Ford said that you can have the Model T in any color you want, as long as it’s black. Let’s face it: black looks good. Here is how you can black out your Tacoma, or as the cool kids call it the "Tacoma chrome delete".
To get the obvious out of the way, you don’t actually need your truck to be painted black to “blackout” your Tacoma. Blacking out could mean a certain part or all parts that are not painted the color of your truck’s body.
EXTERIOR BLACKOUT OPTIONS
Blackout "Limo" Window Tint
One of the most common first moves is window tint. Window tint is cheap and easy to have installed, and it’s one of the most common modifications on any vehicle. Not only does tint add to the sleekness of your ride, but it also provides security from wandering eyes and the sun! Keep in mind that some states in the US and other countries may have some very strict laws regarding certain tint percentages. Check your local laws before spending the money!
Smoked Headlights, Taillights, and Third Brake Light
Bright red taillights and chrome headlights can really take away from the look of the Tacoma. “Smoked” is a great way to change that. Generally the term “blacked out” is not used for headlights and taillights since you legally can’t do that (I’ll cover that in a second). With all modern vehicles designed to have interchangeable and easily replaceable parts, you can buy already smoked taillights ($150-$300) and headlights (around $350) that replace the old ones completely!
If you want a cheaper approach, you can tint the factory ones yourself. There is film/vinyl available for around $60 that simply sticks over the plastic, spray coatings for around $20, and tinted plastic covers for around $40-$80 that go over the factory lens.
Using film can be tricky and takes a lot of extra time, but it can save you money. Here is a video of it being installed by an average tinkerer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8_cQhR4IDo
Personally, I would advise a complete swap for a pre-tinted unit for multiple reasons. One, it will last longer. Film will shrink over time, especially if you live in a very hot a sunny environment like Florida. Incandescent bulbs also throw off a lot of heat. Thin film and spray coatings will also crack and potentially start flaking off depending on the quality and thickness. It’s a major pain to get off when it starts doing that.
Another reason is light brightness, which leads to legalities. Smoked headlights and taillights/brake lights look cool, but they are lights for a reason. They are to help you see the road, and help other drivers see you! In the US, we have the Department of Transportation (DOT). They decide what is legal and what is not. Pre-tinted units are generally DOT approved. Doing something yourself, it may not be. New units also generally have LED lighting which is brighter than incandescent bulbs.
Blackout Door Emblems
The TACOMA badge on the side of our doors is sharp and really looks good, but blacking it out can make it look better against any paint color! You can find blacked out emblems to replace your factory ones for around $35. You can buy them here. If you want to be a little more creative, you can get a can of black Plasti Dip for around $6 and spray them down (easier than you think).
You can also do what I did and go for vinyl replacements decals. For $17.99, you can really give your truck a clean look. The TACOMA badge sticks out, but these replace them giving your door a clean and painted on look.
Blackout Tailgate TACOMA
The ever present TACOMA name on the back of the tailgate looks really good, but it’s the factory color. If you really want to make it pop, black it out! If your truck isn’t black, it’s an instant stand out. For about $20-$40, you can get raised inserts that stick into the factory indents. While they look great, they do offer extra places for dirt and crud to get stuck, so if your truck isn’t a mud runner, for $13 you can use some vinyl lettering inserts for a clean, sleek, and easy to maintain look.
Wheels are one of the easiest ways to instantly stand out, but also can be the most expensive on this list. The three main ways to do it are Plasti Dip (or similar spray), vinyl overlays, or new wheels.
While an easy to use $6 can a Plasti Dip is enticing, you’ll need more than one can, and eventually, it may start to crack or peel off depending on how and where you drive, and where you live. For $55, you can use vinyl decals on your wheels. The ones linked are cut to fit, and while a little more time is needed to install them, they look good and last long.
For the longest-lasting, yet most expensive option, new wheels are easy to find and install if you have the cash. For around $200 each (without tires), you can retain a factory blacked out look by getting some new TRD Pro Wheels. Don’t be afraid to look online for used wheels. They can be far cheaper, but make sure you inspect them first!
Black Out Grille Emblem and Grille
The grille is the first thing many people will see on your truck, so it’s worth making it stand out! Much like headlights and taillights, the best ways to do this would be replace, spray with Plasti Dip, or cover with vinyl. Plasti Dip on the emblem can look great, but on bigger parts (like wheels and the grille), it can start to look “cheap.” That being said, it’s a super fast and inexpensive option!
Replacement grilles can be found everywhere! The Tacoma Grilles on Emypre Off Road are some of the best if I do say so myself! For around $200-$350, you can transform the look of your truck.
INTERIOR BLACKOUT OPTIONS
Blackout A/C Vent Rings
Blackout Door Handles
If your door handles are not already back, it might be time to change that. You can go the expensive and labor-intensive route and replace the whole handle assembly. While not the cheapest at around $60 each, it will be the most durable. I mention durability because the other common methods as seen so far on this post would be paint/Plasti Dip or vinyl.
While those options are cheap and easy, this is a part that you and your passengers will be handling (pun intended) a lot. Plasti Dip will degrade very quickly being touched frequently, and vinyl will start to peel and break down as well.
Blackout Steering Wheel Emblem
If you don’t like chrome, you won’t like the Toyota badge shoved in your face on the steering wheel every time you drive. While you can spray it down with Plasi Dip and peel off the excess, you can also do it “professionally” by following this guide on Tacoma World. There are pictures on the later pages. It can be a pain, and you have to be careful, but if you’re up for the task, it makes a big difference!
Blackout Interior Trim
There are a few other bits and pieces on the interior of our trucks that are chrome: shifter trim, start button trim, cup holder bezel... Meso Customs offers a kit that will replace all of those pieces for $50! You can go the Plasti Dip route as well, but keep in mind about what I said: interior pieces get touched a lot, and that will degrade Plasti Dip quickly.
Blackout Climate Control Rings
The last bit would be your climate control rings. Meso Customs again come to the rescue, and for $30, that chrome will be gone!
The black 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!
Taillight - Courtesy of i1Motor
Door and Wheels - Courtesy of Tacoma World user “Nightscape”
No Exterior Chrome - Courtesy of Tacoma World user “20tacoma17”
Interior - Courtesy of Meso Customs
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