The Toyota Tundra is a big and mean truck. With plenty of options from the factory and aftermarket, there is almost nothing you can’t do to make it your own. After a while, you may get tired of the flashy paint and bright chrome. What do you do when you want something a little bolder? One of the best changes would be “blacking it out” or doing a "chrome delete" as some people refer to it.
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. Black. The best part is that it can be something so large and eye catching like the front grille, or something as subtle or subconsciously unique like a door badge. Let’s get into some options!
EXTERIOR BLACKOUT OPTIONS
Blackout "Limo" Window Tint
One of the first things many people choose to do it blackout 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 truck in town! Of course, make sure you abide by all local and federal laws regarding the level of tint you are allowed to have. Failure to do so can result in tickets and having to have the tint you paid to install be removed!
Smoked Headlights, Taillights, and Third Brake Light
While Toyota did a good job at the design of the headlights and taillights for the Tacoma, they might take away from the look that you are trying to achieve. 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 with aftermarket ones that come smoked out of the box! Taillights are anywhere from $180-$370 for a complete set, and headlights are around $300-$500.
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, spray coatings for around $20, and tinted plastic covers for around $40-$80 that go over the factory lens.
While this video doesn’t give any real explanation about what to do, it does show you that you can tint one of your taillights with a spray can in five minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaXJEtWcoCA
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.
One of the easiest parts of your truck to blackout would be the chrome TUNDRA emblem on your doors. They look alright from the factory, but when they are a matte black, they really add a very unique touch to your ride regardless of the paint color. You can get a blackout replacement emblem kit for your Tundra off Amazon for just under $40, or you can get a $6 can of Plasti Dip and spray them down. Plasti Dip will last much longer on emblems compared to lights. It will be a little harder to peel off after being on for years, but you can always reapply another coat!
Like on the side of the doors, Toyota wants all of those less fortunate behind you to know that the monster in front of them is a Tundra. While it is common practice for manufacturers to make the logo recessed into the metal of the tailgate and painted like normal, you can really make it stick out with a set of Tundra tailgate vinyl decal inserts for $15. It’s an inexpensive and long-lasting touch that will set your truck apart from the rest.
This is where things can get a little pricey. However, it is one of the first things people see when looking at your truck. 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 more usually better looking than dipping, it’s not as easy to repair if you get curb rash or other dings. There are kits out there for about $50.
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 Tundra TRD Pro wheels off Amazon, but it will set you back $2,560! 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.
With a big truck comes a big grille. If you’re not into chrome, then you might hate the front of your truck. Thankfully, there are a few options that you have. Plasti Dip and vinyl wrap can once again be an inexpensive friend for you! Depending on which grille you have, I would suggest vinyl first. Dipping a surface that large can start to look “cheap.” Vinyl will also be more durable to something that will be getting plenty of rock chips. The catch 22 is that a dipped surface is easier to touch up. Choose wisely…
Too many variables? You can find some blackout replacement grilles! Those will be around $350 and up, but it will set your ride apart! A good example would be this Tundra TRD Pro grille that you can get from Sparks Parts.
The chrome bumpers can be a bit much. As with the grille and wheels, dipping and wrapping can have some nice results. Keep in mind the rock-chips! If you don’t want to DIY it, you can get these Tundra bumper caps from ecoologic for $135-$200.
INTERIOR BLACKOUT OPTIONS
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?
A/C Vent Rings and Climate Control Rings
If you live in a hot area, you’re using your A/C a lot. Why dress up those flashy chrome vent rings with a Tundra A/C vent ring black out kit from AJT Design. For $32, you can really make your interior subtly unique. For another $41, you can change the control knobs to a very aggressive blacked-out style with some different color options. You can find that kit here.
Black door handles are the way to go. Any colored ones look nice, but this is something you’re touching all of the time. They will get dirty and grimy fast. Your most durable option would be to get new ones. For about $25 each, you can get black factory units.
Plasti Dip, vinyl, and paint are all options as well, but keep in mind how much everything is being touched. Paint will chip and peel, and Plasti Dip and vinyl will break down over time. While it could be a faster and cheaper solution initially, it could be a pain in the but later.
Cup Holder/Shifter Trim
The center console trim really stands out from the factory. While that may be great for some, if you’re reading this, you want something different. ATJ Design also makes a kit for this as well! For $40, you’ll transform the interior of your truck.
Steering Wheel Logo
While you could attack this with Plasti Dip or paint, a fast way would be this Tundra steering wheel emblem overlay once again for ATJ Design. No-fuss, no chips, no hassle. Just $20!
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’s hard to beat at $20!
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!
Bumper Wrapped: Courtesy of Tundras user SgtSausage1978
Exterior: Courtesy of Traction Life
Tailgate: Courtesy of Tundras user Buse
Interior: Empyre Off Road Interior Upgrade Post
Steering Wheel Blackout: AJT Design
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