If you own a 2nd gen Tacoma, chances are you’ve done something to modify it to make it truly unique. This could be something free, or it could have cost you thousands or dollars.
After scouring the Internet and the Tacoma forums, I’ve put together a list of the top twenty mods under $200 for your second generation Toyota Tacoma build out.
Hood Struts ($130)
While it may seem like a no brainer, many manufacturers these days don’t make their cars or trucks with hood struts. Perhaps it’s to save money, or perhaps ensure longevity, but let’s face it: hood struts are cool. They assist in opening your hood, and give you more room when you need to work with that prop not being a thing of the past. You can get them cheaper, but this is a good kit from Redline Tuning that many people are happy with.
A great way to give your truck a mean look is to black out the taillights. While you could use a spray can, going the extra mile with a replacement kit is the best way. Incandescent bulbs might not shine as well through the tint, so why not bring your truck up to modern specs with LED lights while you’re at it? This will be to taste, but the kit here is a nice aggressive look, and will give you a good starting point.
LED Interior Package ($25)
Incandescent bulbs are classic, but LED bulbs are much brighter. For cheap, you can replace your map, dome, vanity, license plate, and reverse lights in this one kit. This is one of the best 2nd gen interior mods available.
While tint may be a little more expensive, it has two functions: it looks good, and keeps your truck cool on those hot summer days. Look around for a place by you that does it. It’s best to find a place that offers some type of warranty on their work in the event the tint starts to bubble. Check your local laws to see how dark your tint can legally be.
Painting or “Dipping” Chrome Parts (About $15)
Chrome looks good, but when you want that blacked out look, you can get expensive replacement parts, or you could get a couple cans of black spray paint, or Plasti Dip. This route may not be the most durable, but it will give you quick custom results that you can touch up any time. The benefit to using Plasti Dip is that you can peel it off if you ever get bored with it, or want to sell your truck. (But, why would you ever sell your truck?)
12V Plug in the Bed (About $15)
This one does involve some tools, skill, and elbow grease, but if you want some extra power to your bed, then adding a 12V plug might be a great option. While the 110V plug is great, many things we get for our vehicles come with 12V plugs. This guide will show you the cheapest way to add the socket to your bed, should you need it.
Bed Extender ($50)
For a fraction of the cost of a new pre-made one, you can extend your bed with some wood, paint, screws, and a couple extra pieces. You can make a really good looking and effective piece of hardware. I would not suggest leaving it on 24-7 if you don’t need to. Even if you get treated wood, it may warp during extreme weather over time.
LED Bed Lights ($60)
Lighting is probably one of the most noticeable, effective, and cheapest modifications you can do to any vehicle, as I’ve shown on a few mods already. Your bed is no exception. While this may be more expensive than putting fog or driving lights in the side pockets by the cab, this method looks great, is very bright, and will give your trucks a very nice custom and unique look.
Projector Headlights ($160)
You can’t leave your headlight stock after getting those smoked LED taillights. Projector headlights are what you find on high-end cars and trucks. Smoked ones will give you that mean look, but with the power of the light behind them, you won’t have to worry about visibility issues. This is just one of the options out there.
Tailgate Backup Camera ($102)
Back-up cameras are almost becoming standard on newer vehicles. While you can get aftermarket ones that mount on your license plate, those look cheap and might not give you the best view. This kit emulates the camera on the new Tacos, but at a fraction of the cost. It’s something to look into to give you the feel of a newer truck, and to assist with seeing what’s behind you. You will need to get a display of some sort.
Bed Mat ($110)
If you want to keep your stuff from sliding around, you need a bed mat. It’s also a great way to protect your bed, which would cost much more to replace if it gets damaged. OEM is the way to go!
Your bed mat won’t move much when it’s installed, but if you want a little peace of mind, three parts you probably have lying around will secure it to your bed.
All-Weather Floor Mats ($150)
Good floor mats are a wise investment. All-weather ones are perfect if you intend on using your truck like a truck. You can find cheaper versions, but they generally don’t last.
Brush Guard ($178)
These are a great way to add style and protection to your truck. The aggressive look says, “Get out of my way.” If you are into off-roading, it’s a great way to protect parts like your bumper, grill, and radiator from getting too damaged. There are a few options. This is just one.
Lift Kit/Lift Block ($154)
I go into pretty extreme detail in a previous post about lifting your Tacoma. Some options are effective, yet pretty inexpensive. Lift blocks, spacers, and leveling kits can be found for under $200. As long as you are not doing any serious off-roading, they look great, and are effective for some extra ground clearance.
Heated Mirrors (About $35)
This involves a bit of elbow grease, but for a few bucks and some of your time, you can create something usually only found on luxury vehicles. It’s a helpful and unique feature that will have people asking about how you did it.
Painting or Plasti Dipping Your Wheels (About $15)
Wheels are a great way to express your style, but they can get rather expensive. Painting them is a cheap way to get the look you want, with only spending a few bucks and a little bit of your time. Just remember to take your time. If you rush, it can turn out looking quite bad. You can always touch them up if they chip, and best part about Plasti Dip is that if you don’t like it, just peel it off!
Custom Lug Nuts (About $30)
I don’t have a link for this one because there are so many options, even though most people tend to overlook this. For generally around thirty bucks, you can get chrome ones, black chrome ones, matte black, different styles, and so on. Like the ideas for the grill and wheels, you can also paint or Plasti Dip your stock ones. Just keep in mind that if you do that, it’s chipping the instant an impact wrench hits it.
Blinking Side Markers (About $5)
With a couple bucks and little splicing, you can add a unique feature and turn your side markers into turn signals even when they are off. Not only is it different, but it’s a great safety feature too.
Center Console Light (About $10)
Again, lighting is super simple and effective. Adding lights to your center console gives a touch of luxury to your truck.
Not all mods and aftermarket performance parts have to be expensive. Many of these are super cheap, and just take a little bit of your time. Take a look at your truck, and think about what you can do. While money may be the limit sometimes, it mostly just comes down to your imagination and creativity, so I hope this post has given you some good ideas. Now, get out there and mod your Tacoma!
* Please note the following:
These mods should fit the following models: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015. Please verify with the seller that this is the case before ordering.
Prices fluctuate daily on Amazon/eBay and the prices represented above are accurate as the day of this posting.
Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.