Last week, Toyota made the announcement that it will be moving the production of its Toyota Tacomas exclusively to Mexico. While it has also been making Tacomas in its Baja California, Mexico plant for years, the San Antonio, Texas plant will stop making Tacomas by 2021.
It is reported that no jobs will be lost, as the San Antonio plant will continue making the Tundra, but will also take over the production of the Sequoia in 2022. Toyota did invest $1.3 billion in its Indiana plant (which currently makes the Sequoia). That did end up also creating 550 new jobs.
Toyota will continue to make the great mid-sized truck that we know and love, but it will now be a Japanese truck made exclusively in Mexico.
When it comes to your Tacoma, your seats are one of the very first things you and your passengers see when the doors are opened. Next to the floor mats, they also are subject to the most abuse, this is why they are one of the most common interior Tacoma mods out there. Works belts, tools, pants, bags, wet clothes, and more all constantly slide into and out of these seats. Cloth or leather will degrade over time. Let’s not forget about what the sun can do.
Seat covers can be a great way to change the way your seats look, cover up damaged seats, or protect your seats from getting destroyed. Toyota Tacomas are built tough, but even the toughest of materials will get damaged over time. Let’s take a closer look at some types of covers and some examples to help find what is best for your ride.
There are three main types of covers that we will be focusing on: throw, universal, and fitted. Each one can be made from a wide variety of materials such as vinyl, cloth, leather, and more.
Throw Seat Covers
Throw seat covers are basically seat-shaped bags that are designed to be thrown over your seats for quick and effective protection. Generally cheap, these are not fitted to any specific type of seat and therefore are not very attractive. They are ideal for when you know you’ll be going off-roading next weekend, and you don’t want mud on your seats. Throw them on, and when you get home, wash them or rinse them off (if the manufacturer allows), and tuck them away for the next time.
They are great for covering your back seats if you’re throwing things back there, or taking your dog for a ride and want to keep fur and muddy paws off the seats. These are utilitarian only, but do a good job at it, and won’t break the bank. You can get these from around $20 to $150 depending on how many, size, and material.
Universal Seat Covers
Universal seat covers are a tad more form-fitting compared to throw covers, but they won’t give you the snuggest of fits. These are generally purchased by vehicle size, such as “these will fit most small cars” or “these will fit most SUVs and mid-sized trucks.” These tend to have a more pleasing look to them and a wider range of materials, but they cost a bit more for that reason.
If you use your truck for work a lot and want to keep the seats looking good over time, these are a good option. Perhaps your truck is pretty beat up, but you just want it to look a bit nicer, these will take care of that as well. Washing a dirty seat cover, or replacing a ripped one is much cheaper and easier over an upholstery job on your actual seats. You can find these for around $40 to $170, again depending on the material, size, and how many.
Fitted Seat Covers
Fitted seat covers are for when you want a total replacement or a total upgrade. While they do serve the same function of protecting your stock seats by covering them up, most people get fitted covers when their stock upholstery is really bad, or you want to upgrade to a better or more durable material. An example would be upgrading to leather from cloth seats.
While they take a bit more effort to get them over your seats, they look like they came from the factory. These are generally going to cost around $200 or more, and are usually of higher quality materials.
Popular Toyota Tacoma Seat Covers
Here are some popular options based on search results, forums, and reviews!
Clazzio Tacoma Seat Covers
Clazzio is probably the most popular brand of Tacoma seat covers on the market. They are in no way the cheapest options, but Tacoma owners absolutely love the look and durability of them. Clazzio definitely has the most options available to further customize the look of your interior, including different leather types (perforated leather is my favorite), body color and stitch color. These typically run around $649, but are about a hundred dollars cheaper on Amazon.
Another popular brand of Tacoma seat cover is Coverking. While these are also not the cheapest, many owners love the wide range of material options from suede to leather and more, and each material has a few colors to choose from. The lowest price is around $200, and the highest is around $630. They are fitted to your truck for “guaranteed fit.”
You can get the bucket seat covers here and the rear bench cover here.
Carhartt Tacoma Seat Covers
If you want something for durability, Carhartt not only makes tough clothes, but it makes a popular tough seat cover for our trucks as well. While these are more of a baggy, universal fit, they offer serious protection. They even offer a set cover specifically to protect your seats from your puppy in the back. You don’t get as many options, but for around $250, you get all the protection you need.
For a more tactical version, Bartact offers a fitted seat cover with MOLLE attachment systems on the back of the seats. This can give you a great place to store some gear and a good storage option for overlanding when you need to make use of all the space you have. For $320, they are a tad pricey, but the company says it’s the same style they make for the US military, just with color options.
I want to throw you a cheap option, but there are tons out there. This isn’t really a brand, but a category of around $20. Amazon has a ton of Tacoma seat covers for around $20 to $30. They won’t have the best fit or feel, but they will get the job done. Take a look at the options and find what works for you.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Mudflaps are a fantastic option to help your truck stay cleaner, avoid rock chips, and they also offer a unique avenue for some extra customization. Not only do they protect your ride, but they protect cars and pedestrians behind you from flying rocks and debris that you might kick up.
If for nothing else, they break up the curves and lines of your truck and add some extra dimensions to your ride. Which mud flaps are best for your Toyota Tacoma? Let’s learn a bit about them, take a look at some styles and options, and get you the best ones that work for you.
Front and Rear Mud Flaps
Mud Flaps are known for being seen behind the rear tires in vehicles, especially big rigs, but on passenger vehicles, they are very common upfront too. On big rigs and box trucks, they are pretty much designed to just stop rocks from hitting cars behind them, but on passenger vehicles, they help protect your ride.
Rocks can be kicked up and easily chip away at the paint on your fenders, doors, bumpers (rear), rocker panels, and running boards/steps. With mud flaps extending below the end of the wheel well both front and back, they will help deflect what your tires might kick up.
Pre-Drilled vs Not Pre-Drilled Mud Flaps
The inside of wheel wells on modern vehicles has plastic or rubber inner fender liners. These bolt to the fender of the car, and generally do so with plastic retainer clips. Pre-drilled mud flaps take advantage of this! If you get one specifically made for your ride that’s pre-drilled, you’ll find that the holes line up perfectly with the existing holes in your fender/fender liner. You won’t need to worry about having to drill into your new mud flaps or truck. Depending on the thickness of the flap, you can either use the existing retaining clips, or the flaps will come with new ones.
Mud Flap Materials
The material that a mud flap is made out of is key. They are designed to be beaten by rocks, mud, and dirt, so they have to be strong. The most common material mud flaps are made out of is rubber. Rubber can be thick and dense, but when hit, the material will rarely chip or crack. It will absorb the energy of what hits it, and deflect the debris away.
Another good reason for rubber is flexibility. If you have longer mud flaps and you plan on doing off-roading, you want something that will not snap off when crawling over a rock. Over time, rubber flaps may get brittle depending on quality.
Mud flaps can also be plastic, but if they are, they should be shorter, and of higher quality material such as a polymer. As I mentioned about the flexibility, a long, plastic mud flap could have a tendency to snap if under the correct conditions. This leads me to my next category…
Mud Flap Sizes
Mud flaps can be really short, or longer. Typically from the factory, most vehicles come with short mud flaps. Visually, they are more acceptable to a wider audience. Keep in mind that not everyone buys a truck because they intend on using it as a truck. Short flaps don’t offer as much protection, but they are better than nothing. They can offer a nice color contrast while not being too obtrusive to the lines of your truck.
Longer mud flaps are best when you plan on driving on rougher or dirt roads. They offer more protection to your truck, as well as to the people and vehicles around you. They also offer more versatility for customization which I’ll talk about now…
Mud Flap Customization
With the right size and material, you can get some serious customization done. Laser engraving, chrome plates and silhouettes, text, and more. The most common would be brand names or logos, truck make or model names or logos, and of course the chrome silhouette of an attractive woman.
Weighed vs Non Weighted Mud Flaps
Weighted mud flaps offer a metal piece on the bottom of a rubber/flexible mud flap to keep them hanging down. This is beneficial because when your truck is in motion, a flexible mud flap might tend to rise up in the wind, which would remove a good amount of protection. A weight helps avoid this.
Mud Flaps For Toyota Tacomas
Now that we know about mud flaps, what works well on our trucks? Here are some examples based on reviews and high mentions in the forums. Find what works for you, and protect your investment!
A popular option comes from WeatherTech. They are $40 for the front or back or $80 for the pair. They are long flaps made from a proprietary thermoplastic resin and are easily installed. Backed with a limited lifetime warranty, they will keep your ride safe.
I have mentioned Husky Liners before, and for good reason: they make good stuff. While a tad pricey from $155 to $166, you can get different sizes, and they are weighted. The weights can be in black or chrome.
If you're tight on cash but are still hoping for a great pair of mud flaps, RekGen makes a decent looking and decent performing minimalistic flap. Lots of Taco owners are sporting these in the forums and I also have a pair on my Tacoma. These run less than $100 for a complete set.
If you want to keep your truck as Toyota as possible, you can get OEM Toyota Tacoma mud flaps. For around $70, they are inexpensive for all four. For the specific ones listed, your Taco does need to come with fender flares.
If you really want something fancy, SharpTruck sells Gatorback mud flaps from $147 to $450. These weighted, no-drill flaps are made of thick rubber and have a metal plate at the bottom.
The iconic battle in history has always been Ford vs Chevy. However, with Ford dropping the Ranger (until recently) and Chevy dropping the S10 entirely, the midsized/compact truck market battle between the two big American brands became no more. The Toyota Tacoma not only stepped up to the plate, it owned it.
Tacoma has been one of the fastest-growing midsized/compact truck brands. Many other manufacturers have found themselves playing catch up to the very versatile and well-performing Taco, including Chevy with its Colorado. So how does the Tacoma stack up against its Chevy equivalent? Let’s find out.
The Tacoma first came into the market in 1995, while the Colorado had some time to sit back and watch its competition by coming out in 2003. Many things have changed for brands over the years so this focus will be on the newest 2020 models.
* Options not available on all models
** Up to, with applicable packages/options
Trims, Sizes, and Prices
The Tacoma offers six trim levels (SR, SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, Limited, and TRD Pro) and the Colorado offers five (Base, WT, LT, Z71, and ZR2). All of the Colorado trims are thousands of dollars cheaper. The base model alone for the Colorado is almost a $5,000 difference.
Both trucks offer seating for four and have options for extended cabs and crew cabs depending on the trim level. With both trucks, you have the options of some type of long or short bed depending on the trim level. Both beds are basically the same size, with the Colorado being just slightly longer with both bed options. At their heaviest, the Colorado comes in at around 400 pounds heavier.
Toyota offers two engines in the Tacoma, both with respectable power and torque. The Colorado also offers a four and six-cylinder engine with its four being .2 liters smaller and the six being .1 liters larger. The Colorado cranks out more power and torque compared to the Tacoma, but where the Colorado really has an edge is in its diesel option.
For best gas mileage and best towing capacity compared to the Tacoma (or even Ford Ranger), Chevy’s 2.8L Turbo-Diesel is an absolute winner. With over 100 more foot-pounds of torque and over 7 more miles per gallon, the 2.8L is a very versatile option to have for someone who really needs to treat their truck as a work truck.
Both trucks offer six-speed automatic transmissions that get them decent mileage for the size and weight. The outliers would be the fact that Toyota offers a six-speed manual, and Chevy offers an eight-speed automatic, but both brands only allow those options on certain trim levels and engines.
Towing and Off-Road
Both offer the same base towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, and both trucks handle it very well. With the proper options, however, the Colorado can tow a maximum of 900 pounds more compared to the Tacoma. The Tacoma does offer a higher payload weight.
Both trucks are very capable when it comes to off-road. The Tacoma is known for tackling rocks and dirt. While the Colorado doesn’t have as long of a history of doing so, it’s no slouch. Both make use of locking differentials, electronic assistance, better suspensions, and clearance. Tacoma has a slightly better aftermarket due to its time in the market.
Colors and Interior
There is almost a color for everyone with both brands. CJ Pony Parts reports that while both interiors are nice, the Colorado is a bit nicer. Toyota did step up its game substantially with 2020 adding more creature comforts and electronics that the Colorado offered previously. The biggest difference is that the Colorado is still a good deal cheaper compared to similar interiors in the Tacoma.
The Tacoma has been the king for years. With some newer kids on the block (Ranger and Colorado), there has been a bit of catch up that Toyota needed to do. The Chevy offers more engine options all with more power and torque, and it has a higher towing capacity. Toyota offers a high payload capacity and lighter overall weight. Both perform very well with their assigned tasks. Brand loyalty, price, and style will be your deciding factor. Let’s see where the future takes us with this battle!