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    Top 25 Mods & Accessories Under $300 For 3rd Gen Tacomas

    Top 25 Mods & Accessories Under $300 For 3rd Gen Tacomas

    If you own a Tacoma, you already know that you're part of a cult... A cult who loves to dump hundreds, even thousands of dollars into cool mods and accessories for their trucks. For many, our mods have to be planned out and budgeted financially, so I polled TacomaWorld.com, TacomaForum.com, and several Facebook groups and pulled together this list of mods for those on a budget.

    These mods work with all 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 models.

    Pop & Lock Power Tailgate Lock ($97)

    This tailgate lock not only prevents thieves from stealing your tailgate, but when coupled with a tonneau cover, will protect your valuables as well. Originally designed for the Tundra, this pop & lock will work on your Tacoma and make it easy to lock with a push of button.

    TRD Pro Style Aftermarket Grille ($250)

    I'm a little biased about this mod, since I build and sell them, but I've never met a Tacoma owner who doesn't want an aftermarket grille insert for their Tacoma. Rip that thing out and mount up a solid steel, black powder coated grille and give your Tacoma the facelift it deserves.

    Anytime Front Camera (Under $200)

    When you drive a truck, it's really hard to see what's in front of you on the ground. Adding a front camera helps when pulling into parking spaces or pulling into your garage to make sure you going in straight and not running anything over.

    Buy camera here - Buy interface cables here.

    Center Console Organizer Tray ($13.99)

    If you're like most Tacoma owners, you feel like your center console is a catch all for the crap you have laying around your truck. This tray allows the bottom of your console to be the catch all for your crap, while having a nice organized section for the things you use most.

    Gator Tri-Fold Tonneau Bed Cover ($259)

    As mentioned in the pop & lock section, if you don't have a tonneau cover, you're missing out. A tonneau will allow you to protect what's in your bed from the harshest weather conditions and when coupled with the tailgate lock, secure them as well.

    Cali Raised LED Side Projection Ditch Lights ($135.99)

    Ditch lights are something I've never really heard of or seen before, but they help off roaders get more light coverage, up to 120 degrees on each side of the vehicle.

    Scotchgard Fabric Protector Spray ($20.44)

    Scotchgard is a no brainer for anyone who has a car, truck, couches, or other fabric based furniture. Spray on 2-3 coats and watch the juice and soda roll right off your seats to your rubber floor mats.

    Vinyl Decal Tailgate Inserts ($14.99)

    One quick way to give your truck a facelift is by installing tailgate inserts into the embossed Tacoma logo on the bottom of your tailgate. There are so many different kinds, but I like the ones cut out of vinyl. They are cheap and easy to put on and can be swapped out for different colors in the blink of an eye.

    Redline Hood Struts/Lifts ($99.95)

    Why most cars and trucks don't come with automatic, gas spring based hood lifts is beyond me. I mean, it's 2018 people! These hood struts make it easy to prop open the hood of your Tacoma when you need to clean or work on your engine.

    Cali Raised Replacement LED Fog Light Pods ($139.9)

    If you hate your round, non LED fog lights, Cali Raised has the most affordable solution for you. Their LED fog light pods make it quick and easy to install a brighter, more powerful light at half the price of their competitors.

    Scosche Magnetic Phone Mount ($14.82)

    One of the best phone mounts I've come across is the Scosche mount. It's good looking and mounts just about anywhere to keep your phone front and center while you're out on a drive.

    KB Voodoo Anytime Backup Camera ($65)

    Tacoma owners who tow a lot love the KB Voodoo anytime backup camera. With a little wiring, you can activate your backup camera at anytime to check out your trailer, boat, or whatever you might be hauling.

    Tint

    One of the basic mods you can make to any car or truck is adding tint. Tint not only helps keep your Tacoma cool in the summer, but helps keep the inside of your truck private to outside viewers.

    Matt Gecko Under Bed Rail LED Lights ($85 - $90)

    If you run any sort of a bed cover, you know it's very dark in the bed of your truck, day or night. These sweet bed rail lights provided by Matt Gecko give you the light you need to see anything and everything while your cover is down.

    AC Drain Mod (Less than $15 and ten minutes of your time)

    A lot of Tacoma owners don't realize that where their AC condensation drips out under the truck, hits the frame and causes rust. This handy little mod brought to you by the folks at Tacoma World needs to done this coming spring before you start using your AC again. Better safe than sorry.

    Floor Mat Anti-Slip Fastener Clips ($4.98)

    Who else hates that the passenger side and second cab mats slide all around? One easy fix is to superglue heavy duty velcro to them, which works some of the time. A better solution is installing these anti-slip fastener clips. They will hold your mats in place for as long as you own your truck.

    AJT Design Injection Fob ($34.99)

    A simple, but cool mod offered by AJT design is a replacement key fob. It's very easy to take apart your current, black fob and put the guts into one of their color matched, more rugged fobs.

    Hood Bulge Glare Blocker Sticker ($29.99)

    Many Tacoma owners complain that the bulge on their Sport model casts a wicked glare and makes it hard to see on a sunny day. The solution to this is the hood bulge glare blocker decal. It deadens the rays from the sun and makes it not reflective anymore.

    Cali Raised Behind Grille LED Light Bar ($269.99)

    Light bars are all the rage with serious off roaders. Even a lot of mall crawlers put light bars on their rigs. The Cali Raised behind grille light bar mounts right below your Tacoma grille and with a little wizardry, can be wired right to a push button to light it up... but please do so responsibly. You don't want to be one of those douches who blinds people on city roads.

    Tacoma Pros Raptor Light Kit ($79.99)

    Not sure why Tacoma owners want to make their trucks look like the Ford Raptor, but they do. On the top of the grille, the Raptor has three amber lights. This mod makes any Tacoma grille look like a Raptor when the sun goes down.

    OEM Bed Mat Short Bed / Long Bed ($115.43 - $121.40)

    A bed mat is pretty self explanitory, but for those who want to keep their stuff from rolling and sliding all around the bed of their truck, the OEM bed mat is the perfect solution. It's thick and kinda grippy and does the job right.

    KB Voodoo Remote Start Kit ($149)

    If you love your Tacoma to always be warm when you jump into it, installing a remote start kit is vital to your comfort. The KB Voodoo kit is cheap and incredibly easy to install.

    Spidertrax Wheel Spacers ($91.91)

    For those who want their Tacoma's to have a wider, more aggressive stance, but can't afford new wheels, wheel spacers are for you. They allow you to keep your stock wheels, but give you a more beefed up look.

    LED Interior Lights ($14.99)

    These days, most of the world is powered by LEDs, so why Toyota didn't equip Tacomas with LEDs all the way around is beyond me. This mod is very easy to complete and gives you more of a daylight look to your lights.

    Premium Audio Upgrade - Tweeters / Front Speakers / Rear Speakers (Less than $250)

    Many Tacoma owners complain about their sound system and how their music just sounds awful. I don't necessarily agree, but for those who want an inexpensive way to upgrade your system, this upgrade is for you. Here's the install video

    Please keep in mind that prices fluctuate daily on Amazon/eBay and the prices represented above are accurate as the day of this posting.

    * Please note that some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.

    3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma DIY Maintenance Reference Guide

    3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma DIY Maintenance Reference Guide

    It’s always fun and generally cheaper to do work on your truck yourself. Sometimes you may know how to do the job, but need some vehicle specific details and quick tips. That’s where this guide comes in.

    Keep in mind that if you are not completely confident or sure about what you are doing, you could always cause some extreme damage to your Tacoma. It’s best to take your truck to a mechanic in those situations, but if you want to tinker, here's some helpful information and here's three tools that will come in handy for almost all of the maintenance you will be doing:

    Inspecting and Adjusting Fluid Levels

    Engine Oil (0W-20 ILSAC GF-5 oil - Toyota part # 00279-0WQTE-01)

    1. Check with the engine warm, over 5 minutes after shutting off engine
    2. Tip: Leave the dipstick out while waiting 5 minutes to allow the oil in the dipstick tube to drain back down. It makes it easier to read.
    3. Per manual, it’s 1.6 quarts from the low mark to the full mark. Don’t overfill your oil!

    Coolant (Toyota SLLC - Toyota part # 00272-SLLC2, 50/50 pre-diluted, Canada is 55/45)

    1. Between LOW and FULL lines with the engine cold

    Brake Fluid (FMVSS No. 116 DOT 3 or SAE J1703)

    1. Between MIN and MAX (should be near or at max with fresh pads)

     Power Steering Fluid (Automatic transmission fluid DEXRON® II or III)

    1. Between min and max (cold and hot lines provided)
    2. Cold - Not driven in the last 5 hours (50-85 degrees Fahrenheit fluid temp)
    3. Hot - Driven 50 MPH for 20 minutes (140-175 degrees Fahrenheit fluid temp)
    Clutch Fluid (FMVSS No. 116 DOT 3 or SAE J1703)

    Rotating Tires

    • Tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles or 6 months.
    • Front to back or back to front on each side
    • Lug nut torque - 83 lb-ft (21mm)
    • Check torque after about 1000 miles after rotating

    Replacing Engine Oil and Filter

    If you want a complete guide, we have one on how to change the oil on a third generation Toyota Tacoma.

    Assuming you are using synthetic oil, replace it every 10,000 miles or 12 months. Severe use might be every 5,000 miles or 6 months.

    Torque specs:

    • Oil pan drain plug - 30 lb-ft (14mm)
    • Oil filter cap - 216 lb-in/18 lb-ft (TOY640 with 15/16" or 24mm socket)
    • Oil filter drain plug - 120 lb-in/10 lb-ft (3/8" square drive)
    • No. 1 engine under cover sub-assembly - 22 lb-ft (12mm)
    • No. 2 engine under cover sub-assembly (off-roads) - 22 lb-ft (12mm)

    Parts:

    • Oil - 6.1-6.2 qts 0W-20 ILSAC GF-5 oil - Toyota part # 00279-0WQTE-01
    • Oil pan drain plug gasket - Toyota part # 90430-12031
    • Oil filter element kit - Toyota part # 04152-YZZA1

    Special tools:

    Tips:

    1. Requires removing skid(s) for access.
    2. The oil filter has a permanent housing. The oil filter element kit includes new filter cartridge, two new gaskets, and the temporary oil filter drain pipe.
    3. The hose for the oil filter drain pipe (if used) should be 5/8” ID (15 mm). You can find it at your local hardware store’s plumbing section for around one dollar.
    4. Proper torque of the oil filter cap and oil filter drain plug should help prevent the cap coming off before the drain plug on the next change, which can be a lot cleaner.
    5. When you remove the filter drain plug, give it a little impact. If you're too smooth, the plug and housing will try and move together.

    Lubricate Propeller Shaft 

    You should do this every 15,000 miles or 18 months. If it’s severe, it should be every 5,000 miles or 6 months.

    Parts:

    Special tools:

    Tips:

    1. Spiders should be greased until fresh grease purges from all four seals. They should purge somewhat evenly. If they don’t, there may be a problem.
    2. I would not attempt to lube the center support bearing. I suspect it is sealed and is meant never to be self-serviced.
    3. Only four-wheels-drives have zerk fittings. You won't find any on a two-wheel-drives.

    Re-Torque Propeller Shaft Bolts

    You should do this every 15,000 miles or 18 months. If severe, try every 5,000 miles or 6 months.

    Torque specs:

    • U-joint bolts - 65 lb-ft (14mm/17mm)
    • Center support bearing - 27 lb-ft (Be careful with this. If it was loose, it may need realignment)

    Tips:

    1. You will need a 14mm and 17mm box ends or flarenuts for the u-joint flanges. Sockets will not fit.
    2. The flanges at the transfer case have a 17mm bolt head with a 14mm nut.
    3. Flanges at the diffs have a 14mm bolt with a 14mm nut.
    4. I recommend a box-end or flarenut crowfoot on your torque wrench, but don't forget to lower your torque setting due to the longer torque arm. Here's a calculator on how to do that: http://www.cncexpo.com/TorqueAdapter.aspx
    5. You will have to remove the heat shield at rear of the transfer case (12mm)

    Re-Torque Leaf Spring U-bolts

    Torque spec:

    • 52 lb-ft (19mm)

    Replace Cabin Air Filter

    You should do this every 20,000 miles or 24 months.

    Parts:

    • Filter - Toyota part # 88508-01010

    Tips:

    1. If you don't know how to do this, you can find it in your owner’s manual.

    Replace Engine Air Filter

    This should be done every 20,000 miles or 24 months.

    Parts:

    • Filter - Toyota part # 17801-0P100

    Tips:

    1. This is an easy job, but you don't want to mess it up. Make sure there are no holes or tears in your new filter. Make sure everything is clean before you open up the box and remove filter. Also, make sure you have a good mating/seal around entire edge of the filter. Gaps could let dirt in past your filter and into your engine.

    Front Brakes

    You should visually inspect them every 5,000 miles or 6 months and measure them every 30,000 miles or 36 months.

    Torque specs:

    • Brake caliper mounting bolts - 91 lb-ft 

    Service Specs:

    • Pad min thickness: 1.0 mm
    • Rotor min thickness: 26.0 mm
    • Max rotor runout: 0.05 mm

    Parts:

    • Rotors - Toyota part # 43512-04052
    • Pads - Toyota part # 04465-04090

    Tips:

    1. Measure the runout 10 mm from outer edge of the rotor; the rotor should be installed with all six lug nuts torqued to 83 lb-ft when you’re checking.
    2. If the runout is beyond the maximum limit, check the bearing play and axle hub runout is normal before replacing the rotors.
    3. If the rotor is stuck on the hub, use an M8-1.25 bolt in the holes on the rotors to break it free.
    4. Install new rotors in a position with the least amount of runout.

    Rear Brakes

    You should visually inspect them every 5,000 miles or 6 months and measure them every 30,000 miles or 36 months.

    Service specs:

    • Drum max diameter - 10.08 in
    • Shoe min thickness - 1.0 mm

    Replace Differential Oil

    Inspect your rear diff every 15,000 miles or 18 months. If severe, replace the oil every 15,000 miles or 18 months.

    Torque specs:

    • Rear diff drain plug - 36 lb-ft (24mm or 15/16")
    • Rear diff fill plug - 36 lb-ft (24mm or 15/16")
    • Front diff drain plug - 48 lb-ft (10mm hex)
    • Front diff fill plug - 29 lb-ft (10mm hex)
    • No. 2 engine under cover assembly - 22 lb-ft (12mm)

    Parts:

    • Toyota Genuine Differential gear oil LT 75W-85 GL-5 or equivalent - Toyota part # 08885-02506
    • Front - 1.6 qts; Rear - 3.1-4.2 qts (varies with model)
    • Rear drain plug gasket - Toyota part # 12157-10010
    • Rear fill plug gasket - Toyota part # 12157-10010
    • Front drain plug gasket - Toyota part # 90430-24003
    • Front fill plug gasket - Toyota part # 12157-10010


    Tips:

    1. Perform while your vehicle is level
    2. Ensure you can remove the fill plug before draining
    3. Proper level should be within 5 mm of bottom of fill plug opening
    4. Re-check the level after driving
    5. Save the new fill plug washer until the final check
    6. You will need to remove the skid plate and may need a bottle pump for front
    7. Gasket kit for transfer and differential
    8. Here is a good guide on how to replace your differential fluid in a 3rd generation Tacoma

    Replace Transfer Case Oil

    Inspect your transfer case every 30,000 miles or 36 months. If severe, replace the oil every 30,000 miles or 36 months.

    Torque specs:

    • Drain plug - 27 lb-ft (24mm or 15/16")
    • Fill plug - 27 lb-ft (24mm or 15/16")

    Parts:

    • 1.1 qts SAE 75W Toyota Genuine Transfer gear oil LF or equivalent - Toyota part # 08885-81080
    • Drain plug gasket - Toyota part # 90430-A0003
    • Fill plug gasket - Toyota part # 90430-A0003

    Tips:

    1. Ensure you can remove the fill plug before draining
    2. After filling, leave the plug out and let sit for about five minutes and recheck. Add more fluid if necessary.
    3. Rear Diff and Transfer Case Gasket Kit

    Manual Transmission Oil

    Visually inspect the oil every 30,000 miles or 36 months. If it’s severe, replace it every 30,000 miles or 36 months.

    Torque specs:

    • Drain plug - 27 lb-ft (24mm or 15/16")
    • Fill plug - 27 lb-ft (24mm or 15/16")

    Parts:

    • Toyota Genuine Manual Transmission Gear Oil GL-3 (GL-4) or equivalent, SAE 75W-90
    • 4 cyl - 2.3 qts, 6 cyl - 2.6 qts
    • Drain plug gasket
    • Fill plug gasket

    Tips:

    1. Perform while your vehicle is level
    2. Ensure you can remove the fill plug before draining
    3. Proper level should be within 5 mm of bottom of fill plug opening
    4. Here is a good article on how to replace the manual transmission oil in a 3rd generation Tacoma

    Replace Automatic Transmission Fluid 

    Visually inspect the oil every 30,000 miles or 36 months. If it’s severe, replace it every 60,000 miles or 72 months.

    Torque specs:

    • Drain plug - 180 lb-in/15 lb-ft (14mm)
    • Overflow plug - 180 lb-in/15 lb-ft (5mm hex)
    • Fill plug - 29 lb-ft (24mm or 15/16")

    Parts:

    • Toyota ATF WS fluid - Toyota part # 00289-ATFWS
    • Drain plug gasket - Toyota part # 35178-30010
    • Overflow plug gasket - Toyota part # 35178-30010
    • Fill plug gasket - Toyota part # 90301-15004

    Special tools:

    • Toyota SST 09843-18040 (basically, you just need a wire to jumper two OBD ports)
    • Bottle pump (to use for filling)

    Tips:

    1. Here is a good reference article
    2. The quantity of fluid will depend on what you do. Per the TIS repair manual, it directs three drain/refill/circulates for a replacement, so it will probably be somewhere between 10-12 quarts.

    Replace Engine Coolant

    Inspect the coolant every 15,000 miles or 18 months. You should replace it at 100,000 miles or 120 months, and then every 50,000 miles or 60 months thereafter.

    Parts:

    • 9.1-11.1 qts Toyota SLLC - Toyota part # 00272-SLLC2 (50/50 pre-diluted, Canada is 55/45). The quantity depends on the model. Consult your manual.

    Tips:

    1. Be careful. There is a special sequence to fill the system and remove all the voids without damaging or overheating anything.

    Working on your truck can be a satisfying feeling. Sometimes things can be easy, and sometimes they are not. It is always best to take your truck to a mechanic in the event you are unsure of what you are doing. One wrong mistake could cost you thousands to repair. However, if you do know what you are doing, hopefully these numbers and tips help you with the most important aspect of vehicle ownership: maintenance.

    * Please note that some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.

    10 Awesome Toyota Tacoma Interior Mod & Upgrade Ideas

    10 Awesome Toyota Tacoma Interior Mod & Upgrade Ideas

    If you've spent time on our site or in the forums, you know that there are so many different ways to customize your Toyota Tacoma. A lot of the popular mods happen to the exterior of your truck... obviously, t exterior is what everyone will see, but the interior is where you spend more of your time. In this post, I want to highlight ten, awesome Tacoma interior mods / accessories that you can quickly, and in most cases, affordably make to your truck.

    TRD Pro Shift Knob

    If you have an automatic Tacoma, one of my favorite interior mods is the TRD Pro shift knob. The shift knob is the first and last thing you touch when driving, so stand out from the crowd and get something unique. It’s fast and east to remove the stock one, and there are plenty of after market options. You can buy it here.

    Clazzio Leather Seat Covers

    Seat covers not only help protect your seats, but they add a unique style. You can go the cheap route and get some basic ones that simply slip over your seat. While they protect the factory material from dirt, they generally are not form fitting and that baggy appearance is not attractive. Clazzio Leather Seat Covers makes custom fitted seat cover in a wide array of colors and materials. They offer a great warranty and they are made to not interfere with your side airbags. You can buy them here.

    Husky Floor Mats/Liners

    The factory floor mats that come with your Tacoma are okay and get the job done most of the time, but you really want something durable and comfortable. A lot of aftermarket options are either one or the other. Husky Liners is the best of both worlds with a soft, yet durable material the fits perfectly in your truck. Husky also offers a selection of mud flaps and bed liners as well. You can buy them here.

    Floor Mat Fasteners

    As you know, the stock floor mats aren't secured to the floor, except for the drivers side. If your mats end up everywhere, a good upgrade would be the Eagle Klaw Floor Mat Fastener. This simple device requires no modifications to your truck, but keeps your mat secure. Better grip isn’t only for convenience, but safety too. You don’t want your mat sliding under your pedals. You can buy them here.

    Interior LED Lights 

    LED lighting is the way to go: they last longer, are brighter, and give a modern look and feel to your ride. For around $40, you can upgrade not only your map and vanity mirror lights, but also your license plate and the rear middle light. The swaps are easy to do, and you’ll probably never have to buy bulbs again.

    Here's a good thread on Tacoma World that will tell you what you need.

    AC Vent Decals

    Some people like chrome, some people don’t. If you have a 2016 – 2019 Tacoma, you are stuck with a chrome ring around your AC vents. Our matte black Tacoma AC vent decals offer a sleek, blacked-out look. You can buy them here.

    Door Sill Decals

    Our Tacoma door sill decals take the boring black lettering in your sills and make them pop with a color of your choice. The kit comes with decals for all four doors. You can buy them here.

    Glove Box Decals

    That same problem will be on your glove box, so we give you the ability to have your lettering pop with our Tacoma glove box inserts as well. Since they can be a little tricky to install, we give you two sets in the kit. These are all great inexpensive upgrades to your interior. You can buy them here.

    A/C Current Plug

    This next one requires as little bit of work, but is probably one of the most helpful upgrades. If you want an A/C current plug in your truck, Tacoma World offers a great article about how to do it. With a couple cuts and a little bit of wiring, you can not only have an outlet at the rear of your center console, but you can have it run in 400w mode consistently instead of switching to 100w when you shift out of park.

    Stereo & Sound System

    Aside from your seat and steering wheel, probably the most commonly used part of your interior is the radio. In a previous post, I covered the best ways you can upgrade your stereo for under $300. I encourage you to check that out here: Upgrading your Toyota Tacoma stereo for under $300.

    All in all, there are so many things you can do to upgrade your interior. It all comes down to your style and budget. 

    * Please note that some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.

    Image Credits:

    Shift Knob - Elmore Toyota TRD Parts

    Husky Mats – Auto Accessories Garage

    Clazzio

    Eagle Klaw

    Outlet – Tacoma World user “djembefola”

    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma LED Light Bars & Other Lights

    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma LED Light Bars & Other Lights

    When driving around town or on the highway at night, headlights will do just fine, but if you’re doing any kind of driving off-road at night, LED light bars are a must. They will illuminate far more and in multiple directions. They are easy to install, can be inexpensive, and the options for size, intensity, and installation location are almost endless. Here is your guide for Toyota Tacoma LED light bars.

    What are Light Bars Used for?

    In short, light bars are used for extra illumination. While high-beams can offer better light in darkness, light bars allow for a more customizable line of sight in the dark from the different size and mounting abilities. Light bars are mainly for off-road use and most are generally not allowed to be used on public roads. So keep that in mind when you think about getting one.

    Light Bar Sizes

    Like many off-road upgrades, there are different options depending on what you need. The two most common “sizes” are double or single bars. A single row, as it sounds, has one horizontal row of LEDs, while a double has two. They both light up what they are pointing at, but go about it differently.

    Single Row: For the most part, a single row light bar is going to have a more focused beam of light. Think in terms of a spot light. Generally this is best if you want to light up a longer distance.

    Double Row: A double row light bar is best for more of a floodlight. If you want to light up a large area, a double could be better. This is just a basic principle, but things could change depending on which LEDs you use, the length of the row, placement, and so on.

    Types of Light Bar Beams

    While the size portion above talked about what types of beams the number of rows generally produces, there are specific beams of light that you can look for: spot, flood, and combo. What you should get depends on where you plan on using them, and what you plan on using them for.

    Spot Beam: Spot beams focus a narrow beam of light in a specific area. These are best for distance and a specific line of sight. If you are faced with long open roads without much vegetation, this could be an option for you. On a road like that, you could be going at faster speeds then you would be if you were in the woods. You will want a beam of light that can see obstacles in the road far before you reach them.

    Flood Beam: Flood beams spread out light over a wider and taller surface area, but not as far as a spot beam. Something like this would be better in thicker vegetation where you need to see more around you, and light can’t travel that far of a distance in that type of an environment anyway (with all the trees). If you use the lights on your truck to light up a work sight or something along those lines, this could be a better option too.

    Combo Beam: What if need both? Enter the combo light. This has the narrow throw of the spot beam, with a wide spread of a flood beam. This is generally accomplished with two light sources in the same fixture. Keep in mind that some combos may not shoot as far as a standalone spot fixture, but they are very versatile. Can you switch between modes on combo lights? Some bars allow that function, and that could make them the best between all three worlds.

    Standard Light Bar Mounting Options

    There are different ways to mount your light bars. Each has a different advantage or disadvantage. For this section, let’s assume that you want them to point forward and illuminate what’s in front of your Tacoma.

    Bumper Mounts: Bumper mounts are a popular option. They do a great job at illuminating what is directly in front of you, including the immediate road. They have a more flush and streamline look over other options, especially with our Tacos. The lower grill is practically designed at allow a bar to fit snuggly in the bumper with little to no protrusions. One bigger downfall could be that they could get damaged or misaligned if you are doing some serious off-roading or rock crawling where the front of your truck is subject to scraping against the environment.

    Roof Mounts: Roof mounts offer good function and style. If you want that off-roading look as well as serious illumination power, roof mounts are the way to go. While you may not be able to see directly in front of your front tires with the bar on the roof, you get a good line of sight, depending on the beam (spot, flood, or combo) that you choose.

    Behind The Grille Mounts: If you want a more subtle option, you can look into mounting a bar behind your grill. Most generations of the Tacoma have a large grill, so there is room for a bigger light bar. They keep the look of your truck more “professional”, as the lights are not as easily visible. The throw and intensity of the light are generally not heavily affected by the grill.

    Other Types of LED Lights

    Ditch Lights: LED ditch/pillar lights are options for those of you that want an even wider spread of light beyond what a flood beam on a bar can do. Ditch lights are mounted on or near the A pillars, and are generally pointed outward at a 45 degree angle. They add a wider range of light to help you see things like ditches, hence the name.

    Fog Lights: LED fog lights are good options as well. While Tacomas have good fog lights from the factory, it’s never a bad idea to upgrade to LEDs. Some companies offer complete kits that change the entire housing, and some offer just a new bulb. LEDs generally offer a brighter and longer lasting light over conventional incandescent bulbs.

    Bed Lights: So many people upgrade all the lighting up front, but trucks are designed to haul. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, you may need your bed illuminated. There are plenty of inexpensive bed lighting options as well. I covered this in a previous post about the top 25 inexpensive mods for Tacomas.

    LED Light Bar Colors

    While there are technically many colors of LEDs you can get, there are laws about what color lighting you are allowed to us on public roads. The safest two options would be white or amber. Basically it comes down to preference. Amber lights have the same patterns as white lights, but are not as bright due to the filtered light. Some LED bars and bulbs offer both options. Shop around and find what’s best for you! Keep in mind your federal and state laws before you get too carried away with other colors.

    Conclusion

    If you drive off-road at night, you might need extra lighting. There are tons of options depending on your needs. It all ends up coming down to what you want, where you will be using it, and how much you want to spend. Keep it lit. 

    Image Credits

    Roof Light Bar – PureTacoma

    Beams – Maintain Your Ride

    How To Upgrade Your Toyota Tacoma Sound System For Less Than $300

    How To Upgrade Your Toyota Tacoma Sound System For Less Than $300

    Standard sound systems direct from the factor have been getting better and better as time goes on. However, if you own a third gen Toyota Tacoma, you know that your stereo leaves quite a bit to be desired. For many, it’s more features, cleaner sound, more low end, or more dynamic range. If you own a 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019 Tacoma and are in the market for a new sound system, there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank! Let's jump in...

    Before we get started, here are some common audio terms, just so we can all be on the same page.

    Amplifier/Amp: The unit that powers the speakers in your car

    Driver: The main part of a speaker that projects certain frequencies of sound

    Tweeter: The driver responsible for the higher pitched sound

    Sub Woofer: The driver responsible for the lower sounds

    2 Way Speaker: This means the speaker has two drivers, and two way is generally a high driver (tweeter) and a mid driver

    3 Way Speaker: This has three dedicated driver (high, mid, and low) – each driver is responsible for the respective band of frequencies

    Head Unit: The device you directly interact with (radio, CD player, etc)

    What to Replace and Why

    The tweeters in the Tacomas are known to be on the weaker end. Upgrading them will lead to a more crisp sound with more clarity in the high end. Some folks over at Tacoma World recommend these Subaru tweeters. While you can shop around for cheaper ones, it could also be best to go with what’s tried and true by your fellow Taco drivers. A crisper high end will really make the sound come alive.

    While the factory system can bring you loud low end, it isn’t exactly clear. Factory speakers, while better then they have been, are designed to focus most on the mid frequencies of sound (not the best on the highs or lows, but best in the middle). Getting a more full range speaker can produce a richer low end, without having to invest in separate subwoofers.

    If you don’t want to go through to process of making extra holes and whatnot for sub woofers, you can easily get a better sound by replacing your front and rear speakers. Front speakers are generally more responsible for the mids and highs, while the rear speakers are generally more responsible for mids and lows.

    Decent speakers are actually relatively inexpensive, and as long as you get ones that match the same power as you factory ones, they are completely plug and play. You can find out how many watts your factory speakers are with a quick Google search. Only a few parts and panels have to be taken off to access them.

    Cructhfield is one of the best websites when it comes to finding speakers that fit your ride. All you have to do is enter your year, make, model, and trim level, and it you will give you exactly what speakers are plug and play, and if they are not, it will match the hardware you need as well. The prices are generally low too, but you can always do a search on Google for the same speakers it shows.

    Some guys over at Tacoma World have had good look with these Kicker 6”9” speakers in the front and these Kicker 6.75” speakers in the rear. The front speakers are Just under $100, and the rear ones are just under $70. If those options are too expensive for you, there are plenty of other options.

    Sound deadening is something you also may want to consider. Sound deadening material keeps the road noise out, and the good noise in. Why is that important? Sound waves reflect and travel. This why you hear reverberation in your voice when you enter a bathroom, but not so much in your carpeted bedroom. For some extra money, you can invest in some sound-deadening mat to put inside your doors and behind your rear speakers. This will help you achieve and richer and warmer sound in your music, and help keep some of the roar of your mud tires out.

    At this point, you’re looking about $250 for a life changing sound. All of this can be achieved with the stock head unit. But what if you want more options? While the stock Toyota Tacoma head unit on the newest trucks are pretty nice, the older ones can get sort of basic.

    Head Units

    If you want better EQs, touch screens, iPhone cables, and more, you may want to consider a new head unit. While you DO NOT need to do this when you get upgraded speakers, you can. This will up your cost too, and you will be over the $300 amount. So, consider this a bonus section.

    Let’s take a look at four options:

    Alpine iLX-F309

    Alpine ILK-107

    Kenwood DDX6704

    Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX

    Just as a disclaimer, head units are not usually plug and play. You usually have to take quite a bit of the dashboard apart, and sometimes you have to do some custom wiring with specific harnesses. There are plenty of experts out there who do this stuff for a living, so keep that in mind.

    The Alpine iLX-F309 is currently the most expensive of the group at just under $870. It comes full with plenty of features: HDMI input, works with Apple and Android, SiriusXM ready, USB playback, Bluetooth, 9 band parametric EQ, iDatalink connectivity, a camera input, and more. While it can fit in more vehicles with the smaller unit size, that means the 9 inch display sticks out and hovers. If you can deal with that and the price, it does everything you would need it to.

    For about $200 less, you can get the Alpine ILK-107 for just under $680. It offers most of what the iLX-F309 offer but is flush fitting with a 7 inch screen. This unit has many positive reviews and seems to be a favorite amongst truck owners.

    At just around $330, the Kenwood DDX6704 is the least expensive of the bunch. The 6.8 inch flush fitting screen comes with Apple and Android compatibility, camera inputs, navigation, Bluetooth, and more. Some of the reviews are not pleased with the Bluetooth and navigation, but overall, most people are happy with it. If you are looking for a less expensive touch screen to replace your buttons and knobs, this could be the option for you.

    The Pioneer AVH-W4400NEX is packed with the most features and is around $540. The 7 inch, flush fitting screen has WiFi, Bluetooth, SirisXM ready, back-up camera ready, iDatalink, 13 band EQ, USB and SD card playback/input, fast USB charging port for Android, HDMI input, and more. If you are looking for every option you can think of, this may be for you. 

    Make your System Yours

    Your sound system has almost limitless options for customization. You do not need to break the bank to do it. For less than $300, you can make an entirely new sounding experience in your Tacoma.

    I would like to share some expert advice though. You can spend thousands of dollars on your sound system, but if you play low quality music back, it’s going to sound bad. Thankfully music downloads have come a long way from the days of low quality .mp3 files, but some of them still exist, and you may be listening to them. Your best formats would be uncompressed formats like .wav (CD quality) or certain compressed formats like FLAC. This is a topic for a whole different post, but basically don’t listen to those old .mp3 tracks your downloaded off Limewire. Good speakers let high quality music sound good, but can’t make low quality stuff sound any better.

    Image Credits

    Sound-Deadening – Tacoma World forum user drscott11

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