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    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Bed Mats

    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Bed Mats

    Trucks are made to haul. Toyota Tacomas do so exceptionally well. With up to a 6-foot bed, there is almost no limit to what you can carry around. Bed mats are a great addition to your truck to help get the most out of your hauling.

    Bed mats are great for a couple of things: they help keep things in place, and they help protect your bed. From the factory, the Tacoma bed has ridges that run the length of the bed, and the plastic material is textured. Both of these features help with keeping your load in one place and assist with other functions such as channeling rainwater.

    The stock plastic, however, is easy to scrape up with heavy and sharp loads such as logs, rocks, or scrap metal. While you’re supposed to do this with a truck, sometimes you weekend movers want to keep your ride looking good. Maybe you don’t want to hear the scraping or some rocks shifting as you accelerate and brake.

    Benefits of Rubber Bed Mats

    Bed mats are generally made out of thick rubber. Rubber is a soft, flexible material, but also extremely durable. Rubber also absorbs impacts, which helps with two concerns: damage and noise. When your load impacts the rubber surface, the rubber will absorb the impact and distribute the force over a greater surface area. In doing so, it will flex, then regain its original shape. This will help protect your bed from chipping, cracking, denting, and other related damage.

    With rubber being much softer over plastic and metal, it also absorbs sound. You no longer have to worry about an ear jarring slam when tossing in your junk. If you have anything loose rolling around in the back (which you should not, but if you do), you won’t have to hear the constant scraping and rolling across the harder material. If you’ve been in this situation before, you know that sound resonates throughout the whole truck, and if the item is large enough, you can feel it. That gets very annoying. 

    Benefits of Carpet Bed Mats

    Some are made of carpet as well. Think of them as a large floor mat that you might find in the interior of your truck. While these offer the same basic protections as the rubber mats, they might be a little cheaper. However, they may not be as thick as the rubber ones, and they can absorb moisture which could lead to mildew and mold. Due to the carpet nature, they are also harder to clean.

    Mats Protect From What You Can’t See

    When you throw stuff in your bed, it’s easy to see what can cause damage. Over time, there is another culprit of damage: the sun. With its deadly UV rays, the sun will destroy any vehicle over time. Without a physical cover, some type of chemical or protecting fluid/formula, or shade, the UV rays will destroy everything. Paint will fade, plastic and cloth will fade and become brittle, leather will crack, and so on. A bed mat will create a physical barrier between your bed and the sun to help protect the stock coating of your bed (paint or plastic).

    A downside to having this cover is the potential for rust. A cover, by definition, covers whatever is under it. Water can become trapped, and if you have a metal bed, this can lead to some serious rust. Rain can easily find its way under the mat. After all, the mats are not designed to keep rain away. Water will have a hard time evaporating, as it will have nowhere to evaporate. During mornings when you find your ride covered in dew, the same thing may be happening under the mat. While beds are designed to help channel water out, small areas may still hold on to the moisture. Over time, damage may occur.

    To avoid this, you might want to remove your mat every now and then and inspect the surface of your bed for any troubled areas. Try to dry off the areas, and you may need to tread any rust if it’s developing.

    Cleanup Is Easy

    While hosing down a bed is not particularly hard, a textured surface may be a pain if mud cakes in it, or you’re dealing with a sticky load, such as wood covered in tree sap. A mat can either be hosed off in the same way, but even easier is the fact that it can be removed and cleaned outside of the truck.

    Cost of a Tacoma Bed Mat

    For what bad mats accomplish, they are very inexpensive. Prices range from $40 to about $200, but the average is going to be around $80-$100. There is no installation cost since you just throw them in (and maybe hold them down with one bolt), so after shipping and tax, you have nothing else to worry about.

    Some Popular Bed Mat Options

    As always, here are some popular options that our Tacoma lovers recommend. These brands are sourced from Taco forums, Facebook groups, and more. As always, find what works best for you and your budget. There isn’t too much that separates these mats apart except for maybe thickness and type of rubber, so support the brand that works best for you.

    WeatherTech Tacoma Bed Mat

    For around $170, WeatherTech offers a durable liner and options for a tailgate liner as well. Though more on the expensive side, the great technology that they have in their floor mats gets carried over to the bed mats for superior protection, durability, and lifetime warranty. You can check it out here.

    Tacoma OEM Bed Mat

    At just over $110, Toyota offers a mat that they make. It is made specifically for the Tacoma, so you can be sure to get a direct fit. With it coming from Toyota, you know that it will be of good quality. Toyota offers both a carpet and rubber model that you can get from the factory, or online. I have this one in my Tacoma and I love it. You can check it out here.

    BedRug Tacoma Bed Mat

    Around $55-75 will get you a good carpet mat from BedRug. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and is UV resistant. For closer to $450, they have a mat that covers all the sidewalls of your bed as well. I have a couple of friends who have these and they swear by them. You can check it out here.

    Here’s a bit of a wild card, but if you want to make something completely custom, horse stall mats are a great way to get that done. Here on Amazon you can get them in different sizes. You can cut them to size to make the type of bed mat that you want! 

    Image Credits

    WeatherTech - Courtesy of WeatherTech

    Toyota Mat - Courtesy of Toyota Canada

    BegRug - Courtesy of Truck Accessories Plus

    Tacoma Bed Mat - Courtesy of Tacoma World User Texaslaw

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

    MESO Customs Toyota Tacoma Interior Upgrades

    MESO Customs Toyota Tacoma Interior Upgrades

    Over the last few months, I’ve started adding some new interior mods to my Tacoma. One of the companies that I’ve been most interested in as of late is MESO Customs. They are doing a really great job at addressing many issues and gripes that Tacoma owners have about their Tacos.

    One of the big issues they address in the market is the ungodly amount of chrome that Toyota decided to add to the interior (exterior is pretty bad too) of its latest generation Tacoma. I, like most Tacoma owners, hate chrome and the fact that Toyota did this drives us nuts! You can do a quick search in Google for Tacoma World threads related to chrome and there are countless posts about it.

    When I decided to start making some additional cosmetic updates to the interior of my Tacoma, I reached out to MESO to see if they were interested in working with me on getting some product to use and review. Below are the four items they sent me (missing from the picture are the vent rings that arrived a few days later). As I buy or am sent additional pieces, I'll be updating this post with my thoughts.

    MESO Customs Chrome Delete Vent Rings & Trim Pieces

    As many of you know, I sell matte black vent ring decals, which I previously had on my vent rings. They worked just fine and if you're looking for a budget-friendly option, I sell them for $12.99 here. The number one problem with these decals was that it only solved half the chrome problem for me. I wanted a complete chrome delete kit and that's where MESO came in. They not only provide a vent ring chrome delete kit but a kit that deletes the chrome from the start button, 4-wheel drive button, cup holder and shifting knob. It pretty much eliminates all of the chrome except for the door handles. Hopefully they're working on that!

    You can buy the vent rings here.

    You can buy the start button, 4-wheel drive switch, cup holder and shift knob trims here.

    MESO Customs Map Lights

    The map lights the MESO sells are insanely bright, almost too bright. The install took me about five minutes max and was relatively straight forward. The process goes as follows:

    • Grab the console with two hands and pull down from the roof of the truck.
    • Disconnect the console from the power cord on the left-hand side of the unit.
    • Grab a butter knife or a small flat tip screwdriver and push it into the outside gap and pull up. The plastic piece will pull right out. (see picture below)
    • On the backside, disconnect the bulb and push in the cord connected to the back of the MESO light. (see picture below)
    • Install the MESO light by pushing into the vacant slot.
    • Reconnect the console to the power cord.
    • Push the console back into the roof of the truck.

    All in all, if you drive a Tacoma, you need these, regardless of how bright they are. The stock lights that come with your vehicle are straight up garbage and you can't see anything very well.

    You can buy the map lights here.

    MESO Customs Minimalist Keyfob

     I've been very interested in the concept of the minimalist keyfob for a few years now. I loved what AJT did with their fob and I love what MESO did with theirs. I mean, how much smaller can you make these fobs? I honestly don't think you can. They've perfected it.

    The one thing that makes me a little uneasy about their keyfob is the fact that it doesn't house the key to unlock your Tacoma if the battery in the fob dies. I've never had a fob run out of battery, but I can imagine that it happens and not having that key would make me pretty pissed.

    You can buy the keyfob here.

    Future MESO Mods

    Some of the other MESO customers mods that I'm looking at doing this year include the following:

    • Ultimate Turn Signals
    • The Gasshole
    • Stealth Pro Shift Knob - I would love to be able to control the ETC switch and my garage door opener with the side buttons.
    • Climate Control Knobs - I want these to be black!

    Toyota Tacoma Apple CarPlay Integration For 2016-2019 Models

    Toyota Tacoma Apple CarPlay Integration For 2016-2019 Models

    If you're reading this post, you're probably a lot like me... you've got an older third-gen Tacoma (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) and you're dying to get Apple Carplay. So many people want this feature that one of the most popular searches in Google is "how to get Apple Carplay in Toyota Tacoma". Crazy, right?

    My obsession with Apple Carplay started when my wife got a new Honda Odyssey last year, which of course, came standard with Carplay. Ever since the day I first plugged in, I've been trying to decide the best way for me to get Apple Carplay in my Taco without breaking the bank.

    After months of going back and forth on different Alpine and Pioneer head units, I made the decision last week to go with the BeatSonic Carplay adapter. I would say that the main reason I went in this direction is that I've never liked the look of trim rings. I think they look very cheap and lame.

    The BeatSonic Apple Caplay adapter is a native plug and play solution that is easy to install and easy to start using. In as little as 30 minutes, mine took about 15, you can be up and running with your Carplay interface. Let's walk through the steps to make this happen.

    Ordering The Apple Carplay Unit

    Head over to BeatSonic and start filling out the options on the product page. I decided that I wanted to use the USB port that's already available vs running a lightening cable somewhere else, so I opted for the $10 USB harness. The cost for both the Carplay unit and the harness was $510.

    Setting Up & Connecting The Carplay Unit

    There are a number of steps that you need to take to connect the two units that came in the box. Instead of posting a bunch of pictures, here's a great video that walks through the steps of connecting them together and getting it ready to be installed.

    Taking Apart The Dash

    I was actually really surprised how easy it was to remove the dash piece to access the head unit. All you have to do is grab it and pull. I started with the right side and worked over to the left to make sure I didn't break anything.

    Removing The Head Unit

    Removing the head unit was also really easy. There are four screws keeping it secure to the dash. Using a 10mm socket, remove the four screws and gently pull it forward. 

    I would suggest using a blanket to set the unit on to make sure that it doesn't get scratched. As you can see, I opted to use my three-year-old daughter's hot pink, Minnie Mouse blanket, but any will do.

    Connecting It To The Head Unit

    Connecting the head unit is probably the easiest part of the whole process. There are three plugs that you need to remove, plug into the wiring harness and reconnect the wiring harness to the unit. If you opted for the USB harness, there is a fourth you have to unplug and reconnect. See the images below.

    Testing The Unit

    Before putting everything back into place, make sure you take a moment to test the unit to make sure that it works how you want it to work. I had to reboot my iPhone in order to make it work properly. You may or may not need to do this.

    Reinstalling The Unit

    Reinstalling the unit was probably the worst part of the whole process. I had to find a good place to put the two boxes that run the Carplay software. I ended up stashing them down and to the left of where the head unit sits. You will also need to make sure that all of the cables are cleaned up in order to make sure there's enough room to put it back. You can use electrical tape, zip ties or another solution that works for you.

    Cons of The Solution

    In closing, there are a few things that I don't love about the solution, but for the money, I can surely live without. They are as follows:

    • The quality of the picture on the screen is just okay. It's definitely not crisp and clear like my wife's Odyssey. The reason I'm okay with this is that the overall quality of the picture on the head unit is just okay, I mean, look at the backup camera. That's the quality you're going to get. Keep in mind that this is not brand new technology like the 2020s. It just comes with the territory of owning an older head unit.
    • You cannot trigger Siri through the steering wheel controls. The reason I'm okay with this is that it's just as easy, or in many cases easier to trigger Siri by saying "hey Siri".

    With all of this, I would absolutely recommend the BeatSonic Apple Carplay adapter. If you're on the fence, you should do it.

    Please note that this is not a paid review/sponsorship and I am not an affiliate of BeatSonic. This is an actual user review and should be treated as such.

    The History of The 3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma

    The History of The 3rd Generation Toyota Tacoma

    The Toyota Tacoma is a fantastic all-around truck that has been with us since 1995. As I’ve covered in my post about the history of the Toyota Tacoma, there have been plenty of changes over the years, and that brings us to our current generation: the third-generation Toyota Tacoma (2016 - Present).

    Development & 2016 Toyota Tacoma

    The third generation started officially with its reveal at the January 2015 Detroit Auto Show, but sales would not start until September of that year.

    Its design was heavily influenced by the styling of the 2014 4Runner and Tundra. Doing so brought over a more aggressive and chiseled look. With that look came a larger grille, projector-beam headlights, and a newly redesigned bed liner and tailgate featuring the name TACOMA tastefully presented.

    However, the truck isn’t all about looks. Mike Sweers was chief engineer for the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, and according to Auto Beat Online, he told his crew to “make it badass.” With wanting to continue the legacy of off-road power, Sweers went to Toyota’s headquarters in Japan to work with the “master driver” to basically drive up the side of a mountain in a prototype truck.

    The target market was young, adventure-seeking males. This explains the “masculine” styling and unique features such as an offering for a GoPro mount on the windshield. It was estimated at 45% of Tacoma owners actually took their trucks off-roading.

    Power-wise, Toyota ditched its old 4.0L V6 for a more powerful and fuel-efficient 3.5L V6. That brings the power up to 278 horsepower, which is 42 more horses, but it did drop one foot-pound of torque to 265. The 2.7L inline-four pretty much remained unchanged. A new six-speed transmission also was paired up with the engines.

    The interior took on a new look as well. A clean, sleek styling dash and controls were implemented. The seats were changed as well. Altogether, there are 29 different configurations possible. 

    2017 Toyota Tacoma

    2017 didn’t bring too many changes to the very popular truck.  The biggest would be the addition of the TRD Pro. While Toyota kept up with its offering of different trim models, it did decide to drop the PreRunner, and out came the TRD Pro to replace it.

    The TRD Pro was the most expensive model, and it was all about off-road. In addition to many cosmetic updates, you got Fox off-road suspension with front coilovers and remote reservoir rear shock absorbers, 1-inch suspension lift, TRD ¼ inch aluminum front skid plate, 16 inch Black TRD wheels offering a 1 inch wider track, a larger anti-sway bar, and exhaust. I go into more detail in my TRD difference post.

    2018 Toyota Tacoma

    A big grille update happened this year, especially for the lower trimmed SR and SR5. The TRD Sport and TRD Off-Road models got a darker mesh and an updated grille. There was also a new black leather-trimmed interior for the Tacoma Limited.

    As for powertrain, the two engine options remained, but the five-speed manual transmission was discontinued.  However, some trim levels still offered a six-speed manual.

    More safety features became standard across all trims which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with a sway warning system, automatic high beams, and high-speed dynamic radar cruise control. Prices did go up across the board as well, as one would expect with more standard features.

    2019 Toyota Tacoma

    Last year’s model jumped up to 32 different combination possibilities. Most of the design and performance elements are carried over from 2018 some notable updates include a new SX appearance package, a new TRD Pro desert air intake, available bilstein shocks, updated lane departure alert system, and an available multi-information display.

    PickupTrucks.com reported that there are a lot of changes that you can’t see. They reported a much quieter and smoother ride compared to previous models. Thicker glass, an improved rear suspension, and thicker insulation cut down on vibration and noise.

    2020 Toyota Tacoma

    While still being announced, the 2020 model is going to have some much-needed upgrades. I’ve done a few articles on the Tacoma versus other trucks, and the Tacoma is starting to fall behind in terms of technology and features. With the truck being on top for so long, there was almost no competition. Toyota is realizing that there is now, and things are changing for the better.

    To make it easier to read, here is a list of the changes courtesy of CJ Pony Parts based on updates from the Chicago Auto Show earlier this year.

    • 8-inch touchscreen (except for SR trim, which gets an upgraded 7-inch)
    • Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa Compatibility
    • 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat (including power lumbar support)
    • LED/DRL headlights (all trims besides SR)
    • Surround-view camera system (standard on higher trims, optional on all trims)
    • Revised grille
    • New and updated wheel designs
    • 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat (including power lumbar support)
    • LED bed lamp
    • Revised taillights with darker housings (SR and SR5 trims)
    • Multi-Terrain Monitor (on TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro, used to view obstacles under the truck)
    • Panoramic View Monitor (or PVM, which supplements backup camera with front, side, and rear angles)
    • Toyota Smart Key passive entry now works on passenger side door as well
    • The top-of-the-line off-roader TRD Pro adds lighter wheels, revised shocks, and a new Army Green color

    The Toyota Tacoma has come so far since the early days of 1995. It’s a truck we know and love. It’s very reliable, customizable, and versatile. Here’s to another 25 years! 

    Image Credits

    2016 - Courtesy of IIHS

    2017 - Courtesy of Toyota of Boerne

    2018 - Courtesy of Gear Patrol

    2019 - Courtesy of MotorTrend

    2020 - Courtesy of CNET

    2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Ford F-150 - How Do They Compare?

    2020 Toyota Tacoma vs Ford F-150 - How Do They Compare?

    The Toyota Tacoma is one of the best mid-sized trucks in America. Ford rereleased the Ranger, and it is a very good side by side competitor to the Tacoma. However, the Tacoma has the ability to run with the big dogs, and the F-150 is one of them.

    How does Toyota’s best selling mid-sized truck stack up against Ford's flagship of the highest selling truck line for 40 years?  Let’s find out.

    The Tacoma first came into the market in 1995. The F series trucks have been around since 1948, but the F-150 came about in 1976. 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 F150 offers seven (XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited, and Raptor). The Ford’s F150 trims are all much higher priced than the Tacoma, but there is a size difference between the two models that are notable.

    Both trucks offer two rows of seating. Depending on the trim, each truck offers three different bed lengths. The F150 offers a much longer bed, coming in at two feet longer over the longest Tacoma offering. However, that does give the F150 a much bigger footprint. If you want a smaller overall truck, the Tacoma would be a better option.

    Drivetrain

    Toyota offers two well-proven engines that make respectable power and are known to be quite reliable. While the Ranger gives you an option of just one engine, the F150 offers six. That seems like a bit of an overkill, but I guess you get plenty of options, including a V8, turbo diesel, and two well-proven and versatile versions of the V6 Ecoboost.

    The F150 offers substantially more horsepower, even with its smallest engine. The biggest power plant of the Tacoma (a 3.5L V6) makes 278 horsepower, while the 2.7L in the Ford makes 375. Granted, that is a turbo. The 3.0L turbo-diesel does only make 250 horsepower, but it’s in a different category than the Tacoma doesn’t have a direct competitor for. Torque is also a big difference all around with the Ford making more, aside from the 3.3L V6 making the same 265 as the 3.5L V6 in the Tacoma.

    Tacoma offers a six-speed manual and automatic. The F150 also offers a six-speed manual, but only in very few configurations. Most of the time you’ll find it with its ten-speed automatic. That allows the Ford to crank out a couple more miles per gallon in its best configuration over the Toyota’s best configuration regardless of its size and weight.

    Towing and Off-Road

    The F150 offers a much greater towing and payload capacity. Again, the engine options for the Ford offer more power, and the truck is physically bigger, so that’s no surprise. What the Tacoma can offer is an industry-standard for its size.

    Tacoma and off-road go hand in hand. The TRD Pro is built for it, and there are package options for the other trims. Not enough from the factory? The aftermarket for the Tacoma is extremely vast. Ford is no slouch with its Raptor. Built from the ground up to tackle the rugged terrain, and to do it at speed, the Raptor has been known for years as Ford’s off-road machine. That all comes with a price though: $10,000 over the cost of a TRD Pro. Both trucks handle off-roading well when properly equipped.

    Colors and Interior

    Colors and interior options are pretty equal. Both can offer a very luxurious feel, or a rugged and basic work appearance. Ford has been doing very well with its Sync system, but Toyota is rolling out plenty of electronic features for the 2020 year.

    Conclusions

    The Tacoma can hold its own very well against the full-sized F150. However, it is important to keep in mind that not everything can be directly comparable. Sizes and power options make both trucks handle and option out differently. Both are good trucks, but personal needs and brand loyalty will help you find the best truck for you.

    2020 F-150 - Courtesy of Ford

    2020 F-150 - Courtesy of Phil Long Ford