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    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Tonneau & Bed Covers

    The Ultimate Guide To Toyota Tacoma Tonneau & Bed Covers

    Regardless of how you use your Tacoma, trucks were made to carry things. Sometimes you want your stuff covered, or many you just like that sleek design of a covered bed. Either way, there are plenty of options to cover your Taco’s bed. Let’s take a look at some of them.


    These covers are one of the most common types of covers that you will find on a truck. A tonneau covers are either hard or soft covers designed to protect unoccupied areas of a car, or in our case, the bed of a pickup. There are quite a few types of tonneau covers.


    The most basic cover that you can get is just one piece of material that fits to your bed, and snaps into place. These are great if you’re on a budget. While they generally are not the most durable, they get the job done. The can bed a flexible piece of material that you can fold in any way you like, or they have some type of firmer piece. Those limit how much you can open them, and they basically work best either on or off, not so much in between, but they offer more rigidity.

    Pros: inexpensive, easy to install

    Cons: lacking rigidity, generally not the easiest to take off/retract when needing full access to your bed


    This is going to be one of your cheaper options for tonneau covers. They are exactly what they sound like. They are a soft cover that lies over your bed, and to pull it back, it folds into three sections. You can generally pick these up for around $300 to $400. However, there are more expensive ones for closer $1000.

    Pros: Inexpensive (sometimes), easy to install, full bed access

    Cons: Sometimes inferior quality and fit (on less expensive ones), soft material may cause pooling water

    Gator makes a popular tri-fold. It’s basis, yet durable. The lightweight construction makes it easy to fold, but the large locking tabs keep it in place when you want it down. The price is on the lower end too, so it makes it more appealing too. Here is a link to the Gator Tri-Fold, but make sure to get the right size for your truck. BTW - this is what I have and it works great!


    Rolling covers are a good option for a fast retracting option. Like tri-folds, they are easy to install, and are a cost effective option, though you can find more expensive versions. With the nature of whey are, they will be made out of soft material, which could be prone to wear tear. You can get higher prices ones that are made of aluminum, and that could prove to last longer.

    Pros: Easy to install, can be inexpensive, full bed access

    Cons: Prone to rips if soft 

    BAK Industries makes some good stuff. Their covers are durable and highly rated. While their Revolver X4 is a little on the high end when it comes to pricing, it is a good option to choose from if the want easy use and protection.


    These operate similarly as the rolling ones, but they roll/retract down. These are going to be on the higher priced side, and they take up a bit of bed space in the back. However, they are very fast and easy to retract. Electronic ones exist, and they make things easier, but keep in mind that the more moving and electronic parts you have, the more things can go wrong over time.

    Pros: East to retract

    Cons: Expensive, take up bad space

    Roll-N-Lock is one option of a durable and easy to use retractable cover. It locks well, and it made out of aluminum with vinyl to ensure durability. 


    These hard covers are deigned to give you rugged protection. They can also be color matched to your truck to give a nice sleek look. These can either fit flush to the top of your bed, or be raised to meet your roofline. These are generally made out of fiberglass don’t come off to easily. They are more “permanent” or long-term installations.

    Camper Shells/Caps

    These offer the largest covered area for your bed. They generally match up with your roofline, and are painted to match your truck. They come with windows, and are generally made out of fiberglass. They are great for keeping a large amount of stuff out of the elements. The biggest downside is that you can move cargo in and out through the tailgate. There is no access from the sides. These have a wide range of prices, but generally are on the higher end of the $300 to $1000.

    Pros: large amount of surface area, excellent security from the elements, color matched

    Cons: only one point of access, not quick to remove, generally more expensive

    Flush Shells/Hard Tonneau

    While the camper ones meet your roofline, these sit flush, or right above your bed. They can be color matched to your truck, and they really add a sleek and complete look to the back of your truck. While they are durable, they aren’t the most practical if you toss a lot of stuff in your bed. While they generally hinge open to allow more access, then most practical point of entry is the tailgate. These are around the same price as the camper shells, but can cost a little less.

    Pros: durable, color match

    Cons: limited access 


    Now, there are outliers to everything. For example, there are covers that really stand out from the rest. Peragon makes a retractable cover that is not only quick to retract, but quick to remove completely should you need the full bed. There are some rolling covers that are soft material, and some that are aluminum. There are expensive versions of each cover listed, and some that are expensive.

    It all depends on your budget, and what you want out of it. Do you want t show vehicle, or do you need an off-roading beast? Perhaps you need both. This is a guide I put together for you from one Tacoma owner to another, but it’s just a guide. Find what works for you!

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

    Image Credits:

    Tri Fold – Courtesy of Gator

    Snap – Courtesy of Tonneau Cover World

    Rolling – Courtesy of CJ Pony Parts

    Retractable – Courtesy of Suspension Connection

    Camper Shell – Courtesy of Tom’s Camper Land

    Flush Shell – Courtesy of Tom’s Camper Land

    How To Change The Oil On A 3rd Generation Tacoma

    How To Change The Oil On A 3rd Generation Tacoma

    For anyone who's owned a vehicle, you've probably learned by now that it’s generally cheaper and easier to perform routine maintenance yourself, than taking it to the dealer or the local Jiffy Lube. This includes a long list of things, especially, changing your engine oil.

    Changing your oil is one of the most common DIY vehicle owning experiences. One thing I learned after I blew through my 25,000 miles is that changing the oil on a third generation Tacoma is a little different than other vehicles i've owned in the past, and there are a couple things you need to be aware of. Let's dive in!

    Here’s what you'll need to get the job done:

    • Oil (0W20, 6.2 US quarts with oil cooler, 6.1 US quarts with out oil cooler)
    • Oil filter (with gaskets and o-rings)
    • Ratchet and 14mm socket
    • Torque wench (for best results)
    • Oil filter wrench
    • Oil filter cap drain tool (generally comes with your filter)
    • Oil pan (for catching the draining oil)

    After you have what you need, get started by removing your skid plate. This is needed to access your oil filter. After that’s off, put your drain pan under your drain plug. Loosen your plug, and be prepared to move your pan to catch the oil. After the oil is drained, put the drain plug back in with a new gasket. Torque it down to 40 Nm / 30 ft/lbs.

    Now it’s time to remove the filter housing, and replace the filter. The housing is plastic, and many owners choose to replace the stock plastic one with an aftermarket aluminum one. The aluminum one is more durable and will last longer. While the skid plate will protect it while the truck is moving, it could be damaged during oil changes. You can get an aluminum one here.

    First, remove the drain plug from the oil filter cap. This will expose where you screw in your drain tool. Once you thread it in, oil will drain. You don’t need to drain this oil before removing the housing, but it will make the process cleaner, as oil will start to flow in all directions one you start to loosen the housing.

    Next, take your wrench and place it over the housing. You may need to use a breaker bar to remove it from the engine if it has been over-tightened. Once removed, remove and discard the old o-ring and oil filter. It’s best to clean the cap and threads to avoid dirt building up. Install your new o-rings and filter. Thread the cap/housing back into place by hand. Tighten the housing down with the wrench to 25 Nm / 18 ft/lbs. Thread the housing drain plug back in with a new (and lightly oiled) o-ring, and torque it down to 13 Nm / 10 ft/lbs.

    After that, add new oil. You will use 6.2 US quarts of 0W20 if you have the oil cooler, and 6.1 US quarts with out oil cooler. Start your engine and check for leaks. Check the oil level with your dipstick, and top off if needed. After you’re done, replace the skid plate, and you’re good to go.

    Changing your oil on your truck may have a few more steps over a conventional one-piece disposable filter, but it’s still pretty straightforward. In the event you are more of a visual learner, here is a good video that covers everything from start to finish. Remember that oil is the life of engines, so keep your Taco running well, and treat her right.


    * Please note the following:

    This guide is accurate for all the following third gen models: 2016, 2017 and 2018.

    Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links and we make a small commission if you purchase the product.

    Images Credits:

    Oil Filter Housing – Tundra Solutions user Jowett Engineering

    Exploded Filter Diagram – Posted by Tacoma World user tubesock

    Top 20 Mods & Accessories Under $200 For 2nd Gen Tacomas

    Top 20 Mods & Accessories Under $200 For 2nd Gen Tacomas

    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.

    Blacked-Out and LED Tail Lights ($180)

    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!

    Securing Your Bet Mat (Pretty Much Free)

    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.

    5 Tips to Make Your Old, Dumb Tacoma Feel New and Smart

    5 Tips to Make Your Old, Dumb Tacoma Feel New and Smart

    Most truck owners would be glad to tell you all the many reasons, from off-roading to customizations, why owning a truck is the best — but high-tech gadgets and gizmos are not usually high on the list.

    But if your Tacoma is older than a 2016, or otherwise didn’t come equipped with newer smart car tech, don’t worry: There are plenty of techy gadgets that can upgrade your truck and your driving experience without costing you an arm and a leg (or requiring you to trade in your beloved vehicle).

    Here are 5 gadgets to smarten up your Toyota Tacoma: 

    1. ZUS Smart Car Charger ($39.99)

      If your car doesn’t come standard with a USB charger for your devices, fear not: Cigarette-lighter chargers are faster and smarter than ever. The ZUS Qualcomm Quick Charge can charge two USB devices at maximum speed, faster than typical car chargers.  Bonus: With the ZUS app, you can find where you parked your car, set timers for parking meters, monitor your car battery, and track your mileage.

      Follow these tips for using a car phone charger to keep your phone and car batteries healthy.

    2. Smart Vehicle Health Monitor ($59.99)  

      No one likes taking the truck into the shop and blowing cold, hard cash just to check an engine light. But with a car health monitor, you can interpret engine light codes right on your smartphone and stay knowledgeable about the overall health and functionality of your vehicle.

    3. Garmin Heads-up Display Navigation ($149.99)

      Looking at the navigation on your phone while driving is dangerous — plain and simple. But new heads-up tech puts a transparent navigation screen in your line of sight while driving, so you can follow directions without taking your eyes off the road.

    4. Viper Smart Start ($195.00)

      If you have an older car or truck, you probably don’t have a way to start it up remotely — which means warming it up on a cold, winter morning is a hassle at best. Now, you can use an app on your smartphone to remote-start your vehicle from the warmth and comfort of your house.

    5. ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor ($119.99)  

      No one wants to experience a tire blowing out on a highway. To keep you and your loved ones safe (and save you some money and hassle), use your smartphone and a handy app to keep track of your tire air pressure and health. The ZUS Smart Tire Safety Monitor comes with the first-ever slow leak detector, so you’ll be alerted before your tire problems become dangerous.

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

    The Ultimate Tacoma Tire & Wheel Guide

    The Ultimate Tacoma Tire & Wheel Guide

    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 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.

    Speedometer Calibration

    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 back spacing 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 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.

    BFGoodrich KO2's

    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.

    General Grabber AT2's

    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.

    Cooper Discoverers

    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.

    Nitto Terra Grappler G2's

    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.

    There are tons of options. 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!

    Image Credits:

    BFGoodrich KO2 – User Mauiboi84 on Tacoma World

    General Grabber AT2 – User Mtbkrguy on Tacoma World

    Cooper Discoverer – User Maticuno on Tacoma World

    Nitto Terra Grappler G2 – User texastaco11 on Tacoma World

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