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  • Top Accessories for Toyota Tacoma: Enhance Your Ride's Performance & Style

    by Ryan Horton April 23, 2024 17 min read

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    Seeking to enhance your Toyota Tacoma with practical and stylish accessories? You're in the right place. Say goodbye to stock standard and hello to a Tacoma that suits your adventurous spirit and daily needs. Our guide dives into essential accessories that promise to improve performance, convenience, and curb appeal—from protective skid plates and robust suspension kits to sleek storage solutions and smart interior modifications—the best accessories for Toyota Tacoma await to transform your ride.

    Key Takeaways

    • Aftermarket accessories can significantly enhance both the aesthetic appeal and the functionality of the Toyota Tacoma, with options available for different models including 1st gen through 4th gen Tacoma trucks.
    • Upgrades span across different product categories designed for different purposes. Front and rear bumpers, skid plates, and rock sliders maximize protection. Suspension systems including upper control arms and coilovers enhance performance especially off-road.
    • The interior comfort and functionality can also be improved with accessories like dash mounts and seat covers, while upgraded lighting options like LEDs and light bars can increase visibility and safety.

    Brief Overview of the Toyota Tacoma - a Versatile and Capable Truck

    The Toyota Tacoma stands as a testament to Toyota’s legacy of reliability. Fresh from the showroom, these trucks are ready for adventure, especially the newer models equipped with robust off-road features.

    Even though the Tacoma is super capable in stock form, adding accessories to my Tacoma has enabled me to tackle more challenging terrain and has made it more enjoyable to drive.

    But stock sucks, doesn't it? Whether it’s a desire for enhanced capabilities or interior convenience, there’s always room for customization. And don’t worry, while this article is more catered to 3rd and 4th gen Tacoma owners, many of the accessories we’re diving into are available for pre-2016 Tacoma models.

    Tacoma Accessories Can Enhance Performance, Functionality, and Style

    Who doesn’t want their Tacoma to turn heads while tearing up the trails? The latest Tacoma models exude style, but the right accessories can amplify this even further, giving your truck a personalized edge that stands out from the crowd. These enhancements are not just about looks; they’re about adding real, functional value.

    When it comes to boosting performance, suspension systems, and aftermarket shocks pave the way for your transformation, making it possible to command even the most challenging terrain. And the best part? The plethora of bolt-on Tacoma accessories means you can tailor your truck to your exact needs without extensive modifications.

    Exterior Tacoma Accessories

    Elevating your Tacoma’s exterior isn’t just about aesthetics—it’s about expanding its capabilities. The Tacoma is a smaller truck, so things like roof racks and bed racks can be game changers in terms of carrying capability and storage options.

    Other accessories such as front and rear bumpers provide an enhanced aesthetic appeal, but the more important aspect that many fail to realize is they provide necessary protection and can also add functionality with integrated winch mounts and light mounts.

    Let's take a closer look at the many exterior accessories designed to lift your Tacoma to new heights.

    Roof Racks

    Roof racks have grown in popularity and that is for good reason. A roof rack is an excellent option for stashing gear, mounting accessories, or mounting a roof top tent. A Tacoma roof rack can also give you the ability to mount an awning - perfect for those hot sunny days or torrential downpours when you need cover.

    Tacoma Roof Rack

    We cannot forget about some of the other features afforded by a drill-free Tacoma roof rack. Lighting...couldn't we all use a bit more lighting, especially on those late-night drives down backroads or even better, those sketchy roads carved into the side of a mountain. Many Tacoma roof racks come with different wind deflectors with the ability to mount light bars that range in size. Additionally, most offer the ability to mount accessory lights on the sides (perfect for the campsite) and rear of the rack. Lighting mounted to your roof rack can turn your Tacoma into a 360-degree light which we have all desired while setting up camp in the dark.

    With the popularity of Tacoma roof racks come many options and it can be a bit challenging to figure out which rack to choose. This is even true for us who have in-depth knowledge of all the products we sell. Don't worry, we have developed an all-inclusive guide to help you find exactly what Tacoma roof rack will fit your lifestyle best.

    Bed Racks

    In terms of your Tacoma’s bed, bed racks can be a complete game-changer. They come in various heights and designs from full-height bed racks that will clear the roof line on your Tacoma to low-profile bed bars which just sit up a few inches about the bed rail. Regardless of what you are thinking about going with, adding a bed rack or bed bars provides the perfect platform for mounting a roof top tent and other accessories such as shovels and/or fuel and water containers.

    Tacoma Bed Rack
    It is crucial to know what your needs are and what accessories are must-haves when it comes to deciding on a bed rack. Different manufacturers offer exclusive accessories and one bed rack design might fit your needs better than another.

    Even though nearly all Tacoma bed racks can accommodate a tent, not all bed racks are made equal. In fact, one of the great benefits of a bed rack is the bed rack accessories that are designed to be used in conjunction with the bed rack itself. Bed rack accessories such as the Leitner Designs GearPOD can add much-needed secure storage. Further, accessories such as RotoPaX mounts or MAXTARX mounts also might be items you will want to consider when choosing a bed rack.

    You aren't out of the woods yet, we still haven't mentioned arguably the most crucial thing to decide on when shopping for a bed rack...

    That is, how the bed rack operates and the unique features of each bed rack. In short, some bed racks are superior to others. The catch here though is features are user-specific so it'll be up to you to decide on what is best. We will leave you with a couple of thoughts to get you thinking...

    Leitner Designs offers the most modular and customizable Tacoma bed rack on the market with a slew of accessories allowing you to tailor your setup to fit your lifestyle. They also are the only ones with a sliding rear load bar allowing you to fit larger items in the bed while keeping the bed rack installed.

    The bed racks from Xtrusion Overland are also super modular and have some unique features such as slide-outs that might suit your specific needs.

    Skid Plates

    Skid plates are often one of the most overlooked items on the Tacoma and something that can really prevent some catastrophic damage. Skid plates are available from front to back for the Tacoma and cover items susceptible to damage such as your oil pan, transfer case, fuel tank, rear differential, lower control arms, and more.

    Tacoma skid plates are bolt-on and come in both steel and aluminum. Both materials have their advantages.

    Tacoma Skid Plates

    Tacoma skid plates also include oil drain ports and filter access points enabling you to keep the skid plates on 100 percent of the time not needing to remove them when it is time for an oil change. Quality brands like C4 Fabrication, RCI Offroad, CBI Offroad, Talon's Garage, and more all offer excellent Tacoma skid plates that could save your day.

    Rock Sliders

    Like skid plates, rock sliders tend to be another overlooked Tacoma accessory and we aren't quite sure why. This is especially true for those who might find themselves up against or coming in contact with rocks and/or ruts. But then again, even a pavement queen might want some rock sliders since many have a built-in step allowing easy entry and exit to the Tacoma.

    A step in and out of your vehicle is not the primary purpose of a rock slider and quite honestly not really why people buy them. The principal reason why Tacoma rock sliders are an investment that could pay for themselves tenfold is the protection they offer. Tacoma sliders cover the rocker panel and deter rocks and ruts found on the trail.

    Tacoma Rock Sliders

    That is not all they do though...

    Tacoma rock sliders also can act as an excellent Hi-Lift Jack point. This is precisely because all the Tacoma rock sliders we offer are frame-mounted with nearly all of them being able to support the weight of the vehicle. This is reassuring for those who run 35s and don't want to carry a bulky floor jack around.

    Front Bumpers and Rear Bumpers

    Front and rear bumpers can maximize protection and safety, but they can also enhance the functionality of your Tacoma greatly. Like some of the other Tacoma products we have discussed front and rear bumpers come in many different styles and have features that might suit your specific needs better.

    Front bumpers come in a few main styles. Full-size bumpers that maximize protection and extend from side to side. Full-size bumpers usually are a 100% plate design and tend to weigh a bit more than the other styles. Hybrid bumpers are another option that usually feature a tube and plate design and tend to weigh slightly less than a full-size bumper. Hybrid designs offer good protection and usually extend from side to side. However, the hybrid design tends to not offer as much protection in front of the tires due to the tube design. The third main style of front bumper for the Tacoma is stubby type bumpers often known as Covert Bumpers or Lo-Pro bumpers that do not extend out to each side and only provide protection for the middle section of the Tacoma.

    Tacoma Front Bumper

    Regardless of the style of the front bumper, you go with, you can be confident that it will provide more protection and better functionality than stock thanks to the integrated winch mounts and accessory lighting options each provides.

    Tacoma rear bumpers also offer numerous benefits over stock bumpers such as better protection, enhanced clearance, and added functionality. Similar to Tacoma front bumpers, Tacoma rear bumpers come in different configurations. Some of the most popular options include Tacoma rear bumpers with dual swing outs and options with single swing outs. These swing-outs are perfect for mounting oversized spare tires and attaching accessories such as dual Jerry Can holders. If swing-outs aren't your cup of tea, there are plenty of more standard bumper options that provide numerous benefits over stock.

    Tacoma Rear Bumper

    Tonneau Covers

    A Tacoma tonneau cover can safeguard items in your bed from the elements and theft making it an excellent upgrade that won't break the bank and could pay for itself. Tonneau covers historically haven't been too exciting, but in recent years we have been super impressed with them. You cannot go wrong with a tri-fold BAKFlip MX4, but if you are looking for something with added features, the RETRAX powdered tonneau covers might be something worth considering. After all, think about how nice it would be to click a button and have the tonneau cover fully open or close.

    Tacoma Tonneau Cover

    Tonneau covers did not work with bed racks, and it was often very difficult to add any sort of bed accessories when you had your tonneau cover installed.

    That has all changed and there are now bed racks that can be used alongside a tonneau cover and there are also tonneau covers that have rails on top allowing you to easily attach accessories.

    I always wanted the functionality of a bed rack on my Tacoma with the added security of a tonneau cover. I now run the Leitner Designs ACS FORGED with the Retrax XR series tonneau cover and have been extremely impressed.

    Even with the rise in more functional tonneau covers, you still might have questions about materials, how they function, and what specific tonneau covers will fit your lifestyle and environment best.

    Roof Top Tents

    Roof top tents are not vehicle-specific by any means, but it is worth noting that not all roof top tents will work on a Tacoma and there are special considerations that need to be considered. Roof top tents mount to a roof rack or bed rack and offer a comfortable and convenient place to sleep. Forget pulling a trailer around, you can access awesome locations and camp wherever you park it.

    Tacoma Roof Top Tent

    Roof top tents come in different shapes, and sizes, and can accommodate different amounts of people. You first need to decide what sort of design and what other features are important to you. Once you have narrowed that down you then need to consider the closed dimensions of the tent and your specific mounting platform to ensure that it will work without issue. On a Tacoma, it is most common to mount a roof top tent to a bed rack or bed bars. With this approach, you might be limited in the total length of the tent if your bed rack doesn't clear the roof of your Tacoma. You can always hang the tent off the back of the Tacoma, but we aren't fans of that and you shouldn't be either. In addition, since the Tacoma is more narrow than say a full-size truck the width of the tent becomes an issue. Measure twice and order once.

    Bed Accessories

    The bed of your Tacoma is prime real estate for customization. This is especially true since the Tacoma has the OEM bed rail system which makes attaching accessories seamless. Some popular bed rail accessories include molle panels for the front and sides of the bed, recovery board holders, whip mounts, bed stiffeners, and more. The Tacoma bed rail accessories are vast and wide-ranging.

    Tacoma Bed Accessories

    Tacoma Suspension Accessories

    The exterior accessories we have looked at are great, but without a suspension system that can tackle tougher terrain, you won't get the best use out of many of those Tacoma accessories. Fortunately, the options for Tacoma suspension are vast, but that can be overwhelming. From lift kits to full long travel kits, there is something designed for your Tacoma and your specific needs. Let's explore the different options.

    Tacoma Suspension

    Shocks

    The quickest way to get your Tacoma trail-ready is to install aftermarket bolt-on coilovers. Coilovers from the likes of King, Fox, ICON, and others feature much stronger components and heavier-duty parts than stock. They also happen to raise the Tacoma 2-3 inches alleviating the need to install a lift kit which often changes geometry and won't perform as well as aftermarket coilovers.

    Tacoma Shocks

    Tacoma coilovers are designed to bolt into factory locations but do require you to also install an aftermarket upper control arm. This shouldn't be considered a big deal though because if you are going to bolster your suspension with a coilover, you also will also want an upper control arm that can keep up. See the next section for more on aftermarket coilovers.

    In addition to higher-quality components, many Tacoma coilovers come with an external reservoir. This allows the shocks to have an increased oil capacity which means cooler running shocks. In line with the better components, come thicker and stronger shafts. All of this translates into better performing shocks that can handle tough trails, and get you to those desired locations in one piece.

    Upper Control Arms

    Upper control arms are a must-have for those adding aftermarket coilovers. This is because aftermarket upper control arms allow you to keep the proper suspension geometry when adding coilovers.

    Tacoma Upper Control Arms

    It is also true that upper control arms come with much heavier duty components as compared to the stock Tacoma upper control arms. Uniballs and greaseable pivots are just a couple of the benefits of allowing your suspension to function optimally.

    It is also worth noting that upper control arms from Dirt King, Camburg, ICON, and others are also much stronger than stock allowing your suspension to take on tougher terrain without worry. Our in-depth guide on Tacoma upper control arms will provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision.

    Lower Control Arms

    Lower control arms are not nearly as popular as upper control arms when it comes to upgrades but in recent years they have become more popular. This is because stock lower control arms are exposed and susceptible to damage. While lower control arms don't offer a ton of additional performance gains what they do provide is added strength which can make the difference between getting back home in one piece versus being stuck on the trail.

    Tacoma Lower Control Arms

    In addition to added strength, products like Dirt King's Performance Lower Control Arms come with an integrated skid plate which helps deflect rocks and ruts often present on the trail. While we don't think it makes sense for everybody to jump right into a set of aftermarket lower control arms, we do think they should be considered for those who tackle tougher trails or those who have compromised or damaged their stock lower control arms.

    Lift Kits

    A lift kit is perfect for those wanting to add lift to their Tacoma or want the ability to run larger tires. While a Tacoma lift kit will not afford you a ton of performance gains with the exception of better clearance, they can be a great option for those looking for a specific look.

    Tacoma Lift Kits

    Lift kits from the Tacoma range from a couple of inches upward of 6-8 inches. Added height provides the ability to mount larger tires, but can put wear on components so it is crucial to understand the benefits and potential drawbacks with Tacoma lift kits.

    Performance Mid Travel and Long Travel Suspension Systems

    For those looking to increase their Tacoma's capability the most and give it the best performance, a suspension system or long travel kit is a must-have. These kits will improve the overall looks of your Tacoma, but more importantly, they will maximize the Tacoma's performance and capability.

    Let's be clear, these kits are not for everybody and they do tend to be on the more expensive side. Regardless, if you want your Toyota Tacoma pickup to have the most wheel travel, take on the deepest whoops, and more than a mid-travel or long-travel kit is probably in your best interest.

    Tacoma Long Travel

    Long travel kits come with shocks, upper control arms, lower control arms, steering upgrades, and in some cases spindles. Mid-travel kits often come with the same, but will not usually come with a spindle or lower control arms. Another consideration is the total width. Most long travel kits come 2-3 inches wider per side while mid-travel kits are usually stock width.

    Tacoma Interior Accessories

    The Tacoma exterior mods and suspension upgrades are great, but like most drivers, you probably spend most of the time in the cab of your Tacoma. With that being said let's dive into some of the interior upgrades available for the Tacoma designed to increase organization and functionality.

    Dash Mounts

    We can all agree that fumbling around for your phone or tablet while driving is not safe and quite frustrating. It is also frustrating to look down at your GPS taking your eyes off the road. Tacoma dash mounts are your solution for mounting phones, tablets, GPS devices, CB mics, and more.

    Tacoma Dash Mount

    A Tacoma dash mount installs right to the dash on your Tacoma and enables you to mount your devices in plain sight. In addition, multiple accessories will work with most Tacoma dash mounts and some even come with charging ports allowing you to keep your devices charged on the go.

    Floor Mats

    Floor mats can be a great first investment, especially for new Tacoma owners. Let's be honest, after buying a new Tacoma and finding a mud stain on the floor you might be a bit upset. That is where floor mats come in. Yes, most new vehicles come with floor mats, but you are not out of the woods yet. Some of those floor mats lack coverage and don't provide the barrier you might desire.

    Tacoma Floor Mats

    Luckily floor mats are affordable and will last the life of the vehicle so it is not something that will need to be bought multiple times. Options are available for the front and rear of the Tacoma and will fit in all the cracks and crevices to ensure nothing penetrates through.

    Seat Covers

    Your Tacoma seats are another target for stains, mud, dirt, etc. You never know what you might have sat in prior to jumping in the Tacoma. Tacoma seat covers can give you peace of mind knowing that no matter how dirty you are, the seats will stay clean thanks to the barrier provided by a seat cover.

    Tacoma Seat Covers

    Todays seat covers are also nothing like those of decades ago. Tacoma seat covers today are precision fit meaning you won't have to deal with any excess material and you might not even notice them.

    Tacoma Lighting

    Two headlights and two tail lights used to be enough. However, with the surge in offroad driving especially at night or in dusty environments, more is to be desired in the form of lighting. Luckily there are a slew of options for the Tacoma ranging from fog light replacement kits to full light bars.

    Whether you need more lighting around the campsite or need to maximize visibility 100 yards ahead there is something for you. Explore all the Tacoma lighting options available below.

    Headlights

    Today's headlights are nice and provide usable lighting as compared to the headlights offered on some of the earlier Tacomas. Added daytime running lights also come standard on some of the newer Tacoma models and we cannot fail to mention the fact that LED lights are not commonplace on almost all new vehicles including the Tacoma.

    Tacoma Headlights

    Even though headlights from the factory impress, some desire headlights for their Tacoma that have a better appeal, more style, and added features. For those reasons, you might want to consider aftermarket headlights for your Tacoma. Not only will they be packed with added features such as amber LED daytime running lights, but they will also be substantially brighter than stock and provide a more usable beam pattern.

    With that being said, you might still have questions about the specific benefits and if the price for aftermarket headlights is justifiable.

    Tail Lights

    Similar to headlights, Tacoma tail lights have come a long way in recent years, but stock tail lights still have not caught up to some of the premier offerings from brands like FORM Lights, AlphaRex, Morimoto, and others.

    Tacoma Tail Lights

    Aftermarket tail lights are brighter with many having startup sequences giving your Tacoma a customized look. The brightness enhances your safety and is especially important for those who travel with others on dusty roads or those who find themselves driving in foggy environments.

    If you decide to go with new headlights you are likely to find a set of tail lights that matches to enhance the overall appearance of your Tacoma.

    Light Bars

    Light bars are designed to provide maximum lighting in a low-profile housing that can be mounted within front bumpers, roof racks, and more. There are a wide range of sizes available ranging from a few inches to 50+ inches. However, the most common sizes for a Tacoma is 20-30 inches inside the front bumper and 30-40 inches on a roof rack. Regardless of where you decide to mount a light bar on your Tacoma you can be certain that the light output will be impressive.

    Tacoma Light Bar

    Light bars are not meant to be used on the street and in many states it is actually against the law. This does not prevent you from mounting one on your Tacoma and using it offroad. After all a light bar is much more usable off-road especially when driving at night.

    Since a light bar cannot be mounted to factory locations on your Tacoma it is crucial to understand what products you are adding to your Tacoma and what light bars will work with those products before ordering as some products work with certain brands or styles of light bar.

    Fog Lights

    Your Tacoma should have come with fog lights from the factory, but adding aftermarket fog lights is an easy upgrade that can provide better lighting including optional amber lights that will cut through fog and dust better than traditional lights. The great thing about Tacoma fog lights is that they are designed to fit into your factory bumper and provide much better and more usable light as compared to your stock fog lights.

    Tacoma Fog Lights

    Don't have a factory bumper? No problem, most aftermarket bumpers come with integrated spots for fog lights. As mentioned fog lights provide enhanced lighting and can also give your Tacoma a more appealing look. We cannot forget to mention that many of the fog lights available for the Tacoma are SAE compliant meaning they can be used on the road.

    Summary

    From exterior accessories designed to protect your Tacoma to interior products that enhance comfort and organization, there is something for just about every Tacoma owner. Whether you find yourself going from home to work or find yourself tackling challenging trails on the weekend, Toyota Tacoma accessories can dramatically increase your vehicle's capability making for a better overall experience.

    Truck Brigade is proud to be your go-to shop for everything Tacoma with the largest selection of personally curated products and accessories from the top brands in the industry. We also staff a team of experts who use these products on a daily basis ready to help you take your Tacoma to a whole new level

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What should you upgrade on your Tacoma?

    There are tons of accessories for the Tacoma ranging from floor liners to full skid plate packages. These upgrades all serve a purpose so what upgrades you should go with depends on how you plan to use your Tacoma and what features you desire.

    Can I install Tacoma accessories myself?

    Most Tacoma accessories can be easily installed with basic hand tools by yourself. Some larger accessories such as bumpers require multiple people and accessories that require drilling or minor customization are recommended to be left for a shop to install.

    What is the best Tacoma year to buy?

    Fortunately, all Tacomas have been ultra reliable so not one year is more reliable than another. More recent Tacomas have enhanced technology features and 3rd and 4th gen Tacoma have the largest selection of accessories.

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