Stock trucks that directly came from the manufacturer are good on their own. However, the desire for vehicle upgrades and improvements are not unusual for car enthusiasts, especially if this is something you’ve thought about ever since you got hold of the keys to your truck.
These upgrades can range from minor customizations to large-scale modifications. For instance, setting up a reverse camera or installing new tires can make driving easier and smoother. Additionally, upgrading to turbochargers to get more out of your diesel performance parts is another excellent investment. These upgrades can come with a hefty price tag, but it’s worth every penny if it means making your truck better in many aspects.
Regardless if you’re doing it as an act of self-love or boosting your truck’s performance and capability to take on rough roads, there’s a myriad of ways you can amp your ride out there. Below is a visual guide that illustrates the different upgrades you can do to your truck to make it stand out from the crowd.
Wheels and Tires
Car enthusiasts, especially off-road ones, know very well the value of upgrading their stock tires and wheels to heavy-duty ones. Both tire and wheel upgrades can either enhance your car’s performance or make them more responsive to different road conditions than what the original equipment wheels and tires provide.
Your tires are what directly connect your vehicle to the ground or trails you’re traversing, which makes it an essential aspect of your truck. However, it’s also the part that often gets overlooked. Stock tires are suitable for everyday use and all, but if you’re taking your truck on adventures that involve long drives on rough terrain, you’ll need better tires for a smooth-sailing ride.
For starters, off-road tires provide better grip on the asphalt and rough trails while giving you a steady ride. Beefier lug treads provide enough utility for daily trips and offer enough support when running on sand, gravel, mud, and rocky terrains.
When it comes to wheels, you must know the right fit to measure for looks and performance. You need to determine your wheel diameter, the width of your tires and its aspect ratio, bolt pattern and lug hole compatibility, weight, and whether you want minus sizing or plus sizing.
Steel wheels, although slightly heavier than alloy wheels, provide heavy-duty durability. This wheel type is less prone to chipping or breakage due to minor impacts. Its construction is also uniform and symmetrical, which prevents cases of wobbling. Moreover, steel wheels are less porous compared to aluminum wheels, which means they perform better against dirt, sand, and brake depletion.
Upgrading your suspension components can be risky when you’re dealing with a vehicle that you drive every day. This alone can affect your vehicle’s ride quality for better or worse. The suspension is a vital part of your truck’s overall performance as it is designed to soften and absorb the impact from uncomfortable or hazardous road conditions.
The key to installing suspensions that are going to give you an amazingly smooth ride is to go for a package that improves the chassis, springs, and ride control elements of the vehicle altogether. You can make modifications piece-by-piece, but this can be more challenging in the end.
Upgrading your truck with an air suspension is an excellent option for drivers since it provides more comfort by reducing noise, vibration, and stiffness when it comes to the vehicle’s ride performance.
The adjustment made to lessen the vibrations also means it’s easier on the components of the truck, which can help make it last longer. All this with an added benefit of raising and lowering the body of your truck. Something like a Pacbrake Air Springs and Air Bag Suspension can provide what you need if you’re driving a Ford F-250 or F-230.
For more consistency and reliability with added traction control, especially on high-speed drives, a coil spring suspension system is the better option. This provides drivers better control of the vehicle, which makes it ideal for off-road racing and motorsport activities. Since this type of suspension has a linear spring rate, it can work on any ride from a 4×4 to a cement truck.
The brakes are the most critical safety feature of any vehicle, for it enables a moving car or truck to stop when necessary. There are two kinds of brakes in automobiles: disc brakes and drum brakes. A large part of a vehicle’s stopping power is attributed to the front wheel brakes. You should know that both systems use friction and heat to stop a vehicle.
Earlier braking technology primarily used a drum system at all four wheels. It’s called drum brakes because the elements are contained in a round drum that rotated along with the wheels. When the brake pedal is pressed, the brake shoes will be forced against the drum and slow down the vehicle.
The downside to drum brakes is that it has the potential to collect water inside during rain or when driving over puddles. However, it’s easy and cheap to repair. Also, many trucks still have rear drum brakes.
On the other hand, disc brakes have a disc-shaped metal rotor rotating within the wheel. When the brake pedal is pressed, a caliper will push brake pads against the disc, which will then slow the wheel down and put it to a stop as more pressure is applied.
The good thing about disc brakes is they’re self-adjusting, which puts the vehicle to a stop more efficiently. Also, you can find a variety of disc brake pads for those who want to shift from drum brakes — something like a Rear Disc Brake Conversion Kit for your Ford truck. Keep in mind that whichever brake system you choose, both types work well in putting your truck to a stop.
Upgrading to a turbocharger is one way to breathe new life into your pickup truck. These pairs of turbines boost your truck’s horsepower and at the same time, get the best out of your engine.
Customizing this element of your truck with a performance turbocharger means forcing higher volumes of air (five to ten times more) into your engine’s combustion system while saving up a decent amount of your fuel. Thus, it gives more power compared to a stock engine. Additionally, turbocharged vehicles tend to burn fuel thoroughly and cleanly with oxygen, producing less air pollution.
There are different types of turbochargers utilized in the automotive industry. These are single-turbo, twin-turbo, twin-scroll turbo, variable geometry turbo, variable twin-scroll turbo, and electric turbo.
Installing a twin-turbo means adding a second turbocharger to your truck’s engine. You can upgrade and assign a single turbo to work with the cylinder bank, or you can use a small turbo along with a larger one for higher revolutions per minute (RPM). This is ideal if you aim to increase your truck’s efficiency and performance while compressing the fuel intake and keeping the exhaust gas temperatures (EGT) low.
Fender Flares and Trim
One of the best truck accessories you can dress your ride with to add style (and function) are fender flares and trim. These parts can be installed just above the wheel and serve as protection from dirt, mud, and small debris. To put it simply, fender flares and trim act as the barrier between your truck’s body and anything that can be kicked up from the ground when you’re on the road.
Fender flares are usually used for trucks with large tire sizes and owners who like to match the performance of their off-road truck with the exterior aesthetics.
Pocket-style fender flares like the Bushwacker are the most popular out of all the types of fender flares. This type is a common choice for owners who prefer to go DIY since the flares are easy to install and can fit the existing factory holes. It can also withstand both cold and warm temperatures, meaning they won’t easily crack. Additionally, these can be repainted to the color of your choice.
Fender trims don’t provide that much coverage compared to fender flares, but they can still elevate the trim line of a truck. Protection-wise, fender trims can still keep parts of your vehicle safe from weathering and stone chips. Moreover, it can provide a stylish finish with an extra sheen around the four wheels. Fender trims are customized according to the original curves of the fenders on the truck.
Stand Out with a Better-Looking and More Powerful Truck
Giving your truck some love and a little personality is always a good idea. One way or another, you’ll think about modifying your truck to the point where it no longer looks exactly like the model that rolled out on the showroom floor.
As long as you know what you (and your vehicle) need and you have the means, truck modifications can bring the best performance, functionality, comfort, and aesthetics out of your ride. Take your truck out for an upgrade, and you’ll never see it the same way again. It sure is an investment that’s worth the cost.