Several months back whilst it was still winter outside the wife drove us three-hours south down to Calgary, Alberta as a gesture of good will, as I wanted to view a couple Toyota Tacoma’s at a couple of Toyota dealerships. In the end, I bought a 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport with 64,000 kilometres (39,700 miles). The truck was stock without any modifications.
Whilst driving it around these past couple of months, I’ve been intentionally looking out for other 3rd generation Tacoma’s to observe what modifications they had installed on their trucks and to start making a list of what I liked and disliked.
Then one afternoon I was talking to a buddy of mine who says “Hey Now that you have a Tacoma would you like an old tri-fold Tonneau cover? We used to have it on our Tacoma before we bought the canopy.” After that conversation, I stopped by picked up the cover and installed it onto the truck. Personally I really enjoy the way it looks and I really dislike that its in the way whenever I want to use the bed of the truck. Its a love-hate relationship.
During my observation period I spotted the following Tacoma modifications on other local trucks;
- Skid plates
- Rims / wheels
- Roof top tent
- Off-road tires
- Tonneau cover
- Remote starter
- Roof top basket
- Truck bed rack system
- Front bumper with winch
- Light bar / additional lights
- Rock sliders / running boards
During the observation period I put together a short list of modifications which would increase the look of my truck without too much efforts and would make me feel better when traveling in the backcountry as well as along forestry roads when we go camping or hiking in the nearby Canadian Rocky Mountains.
- Remote starter – because here in Canada winter’s are cruel when its -33C (-27F)
- Rock rails – because they are simple and make a truck look nice
- Full skid plates – to ensure you don’t do any damage to the underbelly of the truck whilst backcountry
A couple of days ago, I headed into the local 4×4 shop near my house to take a look at slimline hybrid front bumpers and compatible winches. The guy at the desk was helpful in explaining the differences between brands: Warn and Smitty Bilt, as well as that their shop has a “special warranty” on Smitty Bilt winches where you can purchase a $50 warranty and it covers the winch for 36-months and doesn’t matter what the reason is, why it breaks, they replace it for free. AND if you would like to, you can re-purchase the insurance on the winch.
When I returned to the Tacoma the parking lot was full of guys who also drove Tacomas. There was a stock orange TRD Off-road in front of the shop and sitting beside mine a fully modified TRD Off-road. I laughed and took the photo. Stock vs Modified.
Later that evening, whilst I was creeping on a forum called TacomaWorld.com I decided enough was enough and signed up. Then tossed up my first post on the forum and immediately received a few responses about people just saying “hello” and “welcome to the forum”.
Then it started… people actually started commenting on the thread I had posted. My questions being (1) What is the best first modification? (2) Recommendations on local Canadian distributors of aftermarket parts? (3) Recommendations on local Alberta 4×4 shops to talk to for installations?
The responses poured in from other forum members:
- Best first modification: Rock rails (8 votes) , Skid plates (3-votes), Front bumper (1-vote)
- Canadian distributor: Greenlane Off-road, KRave automotive
- Local shops: 4Wheel Parts, Raven Accessories, Brownie’s Garage
The best advice received came from a local friend who owns a small garage that specializes in outlandish builds, restorations and modifications of anything with a motor in it… “It doesn’t matter what you purchase first or last for that matter. What matters most is that you thoroughly enjoy using the modification to your vehicle to the best of its abilities. Because enjoyment my friend is the key to all of the world’s greatest pleasures!”
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