The Top 10 Things that SHOULD have come standard on your Tacoma.

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There are some things that seem like a no brainer.

 

Like parts that should come standard on any truck.  A lot of truck companies try to woo you with fancy options, like a 7 function tailgate that folds over on itself in a perfect right angle for better sitting performance or some crap.  Or laser radio receivers with High Def 3D Immersive Audio, whatever the hell that is.  You know what they should concentrate on?  Putting things in the truck that make it a better truck.  Especially when most of these should be standard items are low cost to boot. While a lot of these could be applied to every truck, there are a couple things here that are Tacoma specific.  So here’s the top ten things Toyota should have shipped standard with every Tacoma.

 #10 – LED LIGHTS

 

In this modern world of lighting, there’s no reason to still be relying on conventional incandescent bulbs.  Honestly, there’s no reason for LEDs to be an aftermarket upgrade.  LEDs should be standard in every vehicle.  The Tacoma is a perfect example of this.  While the interior is very nice indeed, the conventional lights are a bit on the dim side, as well as the backup and license plate lights.  Upgrade them all to LEDs that are more reliable, will last as long as the truck, and consume less power, so what’s the downside?  Upgrade all the standard bulbs to LED lights with one convenient package.  It will replace your vanity, license plate, dome, overhead and reverse lights.  All for less than $30?  As Tom famously said in Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, “It’s a deal, it’s a steal, it’s the sale of the ******* century.”

Get your LED Light Kit from Amazon here:Check it Auto LED Lights for 2016+ Toyota Tacoma Interior Reverse Package Kit White 11pc

 #9 – CENTER CONSOLE ORGANIZER(S)

The center console of the 2016+ Tacoma’s is a rather large and deep space, perfect for storing lots of stuff.  Flashlights, 550 cord, Leatherman, gum, change, etc.  All the stuff you don’t have a place for, you toss in the center console.  Problem is, once you start piling stuff on top of stuff, that stuff on the top quickly smothers the stuff on the bottom.  So your precious Leatherman is lost and forgotten.  That handy flashlight you needed on a rainy night on the side of the road in Vermont?  Yep, buried and forgotten as well.  The solution?  A center console divider/organizer.  This is where Vehicle OCD comes in.  They have a line of products designed to help you stay organized.

Get the Vehicle OCD Center Console Oraginizer from Amazon here: Vehicle OCD - Center Console Organizer for Toyota Tacoma (2016-2020) - Made in USA

And while you’re at it, one more layer of organization couldn’t hurt, so check out these additional organizers for the top of the center console.

Products from Amazon.com

By the way, there’s a Chinese company ripping off Vehicle OCD’s designs, JDMCAR.  Avoid them and support an American company.

#8 – GLOVE BOX ORGANIZER

In the same vein as the center console organizer, the glove box could use a little love too.  It does come with a split shelf, which is ok, but once you start throwing all your random crap in there, you’re going to wish you had more compartments.  Vehicle OCD makes it’s second appearance on this list with it’s Glove Box Organizer.  It separates the compartment into five, with two large compartments on the top, and three smaller on the bottom.  This was one of the first things I bought for my Tacoma, and I’m glad I did.  Of course, two compartments got taken over immediately by the wife for wet wipes and a hair brush, but at least “her” compartments are neat and organized…

Get the Vehicle OCD Glove Box Organizer from Amazon here: Vehicle OCD - Glove Box Organizer for Toyota Tacoma (2016-2020) - Made in USA

 

#7 – POP AND LOCK TAILGATE

It’s amazing that Toyota overlooked this one.  You have so many options on how the locks operate on your truck, from front doors unlocking only, to all doors unlocking, when they lock, when they unlock; it’s amazing how many options you have.  Except one.  They give you your key fob with a hidden key in it, and say, “Oh yeah, if you want to lock your tailgate, use this tiny dinky little key that feels like it’s going to snap in half as soon as you use it.”  Huh?  Why don’t we have tailgate locking options too?  What about those owners that have caps, and would like the tailgate to lock so they can secure their stuff?  Well, you guys are poop outta luck.  Until you install the Pop and Lock Tailgate.  The handy dandy little device simply locks your tailgate when you lock all the doors.  That’s it.  It serves one purpose in life, and it does a great job at it.

It does take some mechanical know how to get it installed, if you are so inclined, great, but otherwise, maybe get your local mechanic to do it for you.  You’d be amazed at what you can get done with a bribe of a twelve pack of his favorite craft beer…  The kit listed here is for a Tundra, but I can attest, it DOES work for a 2016+ Tacoma.  Just ask this guy over at Tacomaworld.com that did it.  His instructions aren’t the best, but you can see it’s been done before.

Get the Pop & Lock Tailgate Kit from Amazon here:Pop & Lock PL8535 Power Tailgate Lock for Toyota Tundra

 

#6 – RADIO KNOB BANDS

I’m not going to mince words or try to sugar coat it.  The stock radio knobs in the Tacoma are awful.  Truly garbage.  I suggest you do what I did.  Toss ’em in the trash and 3D Print yourself some better ones.  I printed these from thingiverse.com and never looked back.  Tons of grip, and they look badass.  Get the Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer and not only print out cool stuff for your truck, but maybe some toys for kids, and a bracelet for the wife.  Yep, new radio knobs TOTALLY justifies the $700 expense of a 3D Printer. 

FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro, Metal Frame Structure, Acrylic Covers, Optimized Build Platform, Dual Extruder W/2 Spools, Works with ABS and PLA

Ok ok.  Maybe that’s not going to get by the wife (Or husband, who knows…)  If that’s the case and you want to keep it more budget-friendly, here’s a good solution that is cheap, easy, and turns those garbage radio knobs functional, and they can look cool too…  Simply get some of those silicone workout wedding rings and slip two of them over the knobs.  

Products from Amazon.com

 

THE TOP FIVE…THE ONES YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR…

#5 – SIDE STEP RAILS

Whether it’s because your wife is in need of a step up into the truck (ahem…or you, if you’re challenged in the Z Axis category…), or you simply need a place to knock the mud off before you get in, Side Step Rails really should be on every truck.  If you don’t need them, you simply ignore them, but for your passengers that DO need them, they’ll appreciate that they’re there.  Now, for those of you with lifted trucks, it may be the case that everyone getting into the truck will need a step up, including us tall folks.  If that’s the case, you have no excuse.  It’s either carry a stepladder around with you everywhere, of get some side steps.

But above all else, the numero uno reason to have side steps is…Shopping cart protection.  Yep, we all use our trucks to go get groceries, whether it’s to bring home dinner for the family that night on the way home from work, or stock up on canned goods for a trip across the Alaskan wilderness.  And there’s always some nefarious shopping carts waiting to cruise across the parking lot and ding your truck.  Whether pushed by the emo teenager that could give two rat’s behinds about your truck, a gust of wind that pushed it in your direction, rather than the 1994 Nissan that’s already got so many dents no one would notice, or Dude Perfect shooting another Real Life Trick Shots video, a cart will eventually hit your truck.  If it happens to aim for the side of it, you’d much rather have the side rails to protect the paint.

Get your Side Rails from Amazon here:

Products from Amazon.com

#4 – HOOD STRUTS

It’s 2019 as of this writing.  I can’t think of a vehicle I’ve owned or ridden in since about 2003 (Ok, that 1968 Chevelle my buddy owned doesn’t count) that didn’t have hood struts.  You know, those fancy piston things that keep the hood up?  I get cutting costs, but a pair of hood struts?  Really?  I damn near killed myself when I lifted the hood for the first time, expecting it to stay up.  I don’t have much else to say on this matter.  They should have been included from the get go, and you should install them.  Or have someone else install them.  Just get it done.

Redline Tuning 21-27015-02 Hood QuickLIFT PLUS System (All Black Components, 4 year warranty) Compatible for Toyota Tacoma 2016+

#3 – BETTER FLOOR MATS

If you’re a master negotiator, and you wheeled and dealed your way into better floor mats, even the best stock floor mats are still awful.  For the most bang for your buck in floor protection, you need to go aftermarket.  And there’s none better than Weathertech floor mats.  Not only do they protect the carpet, the also have nice high sides that capture water, mud, spilled milkshakes, fries, lost wedding rings, and anything else your shoes, yourself or your kids can drop onto them.  And to clean them, simply take ’em out, dump ’em and hose ’em off.  Done.  

Husky Liners 53741 Black Floor Liners - Front Fits 2016-17 Toyota Tacoma Access Double Cab

#2 – USB PORTS IN THE REAR SEAT

When you actually realize it, you find out your Tacoma has thirteen cup holders.  THIRTEEN.  And then you realize that you have one USB port.  ONE. Which is more likely in this day and age, having 13 cups or bottles in the truck at once, or having multiple devices in the truck in need of charging…I’d bet the latter.  This is a SERIOUS oversight on Toyota’s part.  Sure, you’ve got the Qi wireless charging mat, but I don’t have a Qi compatible phone.  Nor does my wife, kid, brother, or friends. So that mat is essentially useless to me, and I’d guess to a majority of folks.  So what do we REALLY need?

We need more USB ports!  One easy way to add two more ports is to plug in a dual port adapter into the cigarette lighter outlet.  Grab a pair of these that support fast charging.  One for your truck, the other for someone else.  Car Charger [2-Pack] RAVPower 24W 4.8A Mini Dual USB Car Adapter, Compatible with iPhone 11 Pro Max XS Max XR X 8 7 Plus, iPad Pro Air Mini and Galaxy S9 S8 Plus, Edge Note Series and More (Black)

Ok, so now you have three USB Ports.  That’s good, but what about the kids in the back seat on your road trip?  Unless you want to have two 8 ft. charging cables going from your dash to the back seat, you’re going to need something else.  This is where we look to a dual USB port that you’ll hardwire into the truck.  Sound scary?  It could be, depending on your comfort level with taking trim pieces off, running wires and splicing into more wires in the center console.  Oh, and drilling a hole in the back panel of your center console.  There’s that too…  If you want to take on the project yourself, as I did, you’re going to need a couple of tools.  A car panel removal tool, a step drill bit that goes up to 1″, some needle nose pliers and couple T-Taps (Don’t bother getting them off Amazon.  Go get a couple from Advance Auto or similar store for a lot less.)

The official installation guide is here.  It even has a pattern on the last page to make sure you get the hole centered perfectly on the rear panel: Dual USB Powerport 00016-00222 

Products from Amazon.com

Too involved for you?  You could pay Toyota to do it for you with their official kit, but people have reported anywhere between $175 to $350 for the installation!!!  That’s nuts!  Grab the instructions from the link above and another twelve pack of craft brew and see if you can bribe that mechanic buddy again.

#1 – BED MAT

And this ladies and gentleman, is the number one item people said should have come standard on every Tacoma.  And I’m with them.  That composite bed is awesome, and can take a real beating, but one thing it can’t do is keep stuff from sliding around on that slick surface.  The standard bed mat that Toyota makes for the Tacoma is damn near perfect, so why oh why don’t they make it standard?  Because they know people will pay over $115 for it.  Do yourself a solid.  Save the dealer a sale and get one off Amazon for around $80…

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