Part of what makes being a gearhead so great is the freedom to mod our trucks in any way that we choose. With all the aftermarket truck accessories out there, you’ll find pretty much endless upgrades compatible with practically any pickup on the market.
However, just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should. In some cases, tasteful truck mods and horrendous ones have a very thin line in between them.
Let me throw out a couple truck modifications that you should stay far away from. There’s reasoning behind each mod on this list, so read carefully if you’re looking to avoid the dreaded “truck rice” upgrades.
Truck Mods to Avoid
Squatting Your Truck
As one of the most useless trends ever started, truck squatting basically exactly what it sounds like.
The front end of the vehicle is outfitted with a big lift kit, while the rear remains near the stock height. Not only does it look ridiculous and serve zero functionality, but it actually makes driving much more dangerous as it severely impacts your visibility.
In some states, these modifications are also against the law for the reasons above. Trust me, your truck will get ridiculed constantly by the public if it sits with a squatted stance. Let’s just forget this trend ever existed.
One of the most popular mods for pickup truck owners are lift kits. It’s no secret that lifted trucks with bigger wheels and tires are much more capable in off-road environments.
Though, real suspension upgrades can be costly. That’s why many owners will cheap out and purchase a spacer lift instead. This essentially adds a spacer at the top of the factory coil/shock, or a block underneath the rear leaf springs. While it will lift the body of the truck, it actually negatively effects capability more than it helps it.
It’ll give you a stiff ride, no additional ground clearance or articulation in suspension, and you’ll be maxing out the stock shocks. But, hey, at least you were able to fit those 35-inch tires, despite destroying other components in the process.
Don’t get me wrong, mud-terrain tires are extremely capable on rough terrain. What some people fail to realize is that these tires do not work well with a truck that’s driven on a daily basis.
Many owners make the mistake of mounting mud-terrain tires instead of all-terrain tires. The problem is when you’re driving on pavement for 90 percent of the time, you’ll have to deal with a terrible ride quality, short lifespan of rubber, and the horrific tire noise constantly.
Tires are expensive, so think about what you’re mainly using the truck for and consider all-terrain instead if you spend more time on the roads than off-road.
Another popular truck modification is wheel spacers. These add-on spacers sit between the rim and the hub of the truck, pushing the wheels out further for a wider stance.
Wider trucks (up to a point) have a more aggressive look, so I can understand the draw to it. Unfortunately, while wheel spacers are a cheap way to achieve the look, they also put additional stress on many of the other suspension components. With time, you may experience wheel bearing failure and a heavier steering feel overall.
The proper way to get this wider look is to purchase aftermarket wheels with the correct offset. That way, no spacer is needed in the mix.
Please stop straight-piping your exhaust systems, especially on brand new trucks.
Not only does it rob you of horsepower, but the obnoxious sound it emits only destroys everyone’s ears. There’s a major difference between a performance exhaust and cutting the mufflers off of the factory exhaust.
It may be louder, but that doesn’t mean it sounds good, plus it may also cause issues to your truck’s warranty. Invest in a proper exhaust system for real results.
Aftermarket Fender Flares
Circling back to the wider/more aggressive look, tons of owners outfit their fenders and truck bed sides with aftermarket or DIY flares. I’m not totally against this look, but some of these just look ridiculous if done improperly.
It’s really simple when it comes down to it. If you add these to your truck, you need to make sure the wheels and tires also sit as wide as the fender flares do. There’s nothing worse looking than big fender flares on a truck sitting on stock wheels.
Failure to do this makes your truck look like it skipped leg day at the gym. The wheels will look too small, and the body of the truck will look too big. Please consider this before purchasing.
LED Light Bars/HID Headlights
I’m all for bright lights and increased visibility, but there’s a point where it’s too much. You don’t need a light bar for every square inch on your truck.
Some people place these on the roof racks, front bumpers, grills, rear bumpers, under the tailgate, and even under the truck near the side step bars. Just pick one or a few spots, and you’ll have plenty enough light. I should also mention that you do not want to be that driver who uses the light bar instead of headlights. You’ll blind everyone on the road.
Additionally, you shouldn’t install HID headlights unless you have projector housings. Putting HIDs on your 2002 Chevrolet Silverado will only spew light in every direction. You may be able to see, but you’ll annoy every driver around you.