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The tan 2017 SEMA Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 is shown in a closeup for the truck accessories including the front bumper and light bar.

9 Types of Accessories to Consider for Your Truck

The accessories on your truck say a lot about you and your vehicle. Sure they look cool, and that has merit in its own right, but they also let you personalize your truck to really make it your own, to make it stand out in the crowd or on the highway. Beyond that, however, the right truck accessories also give you functionality with your truck that it might not have otherwise, which can make your life easier and is particularly useful in certain trades.

Most accessories that really make a big difference are exterior ones that go on the outside of your truck and provide all kinds of different functions. These include big bumpers and bull bars that help protect your vehicle (and others) as well as protectors for your hood and grille to keep your truck looking sharp. Different types of towing hitches and accessories can make a huge difference in terms of your truck’s overall performance, particularly when it comes to towing – the difference between your towing capacities with a conventional hitch vs. a fifth-wheel can be significant.

And don’t forget about great tech features and options, including lighting and gadgets that can make your life easier in and around your truck. Of course, you also want to keep in mind standard accessories like floor mats, seat covers, and your bed liner, which you can improve upon after you buy your truck.

Bumpers

Bumpers are one of those common truck accessories that you probably never think about, but when you need them, you’ll be glad you have them. Of course, every truck comes with bumpers to begin with, but you should consider whether the factory bumpers are good enough for your needs. You can choose after-market bumpers that offer more protection for your vehicle, as well as rear bumpers that have better steps or features to make your truck more useable.

Bull Bars

Should a front bumper not be enough to really protect your truck, then consider a bull bar, which is a large bumper that comes up in front of your truck to protect more of the front-end. These are usually in an upside down “U” shape so that they do not block off your grille or airflow into your engine. While most drivers probably don’t need these, they are particularly useful if you like to take your truck off-road and hit the trail. Even the most careful driver can end up in some tough situations off-road, and bull bars can protect the front of your truck when that happens.

Hood and Grille Protectors

While you’re protecting the front of your truck, you should also consider “protectors” to help get that job done. Rather than bulky bumpers, these truck accessories are often smaller and go over more specific parts of your truck, such as the front of your hood or the grille. Again, this is a level of protection that you probably won’t need if you just like to drive around town in your vehicle. But for off-roading, these items can save your paint job and prevent expensive dings due to flying rocks or other debris.

Lighting

A modified Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 FuelCell is driving through mud with many truck accessories, including lights.

Few truck accessories make as much of an immediate impact as lighting, which you can get for either the inside or outside of your vehicle. Interior lighting can have a dramatic effect on the overall look and feel of the inside of your truck – and many high-end trim levels include lighting that creates a more sophisticated and unique atmosphere inside. If you go for exterior lighting, just be sure to choose something that is rugged and will last a long time. Also be sure to work with a dealer or installer that understands local and state traffic laws, as some types of lighting may be restricted or banned in certain areas.

Cameras

Cameras can make great truck accessories, both for security and functionality. A dash cam lets you record whatever happens in front of your vehicle, which can be helpful if someone else causes an accident and then tries to blame you. Exterior cameras can also make it much easier to hook up a trailer to the back of your truck or to have better visibility around the outside of your truck and trailer when you’re towing. You can also use motion-triggered cameras for security, which only become active when people are moving near your vehicle.

Other Gadgets

There is no shortage of other types of truck accessories that use the latest technology to add fun and functionality to your ride. If your truck doesn’t come with a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, for example, then you can easily purchase a device that will let you set one up in your vehicle. Sound systems and audio equipment are among the most common and popular truck accessories you should consider, especially if you choose a model with standard or lackluster sound quality. You can also buy a computer programmer and tuner to interface with your truck and make sure you are getting the best performance out of your vehicle.

Floor Mats and Seat Covers

While not as flashy or high-tech as something like a computer programmer for your truck, never underestimate the importance of good quality floor mats and seat covers. Protecting the inside of your vehicle is a great way to keep the value of your truck up and make sure it looks good for years. No matter how careful you are, the unexpected will happen – so having mats and covers that you can easily clean or replace, instead of the actual upholstery or floorboards of your vehicle, is a huge benefit.

Truck Bed Liners

Any truck you buy is probably going to come with some kind of truck bed liner from the dealership, but consider upgrading from what they provide. There are different types of liners, all of varying levels of quality and permanence. If you buy a truck that just has a mat that was unrolled into the truck bed and left there for you, then you should definitely consider something to better protect your vehicle.

Drop-in liners are more expensive than a standard mat or rug, but they fit better and provide more protection for your vehicle. If you really want to protect your truck bed, particularly from spilled liquids like paint, then consider a spray-on liner. Rather than simply inserting a liner into your truck bed, they will spray a liquid that dries hard to form a protective layer. You should have a professional install a spray-on liner, rather than trying to do it yourself, as minor mistakes can seriously impact the look, feel, and effectiveness of the liner.

Towing Accessories

A Curt fifth-wheel/gooseneck hitch is shown in a truck bed.

Trucks are great for towing trailers, campers, and boats behind them. If you buy a heavy-duty pickup with a huge towing capacity, then you need to make sure you have the proper truck accessories to actually take advantage of that. For conventional towing, you want to have a high-quality hitch that’s easy to use and will stay secure. You also need a wiring kit so you can connect a trailer or camper to your brake light system and other electronics.

For more advanced towing needs, you’ll want to go with a fifth-wheel or gooseneck setup. These truck accessories might require professional installation and you definitely want to make sure you don’t take any risks or make mistakes while hooking up a trailer. The results of 10,000 lbs of machinery coming detached from the back of your vehicle while cruising down the highway would be catastrophic, even lethal. So make sure you know your trailer or camper is secure.