A stock 4Runner looks great coming right out of the showroom. But if you want to customize the look to fit your style and needs, there are plenty of 4Runner mods on the market that will help you achieve a slick look that has your friends doing double-takes all the way through town.
1. Roof rack
You might spend 95 percent of your drive time on city roads and interstates, but a 4Runner is designed for adventure at its core. And what good is having a 4Runner if you aren’t prepared for the 5 percent? Learn more here.
While 4Runners have decent trunk space, it’s difficult to fit everything you need for an offroad adventure in the hatch. A good roof rack can solve this problem. Whether you need space for bikes, skis, luggage, camping gear, kayaks, or climbing equipment, a rack or cargo basket is the answer.
If you are going to add a roof rack, carefully consider the carry weight and construction. Aluminum racks are becoming increasingly popular. Not only can they hold the same as traditional steel versions, but they weigh as much as 30 to 40 percent less.
2. Wheels and tires
Everyone knows that upgrading wheels and tires make a visual statement, but did you know that it can also serve a functional purpose? That’s right. Swapping out the factory wheels to a lighter-weight version could potentially save you four to six pounds per wheel. This leads to less rotational mass and unsprung weight. (This means you can fit your vehicle with heavy-duty tires without having to worry about destroying the drivetrain.)
As a general rule of thumb, 32-inch tires are the largest you can go without causing them to rub the fenders. Any larger than this and you’ll have to lift the suspension (which actually isn’t a bad idea).
3. Running boards
What would a 4Runner be without a pair of sexy running boards clinging to either side of the vehicle? And in addition to looking good, they serve the functional purpose of helping you get in and out of your vehicle.
The great thing about running boards is that you have complete control over color, shape, material, and size. There are thousands of combinations. Plus, most running boards can be installed using simple bolts (no drilling or welding required).
The factory grille that comes on the 4Runner is superior to almost every other grille on the road. And though it looks good driving off the showroom floor, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to upgrade. The TRD Pro grille is the most popular one out there. It can be purchased for less than $200 and doesn’t require much effort to install.
If you frequently take your 4Runner offroading, it’s a good idea to add rock sliders/sidebars to your vehicle. These are basically big metal pieces that bolt onto either side of your 4Runner to provide extra protection to the bottom. And in addition to serving a functional purpose, they can also add to the aesthetic.
Sidebars come in a variety of styles and materials. Whether you want a black, multilevel bar, a bare-metal bar, or a chromed-out option with rounded edges, you can find exactly what you want.
If you’re serious about going offroad and navigating a variety of terrains, you’ll want to upgrade the suspension. While the 4Runner TRD Pro comes factory-equipped with an upgraded Fox suspension, even the most souped-up models could use some additional flexibility.
For starters, upgrading long-travel shock absorbers can help maximize compression to ensure you get the most out of your suspension. (It basically lets you flex all wheels without having to worry about damaging the vehicle.) It’s also smart to upgrade to longer springs. This increases the ride height.
Give Your 4Runner a New Look
With a few hundred bucks, some spare time, and a little creativity, you can take a factory 4Runner and turn it into a show-stopping vehicle that’s sleek, functional, and able to withstand even the most challenging conditions.
If you’re working on a budget – as most people are – you have to be strategic about which 4Runner mods you prioritize. The options outlined above give you a great starting point.
Address these mods first and then move on to interior upgrades.