Here are some interesting items that people often overlook when initially outfitting their new truck, but frequently include in a second round of upgrades.
If someone buys a tonneau cover to protect the contents of their bed, it means they have stuff in the bed that they will occasionally want to retrieve and that usually means getting up into the bed. A common method for that is to step on the rear bumper and then climb over the tailgate. This is actually easier than getting in the bed with the tailgate down but like most things in life, “easier “ is a relative term.
I’m 5’10” tall so even getting into the bed of my F-350 is no big deal for me if I leave the tailgate up and step up onto the bumper. It’s a lot harder with the tailgate down because I lose access to the low point of the bumper and the step up is now extremely high. But like I said, I can work around it by leaving the tailgate up.
Getting back out is slightly more difficult because it can be hard to see where to place your foot on the bumper as you step backward out of the bed over the closed tailgate. But it’s workable.
On the other hand there is no easy way in or out of the truck bed, even on a small truck, for someone shorter. That’s where the bed step comes in. It’s a spring-loaded or swivel step that attaches to the frame or rocker panel of the truck and extends out when needed, roughly halving the distance from the ground to the rear bumper. Some steps are designed to mount along the side of the bed just behind the cab so the owner can step up and reach into the bed to retrieve items.
Whichever style you use, it makes the bed much more usable on a daily basis.
The shortest of short beds is 5’ long from tailgate to front. Many are 6’ long and some are 8’ long. Regardless of which bed length you have, retrieving something from the front of the bed can be a chore and then there’s the problem of items rolling around in the bed when driving home from a shopping trip.
The most popular bed extenders make the short beds more usable by acting as a cargo fence that extends out over the tailgate, adding length to the bed. They also can flip inward, creating a corral just inside the tailgate, providing a conveniently accessible storage area that keeps items in a confined space. Sometimes, though, the bed extender can get in the way.
Recognizing that, the best bed extenders are designed for quick and easy removal as well as easy re-installation. They make the bed available for a wider range of uses, adding convenient versatility in the process.
Bed mats create a non-skid surface and protect the painted floor of the truck bed. For some owners, that’s all the protection that they need. Made of heavy rubber, they are often cut to custom fit vehicle-specific bed shapes and lengths. They don’t protect the inside walls of the bed, however.
Liners basically fall into two categories – drop-in liners and spray-on liners. Their function is simply to protect the bed of the truck from scratches and small dings as well as to provide a non-skid surface to minimize movement of items stored in the bed. A spray-on liner such as Rhino-liner requires scuffing the paint off the bed floor and walls, applying a paint preparation agent, and then spraying on a permanent coating. The materials and labor involved make this a relatively expesive option, generally in the $500.00 and up range. The advantage is that it is a tough, durable coating that will not wear off over time.
Drop-in liners are made of hard plastic and they are designed to fit the contours of the bed and extend up the sides under the bed rails. They do have the ability to move around slightly and over time can scuff the painted surfaces, but they are also significantly less expensive than spray-on, typically less than half the cost.
Drop-in liners also have the advantage of being able to move from vehicle to vehicle as long as the bed dimensions are the same or very, very close. Ford SuperDuty beds, for example, have only slightly changed once from 1999 to present, so an owner who has upgraded to a new truck a couple of times over the past 17 years could have reused their drop-in bed liner on each new truck.
Most trucks traditionally have a nose-down stance. The bed is slightly raised so that, when loaded, it has room to settle without appearing to be overloaded. Some owners prefer a level stance or they want to put larger wheel and tires on the truck. Others install snow plows and don’t want the front of the truck to drop even more under the weight.
Leveling kits raise the front of the truck up so that it’s at the same height as the bed. They provide more room for larger wheels and tires (sometimes allowing up to 35″ diameters) and they restrict how much the front can drop under weight. They are an economical and effective solution for owners who want a more aggressive look without the cost, inconvenience and complexity of a full lift kit.
All of these accessories make it possible for owners to periodically update their vehicles rather than replace them and can make them easier to live with as daily drivers. It’s almost always less expensive to refresh a paid-for vehicle than to replace it. For those owners enjoying a new purchase, it’s less expensive to personalize that new vehicle in the aftermarket than through the dealer. Stop by and let us show you how we can put your personality on wheels!