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9 Must-Have Accessories for Pickup Trucks

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Pickup trucks are reliable, heavy-duty vehicles fit for any scenario, from roaring across construction sites to camping trips on the weekends. With the right accessories, you can get even more out of your pickup truck. Truck lights, bed drawers, tie-down straps and racks help you work smarter, while side steps and ramps make life a little easier. Don’t forget about protection — bumpers and bed covers will keep your truck in top shape. No matter what you need, there’s an accessory for it.

Pickup truck accessories upgrade the functionality, performance and look of your vehicle. Learn more about the best truck accessories to decide which ones are right for your needs.

9 Must-Have Accessories For Pickup Trucks

1. Bumpers and Grill Guards

While traveling along roads, on construction sites or through the bush, your pickup truck may sustain damage from all sorts of things. Think rocks, bushes, debris, animals and maybe that pole you didn’t see. To prevent this and protect you and your truck during collisions, you can install a bumper or grill guard.

A bumper is a strong metal accessory that you can fit over the original bumper on your pickup truck or use to replace it completely. This extra barrier increases the impact resistance of the front of your truck and deflects debris away from your windshield. You can also fit bumpers to the back of your car to limit damage from reversing into objects.

Bumpers can be discrete with light protection, or extremely bulky and rugged for complete protection of your truck for demanding jobs. While you can opt for a simple number, some other types of bumpers include:

  • Bullnose and bullbar bumper: These bumpers have a U-shaped bar added to them, providing moderate protection to the grill.
  • Push bar: Push bards attach to the existing bumper and have robust bars made specifically for push protection.
  • Smoother steel bumper: A full steel bumper is much stronger than factory bumpers and will protect you well in the event of an accident or collision. Their smooth finish is a style preference, as it looks bolder than perforated ones.

A grill guard offers more protection than a bumper as it covers the full front of your truck, including the grill and headlights. These are crucial if you travel through dense vegetation, push heavy items, work with animals or drive on gravel roads.

Choosing a bumper or grill guard is heavily dependent on how much protection your car needs, as well as the features you need to perform your job. With that being said, it needs to look good at the same time, so style should also play a crucial role in your decision. Choose one that will stand the test of time, protect your truck from harm and make you want to show it off to your friends.

2. Bed Covers

Come rain or shine, you have cargo to deliver or jobs to complete. A bed cover —  also known as a tonneau cover — is an essential truck accessory that shields your cargo from rain, sunshine, debris and snow. An added benefit is they hide away all your equipment and tools, making your truck bed look neat and tidy. You can also purchase a bed cover with a lock to protect your possessions from theft.

Some types of bed covers include:

  • Rolling covers: A rolling cover is made from a flexible material that rolls up onto itself to allow access to the truck bed.
  • Retractable covers: A retractable cover sits flush with the top of the truck bed and easily slides open, with no extra material on top to get in the way.
  • Folding covers: A folding cover contains separate panels that fold up to reveal one section of the bed at a time.
  • Fiberglass covers: Fiberglass covers sit on top of the bed and open up like the hood of a car. They’re typically made to look like part of the truck.

Choose your cover based on your budget, the amount of protection you need and your personal style preferences. For example, vinyl bed covers are cheaper and more flexible compared to fiberglass, but wear down when exposed to UV rays and heat. The type of truck bed you have should also factor in so your cover fits well.

3. Sliding Drawer Systems

Sliding Drawer Systems

A convenient pickup truck accessory that will make your life a whole lot easier is a sliding drawer system fitted to your truck bed. With one of these installed, you can simply pull out the drawer to access your cargo, equipment and tools. Because you don’t need to lean over the sides or climb into the truck bed to grab your things, these drawers also reduce strain on your knees and back.

Sliding drawers are useful for a wide range of commercial and non-commercial applications. They make unloading and offloading cargo easier, accessing and grabbing tools more convenient or barbequing from the back of your truck a breeze. No matter what you need it for, these drawers will change the game.

4. Tie-Down Straps

Keep your cargo securely inside your pickup truck with tie-down straps. Tie-down straps are pieces of flexible but strong material that hook onto anchor points in your truck bed. They’re secured tightly around your cargo to stop it from moving around in the truck or falling out.

Choose the straps for your truck based on the size and weight of your load. Ratchet straps are the strongest type of tie-down strap and can handle heavy loads of up to 15,000 pounds. An alternative option is a cam buckle strap, which is easier and faster to secure than a ratchet, but can only handle medium-weight loads.

5. Trailer Hitches

Trailers are great pick-up truck companions that help you transport extra cargo. To attach one to your truck, you’ll need a connective device called a hitch. A receiver hitch is the most common type of hitch used to tow trailers and camper vans. It consists of a receiver pipe mounted to the frame of your truck, with a ball mount attached to it. The trailer will hook onto the ball mount — a receiver hitch accessory — which can either be fixed or adjustable. You can also use a ball mount on its own for smaller vehicles, such as an ATV.

There are five classes of receiver hitches, which indicate their size and towing capacity. The higher the hitch class, the more weight it can carry. Your vehicle will determine which hitch glass you can use — pickup trucks can use a hitch class of three or higher because they can pull heavier loads.

You can mount your receiver hitch on the front and back of your vehicle depending on the task you need it for. You’ll need a rear-mount hitch to tow your trailer, but you can also put one on the front of your truck for extra functionality. Front-mount hitches help you control and maneuver your trailer more easily when parking or moving it a short distance.

You can install a receiver hitch to either the frame of your car or the bumper. While you can bolt a hitch to your truck frame, you can also weld it on if you purchase a weld-on trailer hitch. Use a bumper-mount hitch if you’d like to attach your trailer to your bumper.

6. Vehicle-Mounted Lights

A lot of people need to use their pickup trucks for work and recreation long after the sun sets. To be safer while driving in the dark and to illuminate the area around your truck, you can install vehicle-mounted lights. There are various light options to choose from, depending on the application. Before you can identify the right light for your requirements, you need to understand the types and what they’re used for.

Common types of vehicle-mounted lights include:

  • Lightbar: Lightbars are long lights you can mount to your truck for additional light. You can place them on your grill or the roof of your truck for better visibility while driving or working around your truck at night. You can also attach them to the back as well.
  • Driving light: Driving lights boost standard high beams so the light projects farther and wider.
  • Fog light: Fog lights are powerful lights that help you navigate your vehicle in fog and rainy weather.
  • Bed light: Bed lights are lights or strips of lights you add to the undersides of your truck’s bed rails. They illuminate the bed space at night or in low-light areas so you can see inside more easily.
  • Spotlight: Spotlights project an intense, focused beam of light over a far distance.
  • Beacon light: Beacon lights are small orange lights that warn others on the road of dangerous conditions while driving.

7. Headache Racks

Headache Racks

If you use your truck to transport cargo, a headache rack is a vital accessory to protect both you and your truck.

Headache racks are protective covers fitted to the back window of pickup trucks. These heavy-duty barriers stop cargo from smashing through the glass and hitting you in the back of your head. Funnily enough, this is where the “headache” part of the name comes from — headache racks prevent actual headaches and worse head injuries. Backshield windows are also expensive to replace, and a rack will prevent cargo from breaking yours.

Headache racks offer varying coverage depending on how much protection you need. They’re also available in a wide range of styles. Choose a design that matches your truck to make it look modern and upgraded, or get it customized with your company’s logo.

8. Loading Ramps

A loading ramp is crucial if you need to put heavy equipment — such as ATVs, motorcycles, lawnmowers and industrial equipment — into the back of your pickup truck. When an item is too heavy to pick up, ramps create an angled platform where you can push the object up from the ground to the height of the truck bed.

Loading ramps typically come in two types — folding and non-folding. Folding ramps are essential if you need to take them with you and set up at another location, but they’re not as sturdy or strong as non-folding ramps. Loading ramps can also be straight, curved or split into two.

Key factors to consider when choosing a loading ramp are:

  • Strength: The weight of your load should be the first thing you determine when choosing a ramp. All loading ramps have specific weight capacities and are made out of materials that support that weight. For example, heavy duty ramps are better for heavier equipment, but you only need a lighter, single ramp for a motorcycle.
  • Length: Shorter ramps have a steeper angle, which makes it harder to push things up. Take the height of your truck into account and choose a longer ramp for a shallow incline.
  • Width: You can buy a single-panel loading ramp that spans the full width of your truck if you need to transport a wide variety of equipment. If you just need one for a motorcycle, a single, narrow ramp will be sufficient. For vehicles, a two-piece loading ramp can work, but make sure you check that each panel is wider than the tires of the vehicle.
  • Surface: Choose a loading ramp with texture, as it creates traction and stops slipping. Just make sure it’s not too textured for your application, otherwise you’ll struggle to push your equipment up it. Ladder rung ramps are perfect for vehicles as they create more grip for the tires, while flatter surfaces are better for equipment without wheels.

9. Side Steps

If your truck is quite tall and you struggle to get into it, a side step or running board will be a helpful addition. These accessories attach to the side of your pickup truck to create a platform to step on, giving you an extra boost when you climb inside and adding another visual element to your truck. On top of this, they also deflect gravel and debris away from the sides of your truck, reducing scratches and dents.

A side step — also known as a side bar —  is narrower than a running board as it’s usually a cylindrical bar that runs along the whole body of your pickup truck. Side steps have smaller, individual running boards in front of each door. This makes them more subtle than running boards, but it also means they have less space to stand on.

A running board is a single full-length board that runs along the side of the truck. They’re attached closer to the vehicle than side steps and are much wider, making them a more stable and comfortable choice. If you need constant access to the roof of your truck or you have a disability, a running board will assist you better than a side step.

Upgrade Your Truck With Truckfitters

We get it — your truck is more than just a truck, and you want it to perform and look its best. At Truckfitters, we’re committed to unlocking the potential of your truck, both visually and functionally.

When you choose us, our team of industry experts will work with you to determine your unique needs and preferences. From there, we’ll help you select the best accessories for your truck. We stock all the must-have truck accessories from the best brands in the industry, including Ranch Hand, B&W Trailer Hitches, Ecco, CURT Manufacturing and more. If we don’t have the accessory you’re looking for, we’ll happily order it for you.

We have experience in a wide range of industries, so no matter what you do, you can count on us for fast and flexible solutions. What are you waiting for? Contact us at 704-755-3500 or through our online form to get started today. Alternatively, stop by one of our dealerships to chat with our team in person.

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