Back in February when I first purchased the 2016 Toyota Tacoma the plans then were to keep it a stock truck for the first six-months of its existence before starting to research and review possible accessory parts. Then in early summer, around June 21st a good friend of mine gave me the first aftermarket item; a Trifecta tri-fold softcover 6-foot bed cover. Ever since we tightened down its latching pins it’s been on the truck ever since.
Through countless hours doing research a vision in my head started forming about what specifically I would want to install onto the truck and what the purpose of the truck would become. At first sifting through the plethora of possibilities via Pinterest, Tacoma World Forum, and websites like Extreme Terrain my list of after market options began to grow.
- Rock rails
- Off road tires
- Tonneau cover
- Remote starter
- Roof top basket
- Paint protection
- In-bed rail system
- Upgraded coil overs
- Swing arm skid plates
- Light bars or KC lights
- Upgraded front shocks
- Hood corner cube LED lights
- CB Radio or Ham Radio – mobile
- Front bumper – slimline w/ winch enclosure
- Skid plate – full set: front, middle, transfer case
Each of the above after market options were penciled into a yellow covered college ruled notebook sitting on top of our desk. This notebook became pages of scribbles, notes and ideas surrounding the evolution of a stock 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport into what?
Of course the things preventing this from happening all at once is the age old, time and money conversation. Thus the list required a plan and the plan needed a schedule. This began being formed with the second stage of after market purchases being hardware before aesthetics.
We needed to determine its purpose in order to stay on schedule and keep up with the newly forming plan. That’s when we drew up the Tacoma Upgrades List, Pricing and Schedule.
After several hours spent on the Tacoma World website talking to like minded Tacoma fans, we came up with the next three purchases being:
- a 2-Way Remote Starter – as winter in Alberta can be brutal
- a pair of Rock Rails – to protect the rocker panels when off road driving
- a Full Set of skid plates – front, transmission and transfer-case
What we found was talking with other Tacoma owners we were introduced to a few 4×4 shops in and around Calgary, Alberta : Danger Customs and KRave Automotive. As well as a handful of online 4×4 shops in other provinces like Greenlane 4×4 and TDot Performance.
For the 2-Way Remote Starter we chose a 1-mile, 2-way by Compustar ($1,000 CAD). We chose to have this installed by one of the local Toyota dealership. We did pay a bit more for the convenience of a dealership installation rather than a local audio shop and we figured “IF” Toyota screwed up, then we’d be better off getting a resolution with them since this would be an electrical installation. However a 3rd Party local shop might just shrug it off as angry customer syndrome and let you deal with the repercussions of this transaction.
After pricing around the Rock Rails ($1,500 CAD) and a full set of skid plates ($1,100 CAD) we decided after several conversations with other Alberta Tacoma owners to purchase from a local Calgary based custom fabrication shop.
The good side of using the Custom Fabrication shop, is its built to order and your supporting local businesses in this weird day and age. Plus in the end you will save yourself a few hundred dollars. The bad is instead of it being 4-6 weeks, it took just over 8-weeks. And instead of them being 100% ready to install on the truck. They needed to go to a finishing shop for sanding, primer, rust paint and finishing. In the end is it worth saving the extra couple hundred dollars? Only time will tell.
Lesson Learned: If you are not concerned with time and you want to save a few hundred dollars then buying bare metal off road parts and finishing them up yourself is great!