Can Aftermarket Modifications Save You Money On Your Next Truck?

Automotive Articles

If you're considering the purchase of your first new truck in several years, you may be surprised at what seems to be an uptick in purchase prices. As truck makers utilize more and more technological advances (like ultra-light, but strong aluminum bodies and fuel-efficient displacement on demand engines), the manufacturing cost of these trucks continues to increase. However, one way to significantly lower your purchase price can be to purchase a "base" model truck and make several after-market modifications to give your truck the same amenities as a much more expensive one. Read on to learn more about the modifications you can make to improve your truck's performance (and resale value), as well as modifications you may wish to avoid. 

What modifications may allow you to purchase a "base" truck?

Most base model trucks are smaller than upgraded trucks, with less cabin room and a shorter bed. There are several relatively inexpensive modifications you can make to allow your truck to perform at the same level as a more upgraded truck, without the higher sticker price.

Bed extenders

If your truck has a short bed and you would occasionally like a longer one to haul certain items safely, you should be able to purchase and install a truck bed extender. These extenders are generally curved or U-shaped cages that fit over your tailgate in the "down" position. This allows you to haul longer items by having your tailgate down, without having to ratchet strap or otherwise secure these items in your truck bed. 

Suspension or body lifts

If you'd like the look and driving experience of a larger truck, you can often accomplish this through the installation of a suspension or body lift. A suspension lift will raise the suspension system of your truck a certain distance above the wheels, allowing greater ground clearance, while a body lift raises only the body of your truck. Generally, you'll be able to install a suspension lift to raise your truck anywhere from 4 to 18 inches, while a body lift can add another few inches. Depending upon the purpose of your lift, you may choose one or the other, or even combine both to achieve more height. 

A body lift is useful if you don't plan to take your truck off-roading or spend much time towing but still want the appearance of larger and more luxurious truck. A suspension lift can help you when hauling or towing, and -- while it won't convert a 2-wheel-drive vehicle to a 4-wheel-drive vehicle -- the extra space for larger tires can give you a bit of extra traction when you need it.

What modifications should you generally avoid?

While there are a number of modifications you can make to your truck to improve your driving experience, there are also a few aftermarket changes that may be more expensive (or more trouble) than they are worth. If you'd like to upgrade these options on your new truck, you may be better off simply purchasing a more deluxe version.

Engine swaps

If you want your truck to have the extra power that comes with a larger engine, but don't want to pay for this engine off the lot, you might be considering a DIY engine swap. However, this is only rarely a good idea for brand-new vehicles. Not only can swapping out a smaller engine for a larger one cause sizing problems, it may void your manufacturer's bumper-to-bumper warranty (even if you replace the original engine with a brand new one designed for your specific truck).

Switching out engines can cause mechanical issues down the road -- this is why rebuilt or replaced engines only rarely last as long as new engines. If you plan to save labor costs by performing this swap yourself, you may find yourself doing some frequent fine-tuning during the months to come. You're often better off from both a time and money perspective to simply upgrade your purchase to a larger truck.

Following the advice in this article should help you make your decision on what new truck to buy. You may be able to save money by getting a base truck and making aftermarket modifications; just make sure that you do your research first on which option can really save you the most time and money. 


8 June 2015

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