How to Transform a Toyota Tacoma to an Off Road Truck


The Toyota Tacoma is a fairly popular model truck to use for off-roading, especially since most Tacomas come off the showroom floor ready for some off-road action. The Toyota Tacoma combines the reliability Toyota cars are known for with the off-road capabilities that come standard with virtually every pick-up truck currently on the market. By making additional modifications to your Tacoma, you can improve its performance off-road and make it into a top-notch off-roading machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Tires
  • Lift
  • Winch
  • Off-road bumpers
  • Lift your Tacoma to improve ground clearance and allow for putting larger off-road tires onto the truck without having them scrub. Scrubbing occurs when the tires rub against the body or fenders of the truck and can damage your tires or vehicle. Lifts vary in height from a couple of inches to well over a foot. Your Tacoma should be able to fit 31-inch off-road tires when it leaves the factory, but you can go up to 44-inch tires or higher with correct size of lift. It is up to you how high you want to go, bigger is not always better, depending on what kind of off-roading you plan on doing. For example, if you make your Tacoma too tall, you will soon discover it won't fit down all narrow trails.

  • Upgrade your tires to off-road tires. The best brand, size and tire cut for your Toyota will depend on what kind of off-roading you plan on doing with your Tacoma. There are off-road tires especially for mudding, trail riding, sand and rock crawling. Choose the tires that are designed to give you an advantage when off-roading in the type of terrain you plan on driving through most often.

  • Take your Tacoma to a mechanic who specializes in off-road modifications and have the mechanic waterproof important parts of your engine and drive train. You may also want to install an oversized off-road radiator, beef-up your cooling system and if you plan on spending a lot of time crossing water or playing in the mud, you may want to have your intake snorkeled to keep water out of your motor.

  • Install off-road bumpers with a winch. The winch will enable you to get your Tacoma out of tight spot or deep hole without needing to be pulled out by another vehicle. Make sure the winch is built to withstand pulling at least a half ton of weight to ensure you will not burn up the motor extracting your fully loaded Tacoma.

  • Continue modifications as necessary. An off-road truck is a constantly changing project and the more time you spend off road, the more features you may decide that you want to add or change on your Tacoma. There are literally hundreds of aftermarket parts manufactured specifically for off-road use that you may find come in handy or that benefit you, your Tacoma and your unique off-road driving style when you are on the trails.

Tips & Warnings

  • The best model of Toyota Tacoma to have for off-roading will the 4x4 version. However, you can modify a two-wheel drive to go off-road as well, just don't expect it to perform quite as well in challenging off-road driving situations, such as mud or sand.
  • Off road driving can be dangerous. You should always take proper safety precautions when driving off road.

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