Why get one: Even though the pickup truck bed is meant to haul everything from dirt to plywood, most owners don’t want it to be marred by scratches, dents, and dings. A bedliner helps defend the truck’s metal bed from damage, and also provides a skid-resistant surface that helps to keep cargo from sliding around.
We prefer a spray-in bedliner better than a drop-in one because it protects the bed from rust better; doesn’t allow dirt, water, or debris to collect under it; and it offers better traction if you’re standing in the bed when putting things in it or cleaning it out.
However, it’s important to understand that spray-in liners are permanent, says Ibbotson, and that could make some bed repairs challenging. Some trucks have a lined bed as a standard feature.
Why get one: For a lot of larger pickups, it can be a long stretch from the ground into the cab. Drivers can make it easier on themselves (and their passengers) by adding running boards, Ibbotson says. Be careful where they attach, Williams says; some are more cosmetic than others.
“Those that attach underneath to the body are not very strong,” he says. “Those that attach to the frame are the sturdiest you can get.”
Williams says be wary of chrome running boards because some don’t mix well with salt spray from winter roads. The metallic finish can peel off, or rust pretty quickly, he says, and they might have to be replaced in just a couple of winters.
His favorite are articulating running boards that are activated when the door is opened. They extend out from underneath the body, sometimes as much as six inches, to provide an easy step up into the cab. He points out that they’re relatively expensive compared to other options.
Auto Action Group offers a wide range of running boards/tube steps to suit your needs. Our professional installation comes with a 3 Year Warranty.
Why get one: As much as pickup owners love the open space of their bed to carry big things when they need to, they also hate when things in the bed are exposed to the elements. A cover allows for a watertight shield to protect items, as long as you buy a good one.
We recommend an aluminum cover that folds, so you can still easily load items into the bed. The aluminum version also offers more security than vinyl ones because vinyl can be cut through.
One warning, Ibbotson notes: Folding covers can be hassle if they don’t fold completely out of the way or if you can’t easily remove them when loading or unloading. More expensive roll-away versions can be connected to your electrical system, and can be unlocked, opened and closed through a key fob
Auto Action Group offers a wide range of tonneau covers to suit your needs. Our professional installation comes with a 3 Year Warranty.
Why get one: Truck drivers often have tools or other items they might need and want to keep secure. Many of these lockboxes fit in the bed, across the back of the cab, and some can move on tracks toward the tailgate to ease access when you’re working in the field.
The most important thing to consider, Williams says, is the type of material.
“The best ones are diamond plate, which has a design of alternating diagonal marks,” he says.
It’s a design meant to give you more traction if you walk or stand on it. Although a chrome finish is available, it’s more susceptible to pitting and rusting, or to the effects of any chemicals truck owners might work with.
The locks are important, and a lot of the original locks on these boxes can be flimsy. Williams notes that there are aftermarket options with stronger, more advanced locks, all the way up to locks you can unlock using a smartphone app. Of course, he says, they’re more expensive, and will require a power source to boot.
Auto Action Group offers a wide range of locking toolboxes to suit your needs. Our professional installation comes with a 3 Year Warranty.
Why get them: When you have to work in your truck bed in the dark, it’s easy for things to get lost. Most new factory pickups come with a central, high-mounted light on top of the cab that lights up the bed, and some will have a camera included. The camera, which sometimes can be tied into your display screen, can be helpful to watch cargo.
Most new trucks do not come with lights built into the bed itself. But pickup owners can add lights to brighten the bed up, including from the manufacturer. Ibbotson says these LED light systems, whether from the factory or aftermarket, are especially handy for trucks with tonneau covers. After all, the cover makes it like a cave in there, and the high-mount cab light can’t help in that situation. Some LED lights are inexpensive and easy to tuck underneath the bed lip to keep them out of the weather, and they typically tap into the electrical system, which could lead to a switch inside the cabin, Williams says.
Those optional bed lights from the manufacturer typically consist of two LED lights that have been installed toward the back of the bed. Many aftermarket systems have lights that run nearly the entire length of the bed, but the safe bet is to stick with the OEM systems—you know you’re getting a factory-installed, fully warrantied kit that’s properly wired. As a Ram spokesman cautioned regarding aftermarket systems, “Tapping into a 12-volt system in modern trucks can void the warranty and potentially damage systems.”
One advantage for manufacturer lights is that they often will have switches both in the cabin and in the bed for easier access.
Auto Action Group offers a wide range of bed lights to suit your needs. Our professional installation comes with a 3 Year Warranty.
- Posted by Jason Ellington
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