We know all of you out there in readerland love your trucks and are ever-looking for the best bang for your buck in modifications. We’ve gone a step further and composed a list of items that will not only improve the looks and performance of your truck, but can also increase the resale value of your vehicle if you ever sell it or trade up. Best of all, other than the paint, most of these ideas cost around $500 to $700.
We’ve had more than one vehicle with a spray-in bedliner, and it’s a decision we’ve never regretted. It protects the bed, looks awesome, and even hides dings and dents your truck may already have. Liners can also be added to bumpers, under the hood, or even the sides of the truck.
Auxiliary Fuel Tank
Diesel pickups are the smaller brothers of over-the-road semis, so it should come as no surprise that many compression-ignition drivers don’t want to stop for fuel, either. Whether it is a larger tank in the stock location or a supplemental in-bed unit, an auxiliary tank is an item that clearly increases the value of any diesel.
The most expensive item on our list, paint will also have the most drastic effect on your truck—if it needs it. If your truck has dings and scratches—even small dents—it may be worth it just to keep the color you have. Rusted-out trucks should also be avoided unless you’re a professional body man.
Wheels and Tires
Wheels and tires are an item that can make or break your vehicle. They can change your whole truck’s persona from a workhorse or old trailer hauler, to a genuine hot rod. Also, if you ever decide to switch to a different wheel, they are one of the few items that can be resold at a pretty good price.
An aftermarket exhaust is something all performance enthusiasts can relate to—not just diesel freaks. Not only does an aftermarket exhaust look cool, it usually gives the truck a deeper, more aggressive note. If you’re really looking to add some value, going with a stainless steel system will show some respect for durability and looks, in addition to performance.
Even if you never sell your truck, exhaust brakes can end up paying for themselves over time in regard to the monetary savings in brake work. Making the engine do the work instead of the wheel brakes can add thousands of miles of life to pads and rotors. And let’s face it: Exhaust brakes sound awesome as well.
An all-but-invisible modification to the naked eye, injectors still offer a large performance gain—especially on older trucks. On newer diesels, injectors are often prohibitively expensive but can still be cheaper than having the dealer install a new set of stockers. We’ve seen gains of 100 hp on older vehicles with just injectors, and newer trucks with programming should see big power increases as well.
If you’re looking for a truly inexpensive way to make a difference, ordering new badges from the dealer, polishing up your old ones, or getting some custom badges (check out www.billetbadges.com) can really clean up the look of a truck.
Who doesn’t like easily getting in and out of a vehicle? Bigger tires and a lift may look cool, but it will make your truck a pain to get in and out of. Adding side steps (or even power steps) is a modification that is economical, creates a good look, and is truly functional.
Having either a gooseneck or fifth-wheel hitch installed on a truck is a sure way to increase its value. Trucks are all about utility, and the ability to tow a heavy camper is one of the greatest advantages of diesel-powered rigs.