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If you’re about to buy your first pickup truck, consider adding accessories, such as seat covers and floor mats, that can make your experience more comfortable and extend the life of your vehicle.
If you’re buying new, consider getting these items from the dealer and rolling the cost into your financing. That way, you can negotiate the price (something you can’t always do with aftermarket products). On the other hand, the aftermarket offers a lot more variety.
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of accessories out there — these six will make the biggest difference. (Prices below were drawn from the product websites.)
Many pickups enjoy a long life and have plenty of miles packed on them. “Seat covers allow owners to reduce wear and tear on the original upholstery, are relatively inexpensive to get, and are easy to replace when needed,” says John Ibbotson, chief mechanic for Consumer Reports and a current and former owner of pickup trucks. Ford sells them from $169 to $299 for a 2017 F-150 (as an example); you can get them on Amazon from $50 a set to more than $200 a set for the same F-150.
Pickups wind up in some messy places, such as construction sites, muddy fields, or mountain passes. Owners can keep the carpet in their cabs cleaner by investing in serious floormats. Pro tip: Hang on to the original carpet mats; when it’s time to sell the truck, put them back in, and they’ll look as good as new, helping the owner reclaim more money, Ibbotson says. Costs: Floor mats for a Chevrolet Silverado were offered from as little as $35 a set to more than $170 on Amazon.com. From Chevrolet, they can run more than $200 a set, but they’re custom-made for that truck.
Truck drivers usually have tools or other items they might need and want to keep secure. There are many toolbox choices. Many fit side-to-side up by the cab, and some can move on tracks toward the tailgate to ease access when working in the field. There are also units that fit to the bed sides, like the removable, lockable Nissan “Titan box” for $985. On Amazon, locking tool boxes for a pickup bed run from $200 to more than $400, depending on size.
Backup Camera (for older used trucks)
“Much like SUVs with their inherent rear blind spots, parking a pickup can be a real nightmare,” Ibbotson says. A backup camera can ease the process (although drivers shouldn’t rely on it alone). Starting in May 2018, all new vehicles built for the U.S. market will have to have a backup camera, by federal mandate. If shoppers are considering an older truck that doesn’t have one, these cameras are available on Amazon from $30 for basic devices, to as much as $150 for cameras with big, in-cabin screens that can also help drivers who are hooking up trailers or boats.
DIY Electrical Risks
One final warning: Avoid any do-it-yourself electrical work on your new truck, Ibbotson says. There are many things that can go wrong. Connect something wrong, and it could lead to expensive repairs that won’t be covered by a warranty. Also, you’re more protected if you have a professional (including the dealer) do the work for you.
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