Believe us – we love a jacked-up truck with chunky, knobby mud tires, a snorkel kit, and smokestack exhausts – but is any of that garb actually useful on a day-to-day basis? Unless your daily commute involves traversing a swamp, not likely. Heading to the store to pick up milk and eggs in a truck that resembles a Transformer is cool, but those add-on’s are largely unnecessary and can be hugely expensive.

We recommend investigating the plethora of aesthetic and mechanical truck accessories that serve more practical purposes. At the end of the day, they’ll save you money, increase the value of your truck, and maintain that additional level of increased capability and cool-factor.

Suspension-leveling Kits

A 2 or 6-inch lift kit is one of the most popular aesthetic add-on’s that pickup drivers sometime covet as the holy grail of accessories. They not only give you additional ground-clearance for potential off-roading, and even extreme winter conditions but they look great, too.

A viable alternative to a lift kit is a suspension leveling kit that raised the front end of your truck to meet the suspension height of the box. They improve the balance of the vehicle while driving, come in a multitude of measurements, and are much more cost-efficient. They do a great job of achieving the lifted look without the excess height that makes it tough for the rest of the family to jump in.

Fender Flares

When we replace our factory tires, many drivers opt to buy bigger tires for their truck as a kind of natural progression. There’s nothing better than trying out your new winter tires or all season explorers in the dirt, on the beach, or in the fields. The trouble comes when your new tires end up kicking up stones, debris and dirt all over your vehicle causing big damage to the paint finish of your vehicle. Paint chips and dings translate into rust and body repairs down the road.

Fender flares provide protection to the finish of your truck’s paint, as well as the structural integrity of your body panels. Further, they give your vehicle an incredible, complete look when those new tires end up sticking out beyond the factory fenders of your truck’s stock box. Some models can also increase the aerodynamics of your vehicle and help to reduce wind resistance and road-noise.

Light Bars

Aftermarket light bars are great ways to combat the night when you’re driving on a deserted backroad. They’re also of great help to other drivers should you stumble across someone in need of some roadside help. A word to the wise: not all of them can be used on public roads as replacements to factory headlights, so use discretion and find out what’s allowed where you live.

Having a powerful light bar to project a few extra lumens can help sticky situations less demanding – plus, they look great. LED lightbars in particular help to increase the visibility of your vehicle at night improving driver safety. Some light bars are beautifully integrated to stock bumpers and rooflines to minimize the aftermarket look and streamline your vehicle’s aesthetic appeal.

Spray-in Bedliners

You bought your truck because you need a truck, plain and simple. What use is a truck with a corroded, scratched and unfunctional truck bed?

Adding a spray-in bedliner to your truck is one of the most beneficial accessories you can invest in. They all but eliminate rusting and corrosion in the truck bed, a particular concern if you live in a region that experiences ample amounts of rain or you live by the ocean, in which case salt in the air can cause premature deterioration of your truck’s bed.

Spray-in bedliners are heavy-duty alternatives to the plastic factory inserts that come with some models of trucks. Spray-in liners eliminate the damaging effects of scratches and damage caused to your truck bed when you use it for trucky things. Having a tough spray-in bedliner is hugely practical and can help to prolong the most taxed part of your truck.

Hitches, Winches, Tow Straps

It’s an unwritten rule of truck ownership that should you have the capability to help others on the road, you help them. When you own a truck with 4WD and you inevitably come across someone in need of some help, whether that be a tow, or a winch out of a tight spot, having the right gear handy in your truck is paramount to being able to help them – and yourself. Consider it your civic duty as a pickup owner.

Hitches are part and parcel of owning a truck, so make sure that you have a hitch that features a few different sizes of ball so you can help people out, and adapt to towing different sized loads yourself – your landscaping trailer, boat and fifth wheel RV all probably have different sized ball hitches.

Tow straps are inexpensive and hugely beneficial things to have in your truck. They allow you to hook up to another vehicle and pull  – or be pulled – out of a jam easily. They can hold many thousands of pounds and roll up into a small package for easy storage. Similarly, winches provide the same type of support, but can be used to help when there isn’t much room to move. They’re also critical for those who live in areas where help may not come along. Having a winch allows you to pull yourself out of a ditch, or into safety should you need it.