Best 4runner Mods in 2021: How to Customize Your 4Runner

Toyota 4Runner is one of the most popular SUVs. It is a reliable off-road vehicle that is highly customizable, and since the 1980s, 4Runner owners have created a culture that includes outdoor enthusiasts, soccer moms, teens, and off-road hobbyists. 

Quick Facts About Modifying Your 4Runner

  • You can start modifying your 4Runner for as little as $100.
  • You can modify your 4Runner without voiding the warranty.
  • 4Runners rank among the top ten vehicles for resale value.
  • Some modifications add to your vehicle’s value, while others depreciate it.

Best Inexpensive 4Runner Modifications

4runner

If you are a new 4Runner owner, you can start with inexpensive modifications. These upgrades will not make a big dent in your wallet, but they have a significant impact on your comfortability or add to your vehicle’s aesthetic. 

WeatherTech Wind/Rain Deflectors

Rain deflectors or window visors are a great modification because they have a ton of uses. Whether you spend time in the great outdoors camping or you want to have the ability to leave your windows cracked without people being able to stick their fingers in your window, these are excellent customization. These easy-to-install parts prevent wind and rain from coming into your window. 

WeatherTech precision crafts its 4Runner window visors, so they have a custom fit. Getting a clean seal is critical when you are applying the parts. Otherwise, your visors will not be wind and rain-resistant. However, with these WeatherTech deflectors, you do not have to worry about that. 

They are simple to apply, and they come with clear instructions. If you choose to add wind and rain deflectors, it is crucial to use a quality brand like WeatherTech because cheaper alternatives will not have a precision vehicle-specific fit.

Window Tinting

Window tinting is one of the simplest things you can add to your 4Runner to give the exterior a sleek polished look quickly. If you have never had tinted windows, you do not know what you are missing.

Vehicles with tinted windows do not get as hot. They deflect some of the heat the rays that would otherwise be heating your truck. So, they are beneficial in hot climates. They also help filter UV light rays that damage the skin on your hands, arms, and face. 

There are many to choose from, and the cost will depend on your choice. You can tint your windows with a low-quality tint for as little as $100. If you want something similar to what the dealership installs, which filters UV rays and deflects heat, you will pay closer to $400. However, it is a worthwhile investment.

Best Performance Modifications

4runner inside

You can modify your 4Runner with performance mods that make it easier to navigate rugged terrain. These are some of the more costly modifications. However, they can make it possible to experience trails you would otherwise not be able to tackle.

Suspension Lift

A suspension lift is an excellent upgrade for any off-road vehicle, and it gives your truck a more prominent profile. Unlike body lifts, which raise the vehicle body with spacers, a suspension lift replaces the current components with a stretched suspension to raise the vehicle.

Therefore, we suggest having your lift professionally installed. If you still have coverage under your vehicle warranty, you should not lift your 4Runner higher than 3″ as that could void it. So, you should consider a lift like the 3″ suspension lift from Rough Country.

It should cost you less than $2,000. You can find the lift online for around $900. Installing it should take an experienced mechanic the better part of a day. So, you will likely pay about $800 for labor. If you decide to go with a higher kit, the parts and labor cost will be higher.

Snorkel

Adding a snorkel to your 4Runner will allow you to drive through water which would otherwise destroy your vehicle. A snorkel is also helpful if you live in an area with frequent flooding. So much so in fact that it is not uncommon for fire and police departments to enlist the help of vehicle owners with this modification for rescue and removal missions during storms.

It is crucial that you use a proven snorkel and that you have it professionally installed. The ARB Safari Snorkel Kit is an excellent choice. ARB makes vehicle-specific off-road performance parts. Each kit it creates comes with a guarantee.

Best Safety Modifications 

4runner nature

The Toyota 4Runner has an excellent 4-star safety rating from NHTSA. It is one of the safest SUVs you can buy, and believe it or not, and some modifications make your vehicle even safer.

Back-Up Camera

Back-up cameras come standard on all 2018 and later model vehicles. The United States Department of Transportation announced legislation in 2014 and gave automakers four years to comply. Starting in 2018, all vehicles manufactured for sale in the U.S. had to be outfitted with a rearview camera and display.

Lawmakers enacted the law after research found that rear-view cameras made the streets significantly safer. You do not have to buy a new car to enjoy the benefits, though. There are plenty of aftermarket options you can use to add the technology to your truck.

Anytime 4Runner Full Camera Kit for $165.99 is an excellent addition to your 4Runner. It includes a front and rear camera. The front camera is great when you are on the trails because you can switch the view to see what is in front of your vehicle.

Grill/Bumper Guard

Adding a grill is a relatively affordable modification that should last for the life of your vehicle. An attractive bumper plate or guard will also make your SUV safer and add to the visual appeal. There are hundreds on the market.

They come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. So, you can pick one that reflects your personality. Or you can choose a sleek SRG Fabrications 4Runner Plate Bumper DIY Kit. For less than $700, you can install one of these prefab kits.

It comes with everything you need for installation except the tools. Plus, you will need the help of a friend. But, the DIY kit is more than 50 percent less than a price of a welded option. While you are replacing your front grill, you should also consider upgrading your rear bumper.

The rear bumper options on the market include utility bumpers that add cargo carrying space and other beneficial features while protecting the backside of your SUV. For less than $500, you can buy a Trail Gear Rear Bumper Kit that is generation-specific and fits directly onto your 4Runner.

Steel Skid Plates

Steel skid plates can save the underside of your vehicle. A lot of things can get stuck in the vital components under your truck. Steel skid plates protect your exhaust system, fuel tanks, transfer, and differential.

Skit plates are available in a variety of styles and finishes. They are easy, so you can save the labor expense by doing the job yourself. Skid plates come in several separate pieces. Buying each piece can add up because they range from $300 to $600.

So, we suggest purchasing them as a kit. When you buy a complete skid plate package, you save some money. A kit that includes protection for all of the components under your 4Runner will cost between $750 and $1000.

Best Convenience Modifications

4Runner Interior

For avid off-roaders, convenience mods may seem frivolous. They can add to your overall truck ownership experience, though. So, we suggest a few.

Remote Engine Start

Most vehicle owners have experienced a freezing or scorching car. You have to wait for the engine to heat up so your AC or heater will work. Well, with a remote engine start, you can start warming your 4Runner before you even walk outside.

If you are purchasing a new 4Runner, it may come with this feature installed. If the trim you choose does not include it, you should ask the dealership to install it. It is a reasonably affordable feature that most dealerships will throw in free if you buy the vehicle.

If you are buying an aftermarket option, Accessories has a plug-and-play option that works with your OEM key fob if you have a 2020 or later model. All you have to do is press the lock button three times. The kit costs $249. If you want to start your car from your phone, you will pay $379.

Infotainment Center

Modern 4Runners come with an infotainment center, and it is an excellent interior modification to consider. If you go camping or spend a lot of time outdoors with your vehicle, it is a must-have.

Engine Modifications

Engine modifications are something you should plan and implement carefully. When your vehicle is under warranty, there are some mods you should avoid if you want to preserve the validity of your contract. When initially sold, your 4Runner came with a warranty book. It may be in your glove compartment.

Check it before you alter your vehicle, especially when you are working on the engine. If you do not have one, you can request a copy from your Toyota dealership. However, there are some engine modifications that make your vehicle operate more efficiently.

Cold Air Intake

Cold air intake can help your engine run more efficiently. When you install this component, it removes the air filter from the interior of the engine compartment. That results in an increase of cold air into your motor and less heat buildup.

However, these parts are only available on the aftermarket. So, it is vital that you choose the correct one and have it professionally installed. The S&B Cold Air Intake System is an excellent edition for your 4Runner. It costs $188.82, but the installation will run you another $280.

TRD (Toyota Racing Division) sells an air intake too. You can purchase it or have it installed, but you have to first purchase your vehicle. The air intake can not be included in the purchase price of the vehicle.

Best Overall 4Runner Modifications

There are countless ways you can modify your 4Runner. These vehicles are frequently altered by owners to improve stability, add clearance, or increase the overall performance. The best modifications for your 4Runner depend on what you intend to do with your truck. If you want to go off-roading, skid plates will save you a ton of money on broken components.

A suspension lift and larger all-terrain tires give the vehicle more clearance, and front and rear bumpers also help to protect your vehicle. If you add skid plates and reinforce your vehicle with protective gear, your 4Runner is one of the best vehicles to invest in.

Even after five years with average mileage, your 4Runner will be worth between $27 and $29,000. However, when you poorly maintain your vehicle or damage it, the value decreases. That is why it is a good idea to invest in modifications that protect your truck first.

Read our full guide on how to find the best tires for Toyota 4Runner.

FAQs

In addition to knowing the best modifications for your 4Runner, owners often ask these questions. Check out the answers to learn more about modifying your SUV.

Question: Which Generation 4Runner Is the Best?

Answer: The third-generation 4Runners are often considered the best by off-road enthusiasts. It is one of the longest-running generations so OEM and aftermarket parts are easy to find. Toyota’s popular SUV is one of the most valuable and long-lasting vehicles in its class, but the cars produced from 1996 to 2002 have had fewer complaints and recalls.

Question: Is a 4Runner a Good Investment?

Answer: Toyota 4Runners is an excellent investment. In terms of pricing, these vehicles are comparable with other similar cars, but they have stronger two and five-year resale values. However, if you want to buy a used 4Runner, the cost will be higher than other similarly aged vehicles.

Question: How Many Miles Can You Put On a Toyota 4Runner?

Answer: You should be able to drive your 4Runner for at least 200,000 miles if you keep up with the maintenance. If you live in a dry inland climate your 4Runner may even go for 300,000+ miles. However, you may need to change major components like the starter, radiator, water pump, and transmission after 150,000 miles.

Question: Should I Buy a 4Runner with 100k Miles?

Answer: Buying a 4Runner with 100,000 miles is fine, but you have to make sure the previous owner took care of the vehicle. A poorly maintained Toyota SUV with 100,000 miles is probably not a good deal because major components could fail much sooner. However, a well-maintained 4Runner could still run for another 200,000 miles.

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