How to Customize a Chevy Truck

by Eli Laurens

Chevrolet pickup trucks can be customized to suit the owner's taste or upgraded for higher-performance using inexpensive, common parts. The Chevy truck carries some of the most popular parts available, making upgrading and customizing easy for the novice. The average backyard mechanic can customize a Chevrolet truck in about three hours.

Upgrade the engine with a chrome air intake by removing the stock intake box and installing a new unit. Most Chevrolet trucks have a top-mounted air filter that comes off by turning the wing nut in a counterclockwise direction. Fuel-injected models will usually have an air box on the driver's side fender that can be removed by turning the four corner bolts counterclockwise and pulling it free. Air intake snorkels and open-element filters are direct replacements for stock air boxes, and they provide improved performance and appearance.

Install hose wraps and colored ignition wires by sliding the wraps over existing hoses and replacing each spark plug wire individually. Hose wraps are sized, plastic coverings made for existing hoses that dramatically dress up an engine cosmetically. Ignition wires are slightly more difficult to install, but directly replace the stock units and come in a variety of colors and sizes.

Repaint the truck and install aftermarket wheels. These are the most common improvements that can personalize a truck and, depending on the type of wheels and tires chosen, can increase on-road performance. Adding murals or designs to the existing paint job can create a truly custom vehicle. The possibilities are only limited by the imagination of the painter.

Paint the dash panel and trim with a lacquer-based paint by removing the panels and painting them individually. Color matching them to the paint already on the truck creates a "theme" that can be carried over to the fore-mentioned engine upgrades. Using acrylic paints is not recommended, as it can wear off onto occupants and does not lend well to the smooth surfaces of Chevrolet interiors on later models.

Add a hood scoop to the stock Chevy hood either by fastening a non-functional scoop to the existing hood surface or installing an aftermarket hood. Chevrolet trucks are some of the most common vehicles on the planet, and one of the more common upgrades is the hood scoop. If the functional version is chosen, it could be combined with a redirection of the air intake to create "cowl induction," which was the original purpose of these scoops.

Add aftermarket tail-light lenses or turn signals by removing the stock version and replacing the unit with an updated, "Altezza" style unit. Most Chevy trucks have simple, two-screw tail lights and turn signals, which can be removed by turning the screws counterclockwise and then unplugging the light holder sockets.

Tip

  • check Paint items away from other surfaces; wear breathing protection.

Warning

  • close Use safety equipment when working on a vehicle.

About the Author

Eli Laurens is a ninth-grade physics teacher as well as a computer programmer and writer. He studied electrical engineering and architecture at Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta, Ga., and now lives in Colorado.