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Protecting and Accessorizing Your Tacoma’s Lights

Protecting and Accessorizing Your Tacoma’s Lights

The Toyota Tacoma has very few weak points. The drivetrain, suspension, and steering all work together to make a very sturdy and reliable vehicle. However, there are some almost human ailments that keep this truck from reaching the level of god-like. The lights are a chink in this trucks armor. This isn’t just for Tacomas though. All vehicles risk busting light lenses on the trail. You can work proactively to prevent lenses from breaking. It is also a great time to personalize your truck with accessories for your Tacoma’s lighting system.

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You've planned an overlanding trip. You've organized your maps, your provisions, your emergency equipment, and your Tacoma's packed to the gills. You may have spare flashlights, but what about spare headlights or tail lights? Don't let a rogue tree limb turn your week of fun into a nightmare. Protect your lights before issues arise.

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Why you Need Tacoma Light Protection

The factory lenses on Toyota Tacomas are made from brittle materials. Plastic lenses are used on the tail lights and glass lenses are used on the headlights. This is a common practice for almost all vehicles on the road. Not all Tacomas will need additional protection on these lenses but this isn’t to say it’s not worth investing in to prevent from freak accidents.

Trail Hazards: Trucks driven on the trail will obviously be subjected to more threats to the lenses than Tacomas that are primarily driven on the road. While you’re rubbing through the brush unseen logs can either smash into the lens or be kicked up right into the leans. The same is true for the rear especially if you are forced to back up and readjust to take on an obstacle.

DOT Ratings: On headlamps DOT and SAE approval may be stamped on the lens. This is not an indication of the level of quality of the material of the lens is used. The lenses are just meant to keep debris and moisture from entering the headlamp housing and are not meant to stand up to a specific beating as they are not designed to withstand a particular level of impact.

How to Protect Tacoma Headlights and Taillights

You cannot block the headlights or taillights completely, which makes protecting them a bit of a trick for aftermarket suppliers. This is not to say that options are limited and there are plenty of means to provide protection to the headlights and tail lights effectively. Some of the most common methods include a protective barrier placed over or in front of the lights while others are a protective coating that sits on top of the lens.

Weathertech’s Urethane Film: Weathertech is a brand that is known for providing excellent levels of protection to vehicles. Their Lampguard urethane film is an excellent choice as a first level of protection for headlight lenses. This is a thick transparent film that sits on top of the lens itself. The thick layer of protection is designed to take rock strikes that could easily shatter the lens.

Light Guards: Light guards are generally used for the tail lights of the vehicle. These are small steel cages that fit over the housing. These are meant to keep large materials like sticks and rocks from ever making contact with the lens itself.

Brush Guards with Headlight Covers: Grille guards fit to the frame of the truck and come up to protect the grille, and the brush guards extend outward to protect the headlights. These offer a similar level of protection as light guards do for the tail lights. The concept is to prevent the lens from ever taking an impact at all.

Bumpers with Brush Guards: Grille guards have the tendency to flex under impact and their ability to protect the lenses can be hindered. Aftermarket bumpers with brush guards built in have a much higher level of integrity and will not flex on impact. These will work the best to keep the headlight lenses safe from impact. 

Accessorizing Lights

The idea of protecting headlights opens up the doors to accessorizing your Tacoma with exterior upgrades that give a personal touch. The upgrades don’t have to stop with levels of protection though. There are accessories and modifications made specifically for the lenses and their aesthetic appeal.

Aftermarket Units: Many readers will be drawn to this article after they’ve smashed their factory lenses on their Tacoma. If your lights are busted you do have the opportunity to fit your truck with aftermarket lights.

The headlights, fog lights, and tail lights can all be replaced with aftermarket units that look and perform much better than the stock equipment. This is where you will want to make sure the lights chosen are DOT and SAE approved.

Light Bezels: Light bezels are an excellent low profile, high impact personal touch. A headlight bezel is a piece of trim that will fit around that outside of the lens. It’s a small touch but is a great way to accent the other upgrades and trim on the rest of the vehicle.

Tint: Many aftermarket upgrades require replacing or covering the tail lights. Many will opt to work with the lens they have but may want to change the appearance with tint.  Tint is a touchy topic and can get you into some trouble with the law. State laws vary on the stance the local law takes on tinting tail lights. Most states are on the opposing side so before you consider this modification you will want to check the laws enforced in your particular area.

Fitment includes: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Pre-Runner, X-Runner, SR, SR-5, TRD-Sport, TRD-Off-Road, Limited, TRD-Pro