Increasing throttle response and traction is an obvious reason to swap out your ring and pinion out for a lower gear ratio. When larger tires or heavy mods have been installed the truck can become very sluggish. The Tacoma will look really cool but will become a total dog in terms of performance. Many who build their truck up for off-road will swap the ring gear out for a lower ratio because of the fact that it will simply help the truck perform as it did in stock form.
Bigger Tires: Tires work much like a gear does and the size of the tires on the Tacoma will impact throttle response and top speed. Taller tires take more effort to turn and will make the ring gear feel like a higher ratio and throttle response suffers. By moving to a lower gear ratio, throttle response is restored.
Overlander: Overlanding Tacoma’s are loaded up with a lot of equipment and sent down trails where they will be struggling for traction. Even if this form of off-roading isn’t as extreme as others, the experience will benefit with the use of lower gear ratios. You will want a gear ratio that will help the truck get up to speed when fully loaded on loose terrain, but you don’t need to go extremely low as you will likely use the truck on the street as well.
Rock Crawler: Rock Crawlers need total control. In a tight situation, a tire may only need to move a fraction of an inch to get the operator in the position they need to be in next. Many rock crawlers will reach for extremely low gear ratios because they can use lower RPMs to their advantage. These super low gear ratios are terrible for streetability though, and one needs to think about this before putting them on a truck they’d ever consider using on the street.
Mudding: Mud trucks also use super low gear ratios but this is because they use higher RPMs to their advantage in order to keep the tires spinning. If you are building your Tacoma to sling mud like crazy, you will need much lower ring gears than the factory equipment.
Fuel Economy: It sounds a bit outlandish that increased throttle response would help with fuel economy but when you boil it down it makes sense. With lower gears, the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to get the truck up to speed. If you go too low, it can have the opposite effect. If you’re looking to increase fuel economy after bigger tires and heavy mods are installed you only need to go to a slightly lower gear ratio.