Performance Upgrades for Toyota Tacoma

Are you looking to increase the performance of your Toyota Tacoma? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the parts and installation processes necessary to get your vehicle performing at its peak. Unlock maximum horsepower and torque with the right upgrades, so you can enjoy a more dynamic driving experience.

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most popular midsize pickups available today. It offers robust power and superior off-road performance thanks to its reliable engine and rugged body construction. However, some drivers may want to take their Tacoma’s performance to the next level and make it even more capable. This guide outlines various performance upgrades and modifications available for the Toyota Tacoma as well as how they can improve your driving experience and help you tackle tougher terrain.

To begin, it’s important to note that many of these upgrades require some technical know-how or assistance from a trained professional due to the complexity of certain components. Additionally, some of these upgrades may only be compatible with certain model years or trim levels, so be sure to do your research beforehand. Finally, this guide assumes that consumers have a basic understanding of automotive maintenance and repair.

Engine Performance Upgrades

Performance engines upgrades for the Toyota Tacoma are a great way to boost power and torque. Installing a performance air intake system and exhaust system will lay the foundation for greater power, improved fuel economy, and better throttle response. Other engine performance upgrades, such as spark plugs and timing components, improve engine efficiency by providing more complete combustion. We have compiled a comprehensive list of engine upgraded parts to help you get the most out of your Toyota Tacoma.

Air Intake System: Upgrading an air intake system will allow colder air to enter your engine and provide greater thermal efficiency for improved engine performance.

Exhaust System: An upgraded performance exhaust system can help improve your Tacoma’s overall power output by reducing back pressure from the exhaust gases at higher revs. It will also provide improved sound characteristics that many enthusiasts seek out.

Ignition :Performance ignition systems increase combustion efficiency which reduces misfiring and emits cleaner exhaust gases while increasing power output.) High-performance spark plugs are recommended in order to ensure an optimum spark at higher temperatures that occur in forced induction systems. Performance coil packs further supplement this effect when combined with high-performance spark plugs. (In some cases, it is best to upgrade both together.) Lastly, adjustable cam gears can be used to fine-tune an engine’s ignition timings for improved response or torque levels depending on driver preference or application needs.

Upgrading air intake systems and exhaust systems

Upgrading the air intake system and exhaust system of your Toyota Tacoma can deliver significant performance gains while increasing fuel economy. An upgraded air intake system can help provide the engine with a denser, cooler air flow, leading to increased power and torque. Likewise, an upgraded exhaust system will expel hot gases in a more efficient manner to reduce exhaust pressure and improve performance. When choosing parts for these upgrades, be sure to select components designed specifically for the Tacoma; this ensures compatibility and prevents unexpected issues. Additionally, it is recommended that you use professional installation services for both air intake and exhaust systems as incorrect installation can void warranties from suppliers as well as from automakers.

When upgrading the air intake systems of your Tacoma, look for cold-air intakes with low-restriction filters. These intakes will offer higher airflow than stock units while their design maintains factory protection against dust and water damage; some aftermarket products also feature noise reduction mechanisms such as splitters or silencers to reduce sound levels where necessary or desired. In terms of exhaust systems, look for high-flow headers and catalytic converters which are designed specifically to fit your Tacoma’s engine size and design; these pieces will deliver maximum displacement efficiency (MDE), allowing you to maximize power output in addition to improved fuel efficiency – all while abiding by local emission standards set by your state or region.

By combining all of these components together into a comprehensive performance kit tailored specifically for your Tacoma engine size and type, you’ll see immediate gains in both power output and fuel economy without sacrificing safety overall health of your truck’s internals – so don’t be afraid to get out there and start tuning up!

Installing aftermarket exhaust headers

The exhaust manifold is an important part of the engine’s exhaust system. It’s designed to vent gas from the combustion chamber and can get clogged over time, causing the engine to lose efficiency and power. Aftermarket exhaust headers are a great way to replace worn or clogged headers and increase performance.

In most cars, the stock header will be made from cast iron, but aftermarket exhaust headers are typically constructed from Steel Tube Aluminum or stainless steel. It is important to use a header that is designed for your specific make and model of vehicle. Before installing aftermarket exhaust headers in your Toyota Tacoma, you should familiarize yourself with the process. Here’s what you need to do:

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1) Disconnect the battery terminals before making any modifications to your Toyota Tacoma’s electrical system in order to avoid accidental electrocution.

2) Remove bolts connecting the current manifold if necessary using a ratchet and socket set using a steady amount of torque until all bolts are fully removed.

3) Install new gaskets onto both sides of the new header. Gasket installation may require some scraping or filing depending on how thick they are

4) Place new header into place, making sure not to touch oiled surfaces with bare hands

5) Using fasteners supplied with the new header, tighten from side-to-side in progressive order like working on a tire until all fasteners are tight (recommended 20-30 ft/lbs)

6) Replace catalytic converter if replacing stock headers when necessary Reconnect batteries and test drive vehicle!

III. Suspension and Handling Upgrades

Upgrading your suspension system is one of the most widely recommended modifications for off-road enthusiasts. It is important to note that not all suspension upgrades are created equal, with some setups offering greater performance and potential than others. Here is a brief overview of the most popular Toyota Tacoma suspensions and handling upgrades:

Fox Shocks: These aftermarket shocks are designed to provide improved dampening and increased articulation while raising the height of your vehicle by two inches or more. Fox shocks also offer adjustable rebound and compression settings so you can obtain the ideal ride feel for any driving situation.

Kit Suspension Systems: Kit suspensions are expansive packages that upgrade all aspects of your truck’s suspension, from control arms to sway bars, coilovers, leaf springs, or even air bags or hydraulic bump stops. This type of upgrade offers significantly improved handling potential but requires a significant investment both in time and money.

Goodyear Wrangler MT/R Tyres: Goodyear tires offer unmatched off-road traction as well as improved wear resistance over conventional tires. Replacing your OEM tires with a set of MT/Rs will raise ground clearance as well as better facilitate water fording in wet conditions or uneven terrain.

Installing new shocks, struts, or coilovers

One of the most popular performance upgrades for Toyota Tacoma is swapping out the stock suspension components to improve the ride and handling characteristics. When it comes to suspension systems, there are three main types that you can choose from: shocks, struts, or coilovers. Each has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks and understanding what each offers will help you make a more informed decision about which system is right for your vehicle.

Shocks, struts, and coilovers all provide support to the vehicle’s suspension system, but each type works in different ways and provides different levels of dampening capability (the ability to absorb road bumps). Shock absorbers are designed to dampen the rebound from springs; without this type of dampening, your vehicle would bounce up and down after going over bumps in the road. Struts are a combination of springs and shock absorbers that together provide more stiffness than just using shocks alone; they also offer improved handling as well as better control when cornering. Finally, coilovers are adjustable shock absorbers that can be tuned to specific driving styles or terrain; they offer great customization options but at a higher price point than shocks or struts.

When deciding which type of suspension system is best fit for your Toyota Tacoma, consider your driving style as well as budget before making an investment in new parts/systems. No matter which route you decide to take, upgrading your Tacoma’s suspension with shocks/struts/coilovers will truly help give it a much-needed boost in performance.

Upgrading to stronger sway bars or sway bar links

If you’re looking to upgrade your handling performance on your Toyota Tacoma, then upgrading the sway bars or sway bar links is a great choice. A higher quality sway bar or link gives better control of body roll when cornering and helps keep the vehicle more stable when steering. The right size of the bar should work with your suspension for maximum benefits, so be sure you know what size you need for your Tacoma before making a purchase.

The stock sway bars on many Toyota Tacomas are not strong enough to handle high-performance driving, so an upgrade will provide noticeably better handling performance both on and off-road. Upgrading to stronger sway bars or sway bar links involves replacing the existing ones with a higher quality aftermarket component. The upgrades can include larger diameter bars, reinforced material like billet aluminum or carbon fiber-reinforced, adjustable links and even higher grade bushings for further improved ride and handling characteristics.

Additionally, several manufacturers also offer adjustable endlinks which allow fine tuning of suspension balance in order to get more precise handling performance from your Tacoma. According to experienced Tacoma owners, upgrading to these components usually improves road holding capability dramatically and gives added confidence behind the wheel during hard cornering sessions.

Replacing the steering rack and tie rods

Replacing the steering rack and tie rods on your Toyota Tacoma can help you maintain better handling, improved steering efforts, and greater control while on the road. Replacing the stock components with improved aftermarket products can also lead to a more comfortable ride.

Steering racks and tie rods direct the force your wheels apply when you steer. When you turn your wheel to change direction, the power is passed through these components so that your wheels also make the turn. As these components are used more frequently over time, their effectiveness begins to weaken and eventually deteriorate leading to increased steering effort, fluid leaks, worst-case scenario making it difficult or impossible to get effective steering from them (especially with vehicles that have lifted suspensions). Upgrading to aftermarket products ensures that you will continue having precise control over when and where your vehicle goes.

When replacing these components, a qualified mechanic should inspect other parts related to them as part of routine maintenance such as sway bar links and steering linkages since they must also be inspected since they are closely connected. Careful attention should also be taken during re-installation as incorrect installation may lead to worse than expected results in the long run.

Installing a lift kit or leveling kit

Installing a lift or leveling kit is one of the most popular upgrades for Toyota Tacoma owners. A lift kit raises your vehicle and reduces the angle of the suspension components, allowing for off-road clearance, improved stability on rough terrain, and a more aggressive stance. Leveling kits are designed to adjust suspension angles to maintain the stock height but provide the same level of clearance as a lift kit would. Both options will impact your vehicle’s performance – you can expect improved handling, better grip over rough terrain, and an overall improved ride quality.

When looking at lift kits and leveling kits, there are a few key differences that you need to understand. Lift kits raise your vehicle, while leveling kits just even out any height discrepancies between front and back so that it appears level at all four corners. Installation difficulty depends on what type of parts you have, but both lifts and levels vary in complexity from mild to wild. Generally speaking, mild lifts or levels require basic mechanical knowledge and bolt-on parts with no cutting or welding required. Wild lifts involve cut fender flares and suspension modifications utilizing aftermarket shock components, coilovers or air systems – this requires more advanced skills and tools for proper installation.

Finally, it’s important to determine how much suspension travel you actually use when on terrain. If you plan on going off-roading frequently or tackling tougher trails than usual with your Tacoma then make sure you take into account your intended destinations when considering either a leveling or a lifting kit for additional ground clearance. With information in hand look around carefully when selecting parts – be sure that they complement each other well as mis-matched components can lead to steering issues later down the line!

Braking System Upgrades

It is important to ensure the braking system of your Toyota Tacoma is working properly and efficiently. After all, it is the sole responsible for bringing your vehicle to a stop when needed. Fortunately for Tacoma owners, there are plenty of options available to improve performance in this area!

When upgrading the braking system, many choose to install larger brake rotors or calipers from quality aftermarket manufacturers such as SSBC or Wilwood. These can provide improved stopping power with less effort from your foot on the brakes and longer life from components due to increased heat resistance when compared to stock parts. In terms of brake pads, both ceramic and semi-metallic compounds are available for a wide range of applications such as heavy-duty hauling or additional bite for off-road applications. Additionally, stainless steel braided hoses offer improved firmness which reduces spongy pedal feel caused by extra fluid movement inside conventional rubber hoses throughout normal operation.

Other accessories may also be required in order to take full advantage of larger brakes such as vacuum booster kits that alleviate some of the larger loads created by increased clamping force during hard stops or wheel bearings that can handle higher speed cornering with increased wheel load traction. Of course, professionals should always be consulted on these types of custom upgrades in order to ensure proper installation and fitment.

Upgrading to larger brake rotors and calipers

Upgrading to larger brake rotors and/or calipers is perhaps the most important upgrade that can be made to a Toyota Tacoma. Larger brake rotors and calipers will provide more overall stopping power of your Tacoma through improved friction and cooling.

Brake upgrades consist of more than just swapping discs; it’s also necessary to change the master cylinder, the brake fluid, and sometimes even the lines running from the brakes to create an effective high-performance braking system.

It’s important to remember that when upgrading brakes on your Tacoma, all pieces must match for maximum stopping power as well as safety. A larger disc rotor size alone won’t make much difference if paired with a same-sized caliper. New hardware such as adapter plates may need to be purchased alongside your brakes in order for installation to work properly depending on the type of rotor or caliper you choose. Additionally, it is highly recommended that you upgrade your brake lines if they are not already stainless steel braided lines so they can withstand greater pressure during hard braking. You should also flush out any old brake fluid when installing new brakes or performance upgrades.

Last but not least, you need to consider pad material too! The right brake pads combined with appropriate braking techniques can make an immense difference in terms of performance and safety while driving your Tacoma on road or off road terrain.

Installing stainless steel brake lines

Installing stainless steel brake lines on any vehicle is going to provide a noticeable difference in braking performance, and this is especially true for the Toyota Tacoma. Stainless steel brake lines are better for optimal performance because they resist heat better than rubber hoses and offer superior protection against potentially dangerous leaks. Replacing the standard rubber brake lines with top-quality stainless steel lines can improve braking response and control, reducing flex in the system for firmer, more accurate stopping power in all driving environments.

Gallery 2015 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro Double Cab review notes

The installation process requires some expertise with regards to cutting, flaring and bleeding of the brakes, but some kits include bolt-on solutions that make it easier than ever to get your Tacoma outfitted with upgraded stainless steel brake lines in no time. Quality kits offer clear instructions on how to install the new lines safely and accurately, allowing you to enjoy superior braking performance right away.

Upgrading the brake pads for better stopping power

When considering which brake pads to install on your Toyota Tacoma, it is important to take into account the climate and terrain you will be driving in. Brake pads come in many varieties, from those designed to provide more grip on wet surfaces to those designed for increased stopping power.

The stock Toyota Tacoma brake pads generally provide good performance for everyday driving conditions. However, if you find yourself needing more stopping power and control in a variety of conditions, you may want to consider upgrading your brake pads. Good candidates for upgrades include:

  • High performance brake pads with higher heat tolerance
  • Semi-metallic or ceramic brake pads with an increased friction coefficient
  • Organic brake pads that provide superior braking on wet surfaces
  • Carbon metallic or copper free formulas that resist fading at higher temperatures

However, it is also important to remember that when upgrading your brakes, it is important to get the correct fitting parts as well as replacing any worn out components. This can include new rotors and calipers, depending on the application. Doing so will ensure that your vehicle operates securely and safely.


Whether you’re an experienced off-roader or a newcomer looking to customize the look of their ride, the Toyota Tacoma has a lot for you to appreciate. From engine modifications, suspension architecture enhancements and aftermarket styling components, there are numerous customization options available for your Tacoma.

Before making any modifications, be sure that you research your particular upgrade and consult a certified technician. It’s important to familiarize yourself with both the component being installed as well as how it will affect the other systems in your car. By following these steps, you can ensure that your vehicle performs at its best while giving you a unique and special look.


How can I improve my Tacoma performance?

You can improve your Tacoma performance by upgrading the air intake and exhaust systems, installing a performance chip, and upgrading the suspension and brakes.

How do I get more horsepower out of my Tacoma?

To get more horsepower out of your Tacoma, you can install a cold air intake, upgrade the exhaust system, and add a performance chip or tuner.

Can a Tacoma be tuned?

Yes, a Tacoma can be tuned to improve performance and increase horsepower.

Can I upgrade my Tacoma?

Yes, you can upgrade your Tacoma with aftermarket parts and accessories to improve its performance.

Can Tacomas go fast?

Yes, Tacomas can go fast with the right upgrades and modifications.

How much horsepower can a Toyota Tacoma handle?

The horsepower a Toyota Tacoma can handle depends on the specific model and engine, but some can handle up to 278 horsepower.

Is the Tacoma V6 underpowered?

Some drivers may find the Tacoma V6 underpowered, but it depends on personal preference and driving needs.

What is the highest HP Tacoma?

The highest horsepower Tacoma is the TRD Pro model, which has a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 278 horsepower.

Can I put a turbo in my Tacoma?

Yes, you can put a turbo in your Tacoma to increase horsepower and performance.

What upgrades increase horsepower the most?

Upgrades that increase horsepower the most include installing a turbo or supercharger, upgrading the air intake and exhaust systems, and adding a performance chip or tuner.

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