Thinking of modifying your truck? Here’s what you need to consider before getting started…

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Life as a truck driver is a rewarding business, with the opportunity to hit the road and travel the UK, and even overseas.It can be a testing profession at times – with numerous health and safety legislations to abide by – but it’s all undoubtedly worth it when you get that unique opportunity to hit the open road.Sometimes the trips can be lengthy, with time away from

Sometimes the trips can be lengthy, with time away from family named as one of the major bugbears for long-serving truckers. This makes it vitally important to ensure your cab feels like home on long- haul trips.

Most of your working time will be spent in your vehicle which makes modification a major attraction for truckers both young and old.

And, because this will be your home on those longer serving trips, you’ll always have the pleasure of enjoying the work you have put in.

Getting started

If you’re just starting out you’ll need to ensure that you pick up the right truck to apply your modifications to.

There are plenty of great sites out there to help you find your dream wheels – but choosing the right truck can be a bit of a minefield as there are a whole range of considerations that need to be met before placing your purchase.

You’re going to need to consider exactly what you’ll be using the truck for, because making payments on a truck that is too small or not powerful enough quickly becomes frustrating.

This decision will need to take into account the type of body you want your truck to have, whether a typical box body, a curtain side truck or something else entirely.

Definitely worth considering in the former category are aerodynamic box bodies – they offer better handling and increased fuel efficiency, which is great for those longer runs.

At this stage you’ll also want to go for function over form. Flashy wheels and body kits may look amazing, but there could be problems hiding under that incredible trim. And if you’re modifying it anyway, you can add the extra bits later. Always opt for a more basic model first.

Make sure you check underneath the truck for leaks and damage as well as rust on the axis and springs. Also, check the brakes and drive shaft – the truck won’t last long if they’re not in working order.

Materials

There’s a whole host of ways to pimp your truck to ensure that your ride looks unlike anything else on the roads.

One of the most effective ways you can begin is with a custom paint job.

Edge away from the boring stock whites and greys and make it stand out on those long-haul trips with colours such as sunset orange or fire red metallic.

Popular modification choices also include brand new alloys, vinyl truck wraps and hydraulic equipment to make sure the exterior has a look befitting of its owner.

Lighting is a core part of a truck modifier’s armoury, especially with the development of LED solutions which can fit on practically any model for a truly unique look.

You might also want to consider modifying the interior of your truck to increase comfort for the journeys, or to just add entertainment while you’re away from home. Try larger, personalised steering wheels and leather, quilted seating.

It is worth bearing in mind that is now possible to include a full-size tablet PC within the dashboard to give you full connectivity when your day of driving is done. Another popular choice is to include an enhanced stereo system – whether you want to go for a full set of DJ decks or just a modest upgrade on your stock system will depend on what you desire and your budget.

In terms of budget, modifying a truck is never going to be cheap – but ensuring that your automotive components are in a healthy condition first, is the upmost important feature for the security of your safety.

Costs for each element of the truck will vary wildly depending on the extent you want to go with your modifications.

Even a simple respray can run into thousands of pounds while you’ll be looking at more than £2000 for a vinyl wrap.

However, the costs will undoubtedly be more than worth it when you have the final product ready to take for a spin.

Out on the road

Of course whilst you are modifying your truck you’ll want to make sure your modifications are legal to ensure you don’t encounter any unwanted problems when you hit the road.

One of the most common cosmetic works that modifiers undertake is the addition of lights to the exterior. Any lights should avoid being too bright, so as not to dazzle other drivers on the road.

Any work done on the brakes should be checked by an engineer to make sure that they are road ready. This is the last area of your truck that you will want to fail.

It is also worth remembering just how much your tyres and wheels affect the performance of your truck on the road –swapping and changing tyres will affect your vehicle’s handling, performance and braking, so make sure the tyres breadth and tread are within the law.

This might seem like a lot of work from the outset, but once complete your truck will undoubtedly give you many hours of pleasurable driving on the open road.

And no doubt other truckers on the tarmac will be enthralled by the alterations you have made to your vehicle, too.