Top 5 Upgrades For A New Truck


So you bought a new truck?

Often customers ask us where to start when modifying their truck. It truly depends on how you plan to use your truck but for this article we are going to focus on daily driving and mild off-road use. If you are interested in getting the best off-road performance out of your truck then browse our Build Packages section for inspiration. The mods that we’ll be talking about in this article will improve off-road handling, lift or level the truck, give it an aggressive appearance, and not affect your towing capacity. In addition they all can be purchased and installed by us at our facility in San Diego California.

1. Upper Control Arms (UCA's)

The most common thing people want to do after purchasing a new vehicle is lift it. There is a right way and a wrong way to lift a vehicle. The wrong way is cheap initially but ultimately costs more in long run. Coil spacers are the cheapest option to lift the vehicle but they make the shock too long causing the suspension to over articulate. This leads to premature ball joint wear and even failure if not caught in time. The correct and safe way to lift a vehicle is to purchase aftermarket upper control arms and shocks. The purpose of the aftermarket upper control arms is to provide additional down travel so it doesn’t restrict the amount lift that the shocks provide. The upper control arms also have increased castor so the truck can be within alignment specs after lifting the vehicle. Those are the primary advantages to aftermarket arms. The added benefit of Dirt King upper control arms is they’re built to withstand off-road abuse. Our ball joint upper control arms are the best balance of quality and price. They’re 100% manufactured in USA and all the wearable components are rebuildable or replaceable for a product that will last a lifetime.

2. Upgrade Your Shocks

Now that we’ve explained the purpose of the upper control arms let's talk about the different types of shocks. There are 2.0” diameter shocks, 2.5” diameter shocks, and even 3.0” diameter shocks. For daily driving and average off-road use we recommend 2.5” shocks. The 2.0 shocks have small internals and less fluid causing them to perform poorly off-road. The 3.0” shocks perform great off-road but there is a lot of fluid to displace which makes the on-road ride quality more harsh. As for shock brands there are a lot to choose from. With our experience we recommend Fox. The 2.5” Fox coilovers are direct bolt-on OEM replacement shocks intended for maximum performance. These coilovers are specifically designed to optimize off-road performance without compromising on-road handling. The Fox 2.5” shocks eliminate the vehicle's forward rake, providing a level ride height without hindering droop travel and increases the suspension travel. The front coilovers for most models are adjustable up to 3” of lift. They also have a DSC (dual speed compression) adjusters that allow you to fine tune the ride quality to your preference.

3. Wheels

When choosing wheels you will need to decide if you want to purchase beadlock wheels or non beadlock wheels. The advantage of beadlock wheels is they prevent the tires from separating from the bead during extreme off-roading or with very low tire pressure. The disadvantage to beadlock wheels is they’re very expensive and not DOT approved. Non beadlock wheel are most commonly what people choose. A growing trend are the simulated beadlocks. They look identical to the traditional beadlock wheels except they’re a one piece wheel vs a two piece wheel. In addition the simulated beadlock wheels are DOT approved and more affordable. The other things to consider when purchasing wheels are diameter and offset. Those two things can make or break the look of a vehicle. There are also a lot of problems that could arise from the wrong offset or diameter such as uneven tire wear, wheel contacting the vehicle, and tires rubbing on the firewall. If you’re unsure it’s best to call our experienced staff to recommend what’s best for your vehicle. Our most popular brands are KMC, Method, Raceline, Innov8, and Fuel.

4. Tires

When it comes to tires we primarily work with three brands: Toyo, BFG, and Nitto. Each brand has different tread patterns and compounds for different terrain. There is M/T tires (Mud Terrain), R/T tires (Rugged Terrain), and A/T tires (All Terrain). M/T tires perform great off-road but are noisy and sometimes rough on-road. A/T tires drive great on road and have a long lifespan but don’t have the best traction off-road. The R/T tires are the best balance between the two. They drive good both on road and off-road. They also have a more aggressive look compared to the A/T tires. Our personal preference between the three top brands are the Toyo R/T tires. The last thing to discuss is tire size. Like the wheels this can make or break the look of the vehicle. For most vehicles there is a lot of good info on forums about tire size but if you're still unsure contact us. We can suggest the correct tire size depending on your vehicle and preference.

5. Bumpers

Aftermarket bumpers are the finishing touch to personalize your truck and give it an aggressive look. These bumpers aren’t just for looks, they provide great protection. Take a look at the video showing a truck equipped with a Dirt King bumper get rear ended. The result was minor damage on the truck and the other driver that caused the crash totaled their car. We offer front and rear bumpers for several makes and models. If we don’t have what you’re looking for we can either custom build one off your vehicle or point you in the right direction. Everyone one has their own preference when it comes to bumpers. Our preference is clean and simple.

5. Recap

Without going into too much detail we have outlined the pros and cons of different products depending on the type of use. Dirt King Fabrication’s primary focus is building multipurpose trucks using quality products that you can trust. If you’re looking to have an off-road capable daily driver with an aggressive look then we recommend our upper control arms, Fox 2.5” shocks, a set of non beadlock wheels that appeal to you, Toyo R/T tires, and aftermarket bumpers. Dirt King is owned and operated by off-road enthusiasts and we’re happy to educate you with what we know. If you’ve made it this far in the article and like our brand then show some support and check out our merch! If you have any question or are just bored at work and want to talk trucks then give us a call or email. (619) 944-8913 /

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