My first batch of truck mods

After some intensive research on where I wanted to get my auto customization done, I decided to go with Dipped Auto Works. If you missed it from last week, I opted to purchase a lower trim on my new pick-up truck of choice because I felt like going with a higher trim was a waste of money – I could get everything I wanted on the truck aftermarket for a fraction of the price, and I didn’t even want a lot of the features of the highest trim model anyway.

I had a general idea of what I wanted, and the guys at Dipped Auto Works helped me finalize my plans. This was a two-day project; this photo is of the end of the first day:

Dipped Auto Works doing a body color match on the chrome grille

I essentially got my truck looking a lot sleeker without having to add on a sport/all-terrain package or getting upgraded wheels. Overall, this is what I ended up getting done so far:

  • Front chrome grille painted red quartz tintcoat (body color) around the edge and black on the inside – it now resembles the grille of the all-terrain trims. I personally think chrome only looks nice on black luxury vehicles and only as trim pieces and accents; I wasn’t a fan of the entire grille being chrome.
  • Side chrome trim pieces and rear chrome bumper painted red quartz tintcoat. Again, I think the shine of the chrome fits well with all-black luxury vehicles, but it seemed a little out-of-place on a deep red mid-size pick-up truck.
  • Wheels painted glossy black. I’m not a fan of sacrificing functionality for appearance, so I had no interest in actually upgrading my wheels from 17″ to something larger, as shrinking the amount of actual tire you have compromises ride quality. I also think having massive rims on a pick-up truck looks a bit silly. So, I stuck with my stock wheels, but just got them painted black.
  • Brake calipers painted red quartz tintcoat. This is something that the guys recommended, and they offered me a huge discount on it because the wheels on my truck would already be off anyway for painting, so it would be a lot easier to get it done. My wheels have relatively thick spokes so it’s not as easy to see the calipers compared to a sports car, but they’re still noticeable.
  • “Canyon,” “SLE,” and “V6” badges removed. Red quartz tintcoat is a premium color, so I see no reason to cover up more of it with random chrome pieces on the side and rear of the truck. I think that lack of chrome also makes the overall body of the vehicle look sleeker and cleaner.
  • 20% VLT ceramic tint on all side windows, clear ceramic coating on windshield. 20% is the legal limit in Nevada on the front windows for those with a medical exemption; there’s no limit for the darkness of rear windows, but I did 20% all-around because I already had privacy glass on the rear, so it ends up being far darker than 20%. I don’t want to sacrifice visibility out my front windshield, so I got a clear coating over it just for the ultraviolet and infrared protection.

I snapped some photos after I brought it back to our garage. The first photo is a full-profile shot from the front, the second photo shows a close-up of the recolored grille (I couldn’t get a better angle because of the garage door), the third photo shows a close-up of the recolored wheels and calipers, and the fourth photo shows the truck from a rear angle.

After initial batch of modifications

Close-up of grille with color-matched border and black inside (originally chrome)

Close-up of painted black wheels and red quartz tintcoat brake calipers

View from rear-left after first batch of modifications

If you’re not too familiar with what the stock 2018 GMC Canyon SLE looks like, I have a dealership-provided photo in one of my previous blog posts, “I bought a truck.”

The modified tail lights is something that I did myself earlier – I bought a pair of Razer Auto glossy black tail light covers and applied them myself using the included adhesive.




I bought a truck

Ever since moving from Illinois to California, then to Nevada, I never owned my own car. I didn’t ever really need one, as in California, I just borrowed other people’s cars, and in Nevada, I lived in a place where everything was conveniently in walking distance. When I did need to go somewhere decently far away, renting a car for a day or using rideshare services was way cheaper than covering all the costs associated with actually having a car.

However, there are some changes happening to my living situation (which I will explain in further detail sometime soon) that is requiring me to get a motor vehicle. I’m obviously not going to lease a car, because most people who know how to calculate the real numbers behind leases know it’s an absolute scam, so I started doing some research on what vehicle I wanted to purchase.

I was considering getting something affordable and compact, but I’m the type of person who would buy a vehicle and stick with it for 10+ years, so I wanted to buy one that I knew I would be happy with at least 8 years from now. If I get something too economic and cheap, I was afraid I would get sick of it after a handful of years and regret underspending on my vehicle. I also didn’t want to get something too small and compact because there is a very real chance that I will literally be married and have a kid in under 8 years, and having too tiny of a vehicle would make transportation inconvenient.

I also recently became a fan of very large vehicles thanks to the local Enterprise Rent-a-Car never having sedans available when I booked them, then giving me free upgrades to pick-up trucks and SUVs. I had driven sedans my entire life (my parents had a Buick LeSabre, Infiniti I35, and Honda Accord), and at first, because of the comparatively larger size of pick-up trucks and SUVs relative to sedans, I thought I would never be able to effectively maneuver anything other than a sedan.

But, after Enterprise repeatedly kept giving me pick-up trucks and I started getting used to them, I realized that there was a whole different world of vehicles that I was missing out on. I got used to the high ride height and ground clearance of pick-up trucks, and it boosted me up into the air enough that I could see over anything. The maneuverability was still a small problem, but I eventually got used to it, and the back-up camera was helpful as well.

Because of my positive experiences with these huge vehicles, I decided that I wanted to get a mid-size pick-up truck. I didn’t want an SUV because it had worse fuel economy due to the extra metal in the rear of the vehicle, and it had less versatility in terms of cargo. I didn’t want a full-size pick-up truck because most of them just come with higher towing and hauling capabilities and a higher price tag, and I would never even come close to towing or hauling anything near the maximum capacity of a mid-size pick-up truck, let alone a full-size one.

Within the mid-size pick-up truck category, I immediately eliminated the Honda Ridgeline because the exterior styling looked too close to an oversized sedan with a truck bed. I also immediately eliminated the Nissan Frontier because it severely lags behind the rest of the segment, and it has the worst safety scores. I ended up eliminating the Chevrolet Colorado because it’s the twin of the GMC Canyon, and if I was going to opt for that model, I might as well get the more upscale version of the truck.

Between the Toyota Tacoma and GMC Canyon, I opted to go with the GMC Canyon mainly because of aesthetics and interior functionality reasons. Everything both inside and outside the GMC Canyon appeared to be much more polished, and the Toyota Tacoma had less of an aggressive exterior appearance in terms of styling. One thing that I did think hard about was the historical reliability of the Toyota brand, but within Toyota, the Tacoma is usually considered the least reliable vehicle anyway, and I haven’t really heard of American trucks being that bad, so I decided to go for the GMC Canyon.

Stock 2018 GMC Canyon from AutoNation Henderson

I resisted going straight for the maximum Denali trim, and instead opted for the lower trim and decided to “build my own Denali.” A lot of the features of the Denali were things I did not really need, or were standard add-ons that I could just install myself on a lower-trim model for less than half the price. With availability, price negotiations, and all other things considered, I came to the decision of purchasing a truck at the SLE trim level.

The stock image above provided by the dealership is what my truck looks like right now, though I have a long list of modifications that I want to make to the truck. Some of the items that I can install myself, I plan on purchasing the parts off Amazon and working in my garage, but for everything else, I’m looking to set up an appointment with an auto customization shop within the next week or so to get that all done.