Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra: Paint Modifications

Paint brings out the best features of vehicles. Learn about different types of paint modifications and how to achieve them.

By Piyush Kayastha - January 25, 2016

This article applies to the Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra (1984-present).

Nothing beats clean, polished paint on any vehicle, especially if the color is a rare one that isn't often produced by the manufacturer. Today, enthusiasts are able to achieve this same feeling by respraying the entire car in a different color or pattern altogether. Many owners are accomplishing this by way of spray paint, but there are pros and cons to using this method. Often, the finish is not so clear and polished. Even though there is a spray paint "clear coat" available, it is not the same thing as real clear coat and can introduce more harm from weather and debris to your vehicle. The finish comes out looking "matte" or "flat." However, this can be a desired look for many people, especially those who like military vehicles that often have a matte black finish.

Another very similar technique is using Plasti-Dip. This is quite similar to spray paint as it comes out of a can. But, when the user is tired of the finish, they can simply peel off the plastic paint and reapply a new color/finish. It's also not uncommon to see these techniques used on different panels of a vehicle like the hood, fenders, rims, or rear bumper.

Paint Modifications

"Rattle Can" is a cost effective way of upgrading the paint on the body or body parts of your vehicle. It's very commonly used to respray weathered hoods, fender flares or tail gates. Spray can brands that are most popular are Krylon and Duplicolor, often found at your local home depot or auto parts store.

Spray Paint/Rattle Can

DIY Cost$10-20

Professional Cost$2,000-3,000

Skill LevelEasy

It is wise to prep the area for repainting before spraying with a spray can. This often involves using different grades of sandpaper to bring the body or body part down to bare metal before laying down a few coats of the primer and spray paint. It is often followed up by using a "clear coat" spray paint to protect the new finish.

Painting Grille Guard

DIY Cost$10-20

Professional Cost$300-400

Skill LevelModerate

Many truck owners like to install grill guards on their trucks for offroading. Some like to paint them to match the vehicle or, if they are chrome, they often like to repaint in a satin black color. It is recommended to get this part professionally painted since it will take more abuse than most other parts of the vehicle. Although, you could also attempt to rattle can the unit in a satin black finish with multiple coats of paint plus clear.


DIY Cost$10

Professional Cost1 hour labor minus parts

Skill LevelEasy

While it's not common to see entire vehicles covered in Plasti-Dip, it can be done. Often you will see different accent parts of a vehicle colored with Plasti-Dip. Some examples are fender flares or even the hood scoops on some 4Runner/Tundra hoods. The opening has a "trim" that can be accented in a satin black color very similar to matte black spray paint.

Pro Tip

Always prep! To achieve a good finish on your painted panels, it is imperative the surface is prepped carefully ahead of time. Otherwise, you risk having to repaint the panel again in the near future.

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