It was in the spring of 1968 when the debut of the over 50 years old Toyota series (HiLux) occured. Now in its 8th generation, the pickup started as a bonnet-type truck with a payload capacity of 1000kg and a 1.5 litre engine. The 3rd generation HiLux started to branch out, meaning it was available in three standard length models and four long-body models. Today, the HiLux is available as a Ute and an SUV version with various cab options with the former and rugged accessories with the latter. But although these accessories are seen as an added bonus, there are some that once you get to use you won’t be able to ride without.
Must Have 4×4 Accessories
The underbody of every vehicle has essential driveline components for proper functioning and basic operations. Whilst there is some sort of protection down there, incorporating Toyota HiLux parts and accessories that act as additional protection is never a bad idea and one of those parts and accessories is the bash plate. This is basically a piece of metal that covers these vital parts, like the oil pan and differentials as it keeps them safe from rocks, water, pebbles and other obstacles on or off the road.
These plates can be made of mild, stainless steel, or aluminium. Mild steel plates are usually 3-4mm thick and require a coating that will protect from corrosion. Stainless steel plates are the best when it comes to strength and corrosion protection, but they cost more than the same thickness mild steel plate. Aluminium bash plates are lighter than both mild and stainless steel plates but they need to be thicker if you want the same strength as steel plates.
Like the piece of metal above, this one is also made to protect vital components but this time it’s about the ones at the front of the vehicle. The engine bay is the first vital part (combination of parts) that is exposed to impact either form an animal, a tree or a rock.
Bullbars are the best type of Toyota HiLux parts and accessories for protecting the front of your HiLux as they not only reduce the effect of these impacts but they are also very practical too. You can easily mount additional lights and winches onto them – useful for the regular off-roader. But if you are more of a inner city/ suburban driver, you should go with a nudge bar which is basically a more pedestrian-friendly version of a bullbar. There are legal requirements and regulations that you have to take into account.
The point of mounting protective Toyota HiLux accessories that only cover a small portion in the front is to prevent stone chips and bugs from hitting the windshield. With a proper bonnet protector, you can also improve vehicle aerodynamics, which leads to better fuel efficiency. While this isn’t that noticeable, it is still a great addition for your HiLux. Some call them bonnet guards or even bug deflectors.
The best bonnet protectors are made of aerospace-grade acrylic which prevents cracks and it’s made to last a long time and the installation usually requires no drilling. But before you get to all the fancy stuff, you should look for a protector that matches the make and year of your HiLux.
Whilst the main purpose of side steps is to make entering and exiting the vehicle more convenient, they also act as protection for the vehicle’s side panels. There are one-piece side steps that are made to assist you when entering and exiting your vehicle and offer optimal foot grip. Rock sliders are basically tubes that go from the front to the rear wheel and serve only as protection from large rocks and road debris.
Side rails and steps are two very similar Toyota HiLux aftermarket accessories with the former being a tubular steel rail that runs from the bullbar and all the way to the rear wheels. There’s high grip sheeting between the sill and the bar under the doors to prevent accidents. The latter can be integrated with side rails if they came pre-installed on your vehicle. Electric side steps are made only for easy entry and exit as they automatically extend once the door is opened and retract when you close it.
How to Engage 4WD in a Toyota HilLux
The control switch positioned to the right of the wheel has three stops labelled H2, H4 and L4. H2 (high speed, two-wheel drive) is best for fuel economy and comfort and when you want to switch to H4 (high speed, four-wheel drive) which is ideal for off-road driving on snow and ice, you can do so on the go at a speed of up to 100 km/h. By turning the switch to H4, an indicator light with for wheels connected to each other will start flashing and it will stay illuminated once it engages.
When going through steep and slippery hills, you’ll want to switch to L4 (low speed, four-wheel drive) for better traction and pulling power. In order to engage this mode, you’ll need to come to a full stop and depress the clutch or select neutral if your vehicle has automatic transmission. Then you’ll push and turn the switch to engage L4 which will case the 4LO indicator light to start flashing and stay illuminated once the mode is engaged. The same should be done when you want to go back to H4 or H2 – just depress the clutch or select neutral while stationary and turn the switch back to the desired mode, the light will flash until it goes off. The same goes for the other two modes.