Top Mods To Black Out Your 5th Gen 4Runner – Buyer’s Guide

How To Black Out Your 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner

How To Black Out Your 4Runner – What Are The Best Modifications?

There’s a reason that dealerships worldwide will charge extra for things like “The Blackout Package” or “Special Midnight Edition”.

That’s because nothing emulates a more brutish sense of power, strength, and mystery like a blacked-out truck! There are almost no ninjas, elite military, or supervillains seeking global domination (naturally) dressed in plaid, green moon boots, and safety orange overalls.

Below are some of our favorite products for blacking out your ride!

Emblem Covers

5th Gen 4Runner Black Out Emblem Covers

Hands down, one of the first things that will make an extreme impact is blacked-out emblem covers. These are plastic veneers that cover the stock emblems. In most cases, the product sets will come with a few pieces of very high bond (VHB) thin adhesive tape and look factory once installed.

You might be asking yourself, “Well, don’t they make OEM blacked-out emblems?” Yes, but depending on the age of your 4Runner, removing the original emblems often will show that variance in the paint. However, emblem covers are almost non-discernible from the originals and don’t require removing them for installation.

Lastly, from a price standpoint, this is the best bang for your buck if you are starting to blackout your 4Rrunner.

PRO TIP: Wipe down (and let thoroughly dry) all of your emblems with rubbing alcohol or a cleaner to remove anything that will conflict with the adhesive.

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Valance Covers

5th Gen Toyota 4Runner Black Out Valence Covers

Valance panels are decorative covers that sit over the front and rear bumper on TRD trim levels. They’re typically painted with a contrasting tone (depending upon your year and trim level) for aesthetic reasons. For those who “murder out” (go all black) vehicles, however, the more incognito, the better.

There are a couple of things to consider when you start blacking out your valance panels:

  • Do you intend to install a modified front bumper that will likely remove this front valance piece?
  • What kind of driving or off-roading do you do, and does your valance get beat up?

If your answer to the first question is no — I’d suggest valance covers; they are just like emblem covers. Alternatively, you can cover these valances with a vinyl wrap, preferably from a reputable brand like 3M.

If your answer to the first question is yes — I’d suggest carefully taping off your valance and spray-painting it black until you remove it. You might see that solution as low-brow or tacky, but I see it as fiscally responsible as you’ll just be removing it for a bumper installation.

Regarding your answer to the second question — If you are aggressively pounding these panels day in and day out, I’d paint them with a two-part spray-in bedliner. This way, touch-ups will be as easy.

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Interior Trim Pieces

Blackout 5th Gen 4Runner Interior Mods

When it comes to interior modifications, there are countless possibilities to pursue.

PRO TIP: Consider the finish on your trim pieces; glossy, matte, or flat black. I’ve found that matte consistently looks cleaner, with minimal prints from oily fingers or fluid spills. Also, ensure that any part you buy matches your model year and trim level.

  • Steering Wheel Emblem Overlays – Whether you’re getting blinded by your chrome lasering reflections or you simply hate chrome – these overlays are a quick fix to getting your steering wheel blacked out.
  • Steering Wheel Replacement Inserts – Unlike the Toyota emblem overlay, these are replacements for the control covers.
  • Interior Accessories Kits – These replace your chrome or silver trim pieces in no time.
  • HVAC Control Knobs – Knob replacements can add a cool touch of modified design along with your favorite color.
  • Interior Door Handles – UGH! This is on my list to do simply because it feels like Toyota added too many chrome pieces on purpose.
  • Seat Covers  – Depending on your love of black or vegan-free-range Corinthian leatherette, you can swap out your seat covers, just know that you’re also going to drastically increase the chance of burning your butt if you live in the lower 48.
  • Gas & Brake Pedals – Some products are for show and some only you’ll know are there. These are if you are 150% committed to blacking out every last part of your interior.
  • Shift Box Panel Replacements – Not a fan of the silver or even faux-carbon fiber look of your factory shift box panel? They make replacements for that too.

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5th Gen Toyota 4Runner - Blackout Wheels

When it comes to the wheels, you’re making a pretty big statement unless you’re going stock. Wheels, as we all know, are the shoe fashion of the automotive world, and there are always polarizing discussions as to what’s best suited for your ride. We don’t care about that; we want it blacked out.

As you can see from the attached photos, I’ve kept the same wheels I purchased on my 2018 TRD Off-Road. Toyota does a pretty good job with their off-road wheel designs, in my opinion. But most wheels are great when they’re black, and I say that for several reasons:

  • In general, black wheels hide dirt well.
  • Black wheels (especially matte or semi-gloss) can easily cover up the occasional scrape or blemish.
  • Color names like “Gunmetal,” “Anthracite,” are just cool!

See Our Wheel Buyer’s Guide + 7 Black Wheels Setups

Lug Nuts

Black Lug Nuts For Toyota 4Runner

The funny thing about lug nuts is they’re often overlooked. I was guilty of this until I saw someone with the same wheel setup as me but with black lug nuts. Pairing those with black wheels looks so much cleaner in my opinion!

Lug Nut Seat Chart

PRO TIP: When you’re looking for black replacement lug nuts, check the seat and style of the wheels you’re working with. As noted in this graphic, the 4Runner’s OEM lug nut has a “Mag Seat” with a washer. However, many aftermarket wheel manufacturers are going to suggest the best lug nut seat type for their design. Therefore, do your due diligence to ensure proper fitment.

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Exhaust Tips

Blackout Exhaust Tips

Needless to say, exhaust and muffler tips are at the top of your list, right? Well, you might not think they’re that important, but remember, it’s about the details when it comes to blacking out your 4Runner.

PRO TIP: While small and subtle, exhaust tips can be distracting if you choose black chrome or polished black over a flat black, only to find it doesn’t jive with the rest of your modifications. If you intend to put a swing gate bumper or Jerry Can holder, flat black exhaust tips help create a unified look.

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“Raptor” Lights

Blacked Out Look Mods 5th Gen 4Runner - Smoked Raptor Lights

If you’ve come this far in the article, let’s all learn the key term for our next couple of products: “smoked.” Let the 420 jokes begin.

Instead, this is when you tint the plastic overlay rather than completely blacking it out. Therefore, little touches such as smoked “Raptor” grill lights look pretty amazing on a blacked-out build when they’re off.

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Headlights & Taillights

How To Black Out Your 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner - Headlights & Tail Lights

Let’s talk a little about blacked-out headlights and tail lights. There are typically three different ways that this is done:

  1. An overlay tint that is cut out for your factory lights.
  2. Aftermarket replacements that come with a “smoked” finish as outlined with the raptor lights.
  3. Aftermarket replacements that use blacked-out components inside and out.
  4. A bite more extreme, but you could open your headlights and paint the inner housing.

Sometimes, blacking out the details of your car is the sign of a “sleeper” (a slang term used to suggest that a car is faster than it appears on the outside). In the offroad community, it’s more for aesthetics and as a statement rather than to signify performance.

PRO TIP: I’m not going to get into this with any specificity, but check your local laws and regulations to determine whether or not you can legally black out your headlights and tail lights. These will likely get the most eyeballs from law enforcement, so please understand what you’re getting into.

See our Tail Light Buyer’s Guide + Aftermarket + Retrofitted Headlight Setups + Taillight Setups

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Shift Knobs

How To Blackout Your 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner - Shift Knobs

A custom shift knob is like a belt buckle – while most of the average Joe’s are happy with a thin black belt to hold up their pants — WE are not following that trend. So this is a part where you get to really let your personality shine through.

There are countless types of shift knobs, and to coin a terrible phrase from the automotive industry (in which I work), that goes from “mild to wild”. TrailMade shift knobs offer a unique approach and a replaceable center pin for extra customization.

PRO TIP: If you’re going after a clean look, consider OEM-style shift knobs. If you want something modern, perhaps an aluminum billet piece. Or, if you’re a billiards fanatic like me, go with what you know (seen in the photo above).

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Hood Vinyl Stickers

How To Blackout Your 5th Gen Toyota 4Runner - Hood Vinyl

My hats off to all of you who have stuck with me this far. We will be closing out this guide with vinyl for the hood. Specifically, matte and flat finishes. Why? The quick answer is simply something to contrast with a high gloss surface. When you go black on black, these finishes will give you the offset you’re looking for. More importantly, though, is that a matte/flat finish will do the best job of cutting down on reflection.

Most of us who have gone through the “aha” moment of getting laser beamed directly into our corneas, especially from the faux hood scoop, can attest that perhaps this aspect of our 5th Gen’s design was overlooked in R&D.

As seen in the image above, most purchasable products fall into one of two shapes:

  1. The hood-scoop-laser-killer-9000 (that’s not the real name). This dutifully lays over your hood scoop, creates a subtly more aggressive look, and provides protection from the dreaded glare.
  2. A more prominent’ race stripe’ or hood accent that will cover most of the surface area of the hood and thus create a bolder visual statement.

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Final Thoughts

Blacked Out 5th Gen 4Runner

Obviously, I have not covered all products and techniques that can be used to blackout your ride 100%. For example, we never even raised the hood and started talking about the engine bay! However, we did go over the most impactful areas that you (and your friends) will notice.

The most effective way to start this process is to thoroughly plan out your vision, and spend money on quality parts in areas that will see the most abuse. Also, tinting your windows is an excellent place to start. I know that one is all up to personal preference and eyesight, but I don’t want to roll around in a fishbowl.

Let me hear about some fun things you’ve done to your own ride to get Darth Vader’s attention.

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1 month ago

Is it me or does the runner in picture look a little lowered 🤔

7 months ago

I have done a few of these to my 2018 white TRD Off Road. After seeing these amazing pics I now want to do more!! Keep up the great articles!

Chris Fortunato
Chris Fortunato
7 months ago

Everyone’s favorite mods, I love the black out mods! Also good job on the article.

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