5 Ways You Can Customize a Semi-Truck

Semi-trucks and their drivers are backbone of the American supply chain. But that doesn’t mean you can’t inject some personality into your rig. After all, your truck is a testament to your truck‘s personality and can earn you the adoration of fellow truckers. These are just a few of the ways you can decorate your semi-truck.

Painted semi parked at rest stop
Painted semi parked at rest stop | plus49/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

How much does it cost to paint a semi-truck?

Depending on how big your rig is, and how detailed you want to be, a custom paint job can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000. And be sure you pick the right color/design, cause chances are you won’t want to repaint it again for a long time.

Obviously, you can’t paint your tractor-trailer if you’re driving a fleet vehicle. But if you’re an owner-operator taking unmarked cargo up and down the interstate, there’s no reason you can’t deck out your custom semi-truck with a unique color.

You can go as simple as switching the paint from one color to another or go all-in with hand-painted designs. Though, have good judgment when painting your tractor-trailer, as that color will also represent the company you’re hauling for. Chances are there are companies that don’t want bright pink semi-trucks hauling their loads.

If you want a cheaper way to add some personality to the truck, consider throwing a sticker on the back of your trailer. A personal favorite of mine is “passing side” on the left and “suicide” on the right.

Deck out your semi-truck with lights, for “safety” purposes

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Yes, lights on your semi-truck should be used to make other truckers aware of your location and size. But that doesn’t mean you can’t turn your truck into a rolling light show. Chicken lights can be stuck just about anywhere, so long as they’re amber in the front and red in the back. And simple LED light strips can be used to highlight the truck and trailer.

One avenue to be very cautious of, however, are underbody lights. While driving, those are typically illegal. Though, if you’re parked, you can flick them on at truck shows and such. However, I’d advise against flicking them on while at a rest stop, as other truckers are trying to sleep. Keep the undercarriage lights for when the truck is being showcased.

The price of light bars and bulbs will vary depending on just how much you want. There are LED strips that can be had for $25, and other lights that are in the hundreds. Just don’t blow your budget bedazzling your truck.

Chrome trim helps bring that classic look to your semi-truck

Semi-truck with chrome accents
Semi-truck with chrome accents | Tim Graham via Getty Images

In terms of semi-truck customization, chrome is an iconic choice. And luckily for you, there are chrome pieces available for almost every part of your truck, from the grille to the bumpers.

You can start small, buying chrome toolboxes and air cleaners that’ll look good while you’re fixing the semi. And those will run you a couple hundred bucks (depending on the brand of truck you drive. Peterbilt chrome parts tend to be more expensive according to Robmar Plastics). But eventually, you’ll be drawn into buying a chrome grille, bumper, and even stacks, all of which can cost upwards of $1,500 bucks a piece.

But your truck will outshine other tractor-trailer rigs on the road, and blind drivers when the sun reflects of each piece.

You spend a lot of time in the tractor-trailer cab, why not decorate it?

Driver inside tractor-trailer cab
Driver inside tractor-trailer cab | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

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Semi-truck drivers virtually live in their tractor-trailers. Why not splurge on a comfortable interior? After all, it is your personal space and should have everything you require to lead a comfortable life.

Start with the things you’ll be interacting with the most. For instance, you can either buy a seat cover or replace the chair with something comfier. The steering wheel and shifter will almost always be in your hands, so make sure they are comfortable to hold, but also fun to look at. Custom shifter knobs can be a great addition to liven up the cabin.

Also, consider the appliances you have inside the truck. After all, furnishing a house is the same as decorating it, and you want to ensure maximum comfort when you’re on the road for weeks at a time. Electric coolers, cooking stations, and laptop stands will make life easier, and more enjoyable while you’re on the road.

The wheels and fenders of your semi-truck can be spruced up and protected

Spiked semi-truck wheels
Semi-truck wheels | Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

One of the most common ways to decorate your semi-truck is to put on spiked wheels. While they work wonders for getting other drivers to steer clear of your blind spots, they’re also good for protecting your lug nuts, and keeping moisture away from the wheels.

The same goes with truck fenders, though it’s a bit more extensive. There are four main types of fenders for the rear tires of your semi-truck: full tandem, half tandem, single, and quarter. Quarter fenders are the cheapest option, but don’t look great (nor fully protect your truck from the elements). Half and full tandem fenders do the job, and make accessing your tires easier. And then single fenders for each wheel look tight and clean.

For the last two options, it all depends on preference. But don’t let anyone (other than an employer) tell you how you should or shouldn’t decorate your semi-truck. It’s your rig and practically a second home. So make it yours with these customization tips.

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