It’s been the most popular vehicle in America for decades. You can’t take a trip to the grocery store without seeing another one. The Ford F-150 is unquestionably America’s truck. And this year, Ford made it 700 lbs lighter with aluminum bodywork, improving the gas mileage and making it even more desirable. But sometimes your F-150 can be like a needle in a bin of needles. It’s time to make it stand out with some cool aesthetic mods while improving its overall functionality. Today we’re going to look at a handful of simple, easy to install parts that will transform your 2015 Ford F-150 from America’s truck into your truck.
Remember, these parts are specific to the exact truck we’re using a 2015 F-150 XLT Crew Cab with a 5.5′ bed. Your F-150 mods may vary depending on your specific truck. If you have any questions about the specific parts you need, drop them in the comments section below, or give us a call at 877.787.8989, and our expert American techs will be happy to help you out.
Your F-150 could look like every other F-150 on the road, or it could look like a fully weaponized MRAP ready to plow through the fabric of time. We’re going to opt for the latter, and getting it there is easier than you might think. Bolting up a pair of Fab Fours Vengeance bumpers will do it in no time. Fab Fours gave the Vengeance a sharp, stealthy look all around, with bladed angles and a flat black, multi-powdercoated finish. That protective layer doesn’t just look cool, it fends off salt, moisture, and acidic bug guts that would try to eat away at your investment.
Out front, the Vengeance comes with an integrated pre-runner grille guard for extra coolness and protection. Below this, you’ll find a ready-made mount for a 20″ LED light bar. The bar (not included) mounts inside the bumper, creating a flush, uniform look. On either side of this there are pods for even more lights. The whole bumper only weighs 75 lbs. The result is a lightweight bumper that’s both cool and super functional.
That functionality remains for the Vengeance rear bumper, too. It’s also lightweight, tipping the scales at just 65 lbs. There’s plenty of clearance for your factory hitch, and like the front, it also includes two pods for lights. With both bumpers in place, the look of your F-150 will shift dramatically.
Now let’s get that lighting in place. There’s no use having a light mount in your bumper without a light. We recommend this hybrid/flood E-Series 20″ LED light bar from Rigid Industries. It features 40 high-powered LEDs for a combined total of a blazing 9,200 lumens, 38,000 candela, and 380 lux at 10 meters. It has a beam distance of 390 meters and a 20 degree flood pattern. This light bar will bring quite a lot of day to your night.
The E-Series was the very first projected LED light bar in the industry, and Rigid has only improved it since, torture testing it to prove its durability. And it worked. The LEDs themselves are rated for a lifespan of 50,000 hours, longer than you’ll probably ever use them. Rigid wanted to make sure you could make full use of those hours, so they made everything about the light as hardcore reliable as they could.
The lens is formed of a high-tech polycarbonate material that is unbreakable and heavily scratch resistant. It will probe strong through the winter, when road salt is pummeling the surface every time you get on the highway. The housing is fully powder-coated to fend off corrosion, though it wouldn’t rust anyway, since it’s made of strong, lightweight aluminum.
See, we weren’t kidding about the toughness.
Finally, they had to deal with heat. In the most basic terms, LEDs convert a small amount of electricity into a large amount of light, and this generates a ton of heat. As we know, with anything, heat causes wear. So Rigid turned the entire rear of the E-Series housing into a giant heat sink, effectively drawing away heat from the more delicate internal circuitry. But the air inside the sealed housing still gets hot, and hot air expands. Since this heat could cause any of the waterproof seals to pop like a balloon, Rigid included a pressure equalizing vent that lets hot air out but doesn’t let water in. An of course, Rigid designed and builds the E-Series right here in America.
Generally we need more light ahead than we need behind, since we do most of our driving forward, unless we’re Hollywood stunt drivers. But this isn’t always the case. We need bright lights behind us, too, when we’re backing up and when we’re working behind the truck. Your normal reverse lights do okay for the backing up, but what if you’re hitching up your trailer? We don’t recommend working back there while the truck is in reverse. You’ll get hurt.
Instead, install this clever hitch light from Bully. It’s remarkably simple. Pull the hitch out of your 2″ receiver, slide the hitch light onto the shaft of the hitch, and slide the hitch back into the receiver. (Don’t forget the pin.) Then just splice in a couple of wires to your truck’s existing harness, and you’re left with a brilliant light out back you can use whenever you need it.
You have options, too. You can rig it with a switch, to turn on and off at need, or you can rig the switch to your reverse lights, so you can use the hitch light as another reverse light for extra safety. The included pictorial instructions will walk you through everything. The part includes two bright, 70 watt lights so you can always see what you’re doing.
Let’s get back to your truck’s aesthetic for a moment. The bumpers were functional, but they also looked tough. What else can we add that serves both purposes? What about your truck’s flanks? Add a set of Bushwacker Pocket Style fender flares to complete the tough and ready look. If you’ve read more than a couple of posts on this blog, you’ll know that we recommend the Pocket Style on almost every truck we write about, but there’s a reason for that. They’re simply the best flares you can get on the market.
Functionality is covered. If you want to install wider wheels and tires on your F-150, most states will require you to widen fenders to match. The quickest, least expensive, and easiest way to do this is with a set of fender flares from Bushwacker. Even if you don’t install wider tires, the Pocket Style will offer extra protection for your paint, so you don’t have to crawl down those gravel roads at a glacial pace. They’re extremely durable, made of Bushwacker’s secret blend of high-strength, flexible ABS plastic. So durable, in fact, that Bushwacker has warrantied them for life against cracking or breaking.
They’re even easy to install. Though the hardware “pockets” do contain actual stainless steel screws, this is just a throwback to the days of handmade flares. The screws are simulated fasteners only, and don’t actually attach the flares to your truck. This is all done with modern hardware fittings within the wheel well. That means you don’t have to drill and expose your truck to rust, and you don’t have to spend hours fitting them. There’s also a rubber weather strip included to prevent water from carrying dirt or salt between the flares and your truck body, thus preventing rust and paint wear.
And the look is also covered. There are literally no pickup trucks on the planet manufactured after about 1985 that don’t look better with a set of Pocket Style flares slapped on. It’s just science. The hardcore look of the bolt pockets, the wider stance, and the perfect, custom fit, aligning to the exact contours of your truck – the look just turns heads. But Bushwacker decided to take it a step further. They noticed that many truck owners were painting their flares to match the truck’s paint color for a more factory look. This, of course, is a bit of a job. You have to hunt down the exact paint in the first place, rough down the flares, prep everything in a clean environment, and spray on several coats until you’re happy. Then there’s the clearcoat and the wax.
Bushwacker decided to just take care of it for you. For the first time ever, they’re offering the pocket style pre-painted. They got ahold of Ford and tracked down the exact paint codes to match your factory finish. So far they have fenders available in Oxford White, White Platinum, Tuxedo Black, Ingot Silver, Magnetic, and Ruby Red. Don’t worry about painting them yourself. Or, if you’d just like to leave them bare, flat black to match your bumpers, the unpainted flares are available, too.
Now about those wheels and tires. Let’s beef them up a bit, shall we? Few mods can improve the look of a truck like bigger wheels and tires, and we found just the right set for your F-150. This Gunner 20″ satin black unit from Ultra Wheels offers the perfect, complimentary look to your hard-edged truck. It features a unique saw blade design within the spokes and has spot-milled dimple accents to warrant further study. The simulated beadlock design keeps the coolness without dealing with the hassle. The Gunner is made of alloy aluminum for light weight and no corrosion.
The perfect shoe for this foot is the Mickey Thompson Baja STZ radial tire. It features side scallops for varied grip in the mud, regular siping for great snow performance, and alternating, multi-draft lug angles to help you grab on no matter where you are. Regular bridges promote self-cleaning within the tread and increase lug stability.
But what if you don’t want to go big? The stock wheels are 17,” so why mess with a good thing just for a good look? You don’t have to. These 17″ KMC XD Rockstar wheels feature a black finish with silver accents around the hub and outer rim. Like the 20″ option, the Rockstar is crafted of aluminum for strength, lightness, and corrosion resistance.
And to replace the stock tires with something a little more suited to rugged conditions, without increasing the size, check out this Dick Cepek Fun Country tire. It offers superior traction off-road and a quiet ride on-road. It features stone-ejection ribs to improve self-cleaning and a three-ply sidewall for extra strength off-road. Notched shoulder edges and scalloped ribs offer great hold in low-traction environments,
With just a few F-150 accessories, we’ve transformed the look of your truck from another anonymous copy of America’s pickup to something your own and unforgettable. Come back next week when we show you our favorite F-150 upgrades for the truck bed.
What are your favorite exterior Ford truck accessories?
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.