Toyota Tundra Auto Dimming Mirror

Toyota Tundra Auto Dimming MirrorHave you seen this line item on a Toyota Tundra sticker?

  • Auto-dimming mirror — MSRP $280

That’s a lot of money for an accessory you can install yourself. Thanks to “Billy Bob” of Lancaster, NY, (a TundraSolutions forum member) we’ve got the low down on the best place to buy the mirror, and some tips for installation.

Aftermarket = Savings

First — where to buy. Your local dealer will charge anywhere from $400 to $600 for these parts, but you can get the exact same Toyota parts from dnd-enterprises on eBay. One tip: Make sure to ask for the long wire cover.

Here’s the link: 2007 OEM Tundra Auto Dim Mirror w/ Homelink and Compass

Price: $229 + Shipping. You can also look at the USA-made Gentex universal mirrors. Skip the compass feature, and you can get the Gentex K2 for about $100. If you want the compass, the Gentex K5 runs about $165. Neither Gentex mirror comes with HomeLink.


Depending upon your truck, install could be either easy, or very easy. Here’s how:

  • Remove the overhead console. Should be four (4) torx-head screws.
  • There should be two plugs tucked away behind the console.
  • Check to see if the power plug provided with your mirror will fit into one of these plugs. If your truck has the right plug, you can skip the next 3 steps.
  • If not, you’ll need to figure out which wires to tap into. Don’t worry, the tap connectors are provided. First, locate the plug with three input wires (it should be clipped into a holder).
  • Using a test light or multi-tester, find the ground wire, the constant power wire, and the ignition switch power wire.
  • Using the provided in-line snap connectors, attach the provided harness to the factory wiring.
  • Remove your current rear view mirror and attach the new one. Run the wires into the liner and attach them to the kit harness.
  • Test, then make sure to cover the wires between the base of the mirror and the headliner with the wire cover.

Next, to calibrate the compass, drive around the block once or twice. The compass should self-orient.

That’s it! You’re money ahead ($50 – $130) and you have the satisfaction of knowing you improved your truck. Don’t worry about “messing something up” either — this is a common dealer installed accessory. No problems with warranty, etc. provided you buy the OEM kit.

Thanks again Bob for posting this info on TundraSolutions, and allowing us to paraphrase.

Honda Tuning Magazine’s Readers Rides

We were honored when Honda Tuning Magazine asked us to review their “Reader’s Rides” page. While we aren’t really into the “rice” scene as much as we used to be, one of our site owners, Jason, decided it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane…

To start with, here’s a pic of Jason’s old Acura:
Jason's Old 1994 Acura Integra GSR
Cool right? Lightning bolts and chrome NEVER go out of style!!

But seriously, that was a fun car for Jason. It was a 94 Acura Integra GS-R, with the VTEC B18C 4cyl. Sure, it was only 1.8L, but it had almost 180 hp. Says Jason “that car was sneaky fast — from idle, it would race to 8300 RPM in first gear in about 5 seconds. The hardest part of racing that car was shifting from 1st to 2nd as fast as you could, which you almost always had to do to win a street race because first topped out at about 45 I think. Anyways, it was fun until somebody screwed up the driver’s door trying to break into it.”

So, needless to say, Jason helped us with this review.

To start with, we don’t like the pop-up that loads when you hit the Reader’s Rides page. We’re not sure what the pop-up says (it was blocked), but we think pop-ups are SO 1997. Anyways, the site loads fast, looks good, and has quite a few pics on it. While there aren’t a lot of vehicles on it right now, it seems to be growing quickly. Our favorite car was Jale’s 2000 Honda S2000 nicknamed “Chuck Norris“. Sharp car, seems fairly stock, but the comments had us laughing out loud. Here’s a taste:

  • “Chuck” is my daily driver. When I hit bumps on the road, it feels like a roundhouse kick to the back of my head.
  • Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
  • Chuck Norris cannot love, he can only kill.

Here’s a glimpse of “Chuck”:
Jale's 2000 Honda S2000
We like the Honda Tuning Magazine Reader’s Ride section, and we encourage anyone with a Honda family product to put it up on the board.

This was a paid post. Thank you Honda Tuning Magazine!

Ipod Shuffle Blog Contest

I just found out that Brandon Hopkins is having a contest for an iPod shuffle. All you have to do is link to him and link to this site about free business cards and you

Tundra Fuel Economy: 7 Ways To Improve your Tundra MPG

Yes — we know you bought a truck. You didn’t buy it to save gas. You bought it to do stuff. We get it.

But what if there was a way to do stuff with your truck and save gas? Interested? We thought so. Here are some tips.

1) Drive like your grandmother.

Your truck burns fuel at almost twice the normal rate during hard acceleration. If you’re racing from every stop light, you’re going to burn through fuel faster than green grass thru a goose. The ideal acceleration rate for maximum fuel economy is generally agreed upon to be about 2mph per second. At that rate, it would take you 30 seconds to reach 60mph. While we don’t really believe anyone can accelerate that slowly without getting shot at (or at least flipped off), if you don’t like your gas mileage try counting to 10 or 15 seconds as you accelerate. If you’re getting to your speed any faster than 10 seconds, you’re burning more fuel than you need to.

2) Avoid high speeds.

Believe it or not, aerodynamic drag, or wind resistance, isn’t significant until you’re traveling at 40-45mph. Then, as your speed increases, aerodynamic drag starts to build up rapidly. By the time you hit 100mph, your engine is working almost entirely just to overcome aerodynamic drag. In other words, less drag at low speeds means better fuel economy — that’s why your truck gets the best fuel economy at about 55mph. If you have to go faster, realize it’s hurting your efficiency.

3) Check your tires.

Other than wind resistance, the only other major friction you must fight is your Tundra’s tires. While the best fuel economy can be had using a highway tire with a car-like tread, you can actually get good results with a more aggressive off-road truck tire as long as the tire pressure is correct. Your owner’s manual will tell you what it should be for your specific vehicle, but it’s safe to say that 32-35 psi is a good safe pressure for just about any vehicle on the road. If it drops below 30psi, you’ll see your fuel economy take a hit. Also, don’t inflate your tires to the suggested pressure printed on the sidewall — that number is usually WAY too high.

4) Don’t drop your tailgate.

Here’s another believe it or not — dropping or removing your trucks tailgate *hurts* your fuel economy. The Canadian government sponsored a study — you can read it for yourself or just believe us when we tell you to leave your tailgate in the “locked, upright position”.

5) Stay up on normal maintenance.

Not that you shouldn’t be doing this anyways, but having a clean air cleaner, oil that’s been changed within the last 5,000 miles, and making sure your check engine light is off are all great ways to save fuel. Nuff said.

6) Look for excess weight you can remove.

Are you still hauling around tires or sandbags from last winter? What about all the “stuff” that’s in the back seat or pickup bed? None of it may seem significant, but a few items can quickly add up. Eliminating an extra 100 pounds of “junk” in your car can improve your fuel economy 1-2%. Not a lot, but every bit counts. Finally, consider telling your spouse to loose weight to help with fuel economy.

7) Make fewer trips that are longer in length.

Your engine doesn’t reach peak efficiency until it’s had enough time to warm up — typically about 15 minutes. If you can take all your short errands and string them together to form one super-errand, your engine will operate more efficiently during the majority of your trip.

Toyota Tundra Truck Bed Liner Options

If you’re like most new Tundra owners, you’re seriously considering bed protection. Fortunately you have options — lots of them. Here are the highlights:

1) No Bed Liner. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it could work out just fine. But while you may not ever intend to haul anything that would damage your truck’s bed, you never know when a situation will arise and you will be forced to put something back their that damages the paint job. If you’ve got scratches in your bed, your options for adding a bed liner later get more expensive. That’s because before you add any sort of removable liner you’ll need to re-protect the bed (i.e. re-paint) so that any moisture that gets caught between your bed and your liner won’t cause your bed to rust. If you’re leasing your truck, this might be your only option.

2) Rubber Bed Mat. It’s old-school but it certainly deserves consideration. There’s no disputing thatProtecta Truck Bed Mat a heavy piece of rubber will protect the bottom of your truck bed from gouges and scratcheswhile at the same time providing a surface that has more friction than the factory bed. If you’re considering adding a rubber mat, make sure you purchase one that is fairly thick. Thin rubber mats (anything less than 1/4″) tend to “roll-up” when you’re loading the bed, making them sort of hazardous. You should also make sure that the mat you buy has a knobby bottom surface so that moisture doesn’t get trapped under the mat and lead to premature bed rust. Finally, we like mats that are pre-cut to fit your truck. Those mats you have to trim yourself never fit right and they tend to be cheap anyways. The best feature of a nice rubber mat is that it will only cost you $75-$100.

3) Plastic Bed Liner. Plastic bed liners (or “drop-ins”) fit OK, install quickly and easily, and do a nice job of protecting the bed from most kinds of damage. Plastic bed liners are especially nice if you need to slide items in and out of your truck. Plastic also won’t scratch anything you put in your bed (like furniture), and it washes out quickly and easily. The biggest disadvantage to plastic drop-in liners is that whatever you have resting in your bed can slide around at any time. Plastic is slippery, especially when wet, and we’ve seen big loads shift (even when they were properly tied down). Also, it seems like a lot of moisture and gunk accumulates under the plastic liner, requiring you to remove it and clean the bed periodically. Plastic drop-in bed liners can cost as little as $250 or as much as $400.

Herculiner Bed Liner Install Kit4) Plastic Coatings. We’ve all seen the ads — send in $49.99 and they’ll send you a gallon of special “truck bed paint” just like the pros use. Get out your roller and paint brush and you can install your own “spray-in” like bed surface on a Saturday afternoon. Bulls#&t. Unless you have experience applying this stuff, you’re probably going to screw something up. Worse, it doesn’t always bond properly to the bed, meaning big hunks will flake off at the least helpful times. While we don’t want to condemn all of these products, we haven’t ever seen it work. Proceed at your own risk.

5) Spray-In. This is by far the most popular option, and for good reason. It’s the best looking and most durable bed liner there is. The bed is sprayed with a special polyurethane “paint” that protects the bed from scratches and chemicals. The coating is permanent, the texture is rough (which keeps things from sliding), and the material is nearly indestructible. In fact, unlike every other option listed here, a spray-in liner will last forever.

Line X or RhinoLots of companies offer spray-in bed liners, but the top two are Line-X and Rhino. While you may hear lots of differing opinions about the two products, it’s fair to say that they’re basically the same stuff. However, the installers are not the same. In fact, any stories you hear about a bad Rhino or Line-X liner have more to do with the person that installed the liner than the product itself. The best way you can make sure you get a good spray-in liner is to find out how long the installer has been in business. If you have any doubts about them, get references and check them out. Your local Toyota dealer is also an excellent place to get a recommendation for a good installer. You should be able to get a quality spray-in liner with a lifetime warranty installed for $300-$400 (under rail). Over the rail should add about $50. There are other names out their in spray-ins, and we’re sure that some of them are just fine, but they’re not usually any cheaper than Line-X or Rhino so we don’t recommend them.

6) Carpet Liner. The carpet liner is usually a strong outdoor carpet with a thick rubber or vinyl backing. They’re surprisingly strong and they have the benefit of being soft. They’re especially popular with people that are going to add a camper shell to their truck. The biggest advantage to them, in addition to being plush, is that they’re removable. If you like the idea of being able to see your factory finish whenever you want to, this might be a good option for you. Cost is about the same as a good plastic bed-liner, about $350. The only thing we don’t like about these is that they don’t seem to stay attached, but that probably has to do with the way they’re installed.

You can also add plywood to your truck bed, and there are some cool commercial roll-up systems that literally unload your truck for you (like Load Handler).

Have an opinion about Tundra bed liner options? Share it!