The Toyota Tacoma is a pickup truck that’s been in continuous production since the 1995 model year. It was originally a compact pickup, although it has been classified as a midsize pickup since 2005. The Tacoma is currently in its third generation, which has been in production since 2015. The stock version of the 2021 Tacoma is off-road capable, but enthusiasts often add aftermarket off-road equipment like heavy-duty suspension, larger tires and built-in camping gear. Improved braking systems are also essential for taking a Tacoma on an off-road adventure.
The third-generation Tacoma is available in six trims, including the TRD Off-Road, which features a terrain select mode that allows you to customize the vehicle’s driving characteristics for specific terrain like mud, loose rock and sand. It also has a Crawl mode for rough terrain, in which the driver steers the vehicle while it automatically manages acceleration and braking. Additional features of the TRD Off-Road trim include an easy-lowering tailgate and blind-spot monitoring system.
The last significant change for the Tacoma was in 2020, when it received an updated suspension, rear axle and rear differential that will improve ride comfort while still keeping this model off-road capable. The suspension height and ground clearance is now the same for the 2WD and 4WD versions of the 2021 Tacoma. The most recent facelift for the Tacoma also includes a power-adjustable driver’s seat and panoramic monitor for the Limited Double Cab configuration.
Aftermarket Off-road Equipment
Off-roading enthusiasts often focus on adding more power, while neglecting stopping power. Higher suspension and larger tires are great upgrades for climbing steep hills, but you’ll need better brakes to come back down. Brake components to consider upgrading for off-roading include pads, rotors and calipers.
Brake pads are contact surfaces made of some high-friction material backed by a steel plate. They’re one of the least expensive ways to add some stopping power. Ceramic pads can add up to 20 percent more braking force for a Tacoma compared to OEM pads, along with better fading resistance. Other materials to look for in aftermarket brake pads include carbon fiber and semi-metallic materials.
Rotors are round metal plates that the brake pads attach to. They’re readily available for the Tacoma in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, along with vents, or slots, to reduce heat. This feature is particularly important in off-roading because overheated brakes will fade, meaning you have to press the brake pedal harder to get the same amount of braking force. When this happens while coming down a long, steep hill without resting, you can get into trouble if you put the brake to the floor without slowing the truck down.
Aftermarket brake manufacturers now slot and cross-drill rotors to improve airflow, thus dissipating heat more effectively. These features also improve braking during wet conditions by helping to drain water away from the contact surface, which prevents hydroplaning. Slotted rotors are therefore essential for off-roading, especially steep descents
Calipers and Drums
Calipers provide the braking power for the front wheels of most modern vehicles. They contain the brake pads and are connected to the vehicle’s hydraulic system. Pressing the brake calipers pushes hydraulic fluid to the calipers, causing small pistons to squeeze the pads against the rotor. Stronger calipers provide greater resistance to fading and improve braking in wet conditions.
Like most modern vehicles, the 2021 Tacoma uses drums to slow the rear wheels. They’re less expensive and generally don’t provide as much stopping power as calipers, which usually isn’t a problem when stopping on paved surfaces. However, off-roaders who need all the braking force they can get may want a drum-to-caliper conversion kit for the rear wheels of their Tacoma.
Big Brake Kit
Finally, the Big Brake Kit. If you’re taking your Toyota Tacoma off-road and you want the best performance out of your vehicle, this is the mother of all solutions to get your rig to stop when you absolutely need it to. Supercharge your car with our Big Brake Kit, which boosts both the look and performance of your vehicle. When you upgrade your vehicle’s stock parts, you need a more powerful braking system where all the components work together to help you stop quickly without straining your system.
The brake caliper is the driving force behind your brake system (or rather, the stopping force). Calipers press the brake pads against the rotors to slow your wheels. If your calipers and rotors are not big enough, it will take longer for your vehicle to stop. Our calipers grip intensely for the fastest possible stop from high-speed driving or if your rig is facing a steep incline/decline and you need to hold position.
R1 Concepts’ larger, more powerful brake pads perform better in all weather conditions. The more powerful brake rotors withstand the pressure without overheating, so they last longer and contribute less wear and tear to the overall system.
Finally, our Big Brake Kits are big and powerful. The bolt-on design makes for easy installation, although stock wheels may not be large enough to accommodate these brakes (bigger wheels or spacers may be required). You may request a template to confirm fitment of your wheels. R1 Concepts is not liable for wheel fitment.
If you’re interested in R1 Concepts’ Big Brake Kit please visit our website here and get a quote today!
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