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Everything You Wanted to Know About TRD

When you think “Mississippi” and “trucks,” you probably think “muddin'.” While Toyota's trucks and SUVs are capable from the factory, getting through mud and streams is a lot easier with some bigger tires, a skid plate, a few inches of lift and a few other upgrades. Want something that's better on the street or the race track? Then you'll probably want to find a way to get more power, quicker shifts and better handling from your car. Either way, you'll need to use some aftermarket parts. At TRDShop, we carry Toyota's own TRD parts as well as some third party items to help you get the most from your vehicle, no matter how you want to use it.

What is TRD?

Toyota Racing Development is Toyota's own in-house tuning company. Formed as a worldwide division in 1979, it was eventually split into separate operations for Japan, North America and Europe. The North American division, TRD USA, develops high performance parts for Toyota, Lexus and Scion models sold here, and they support Toyota's racing efforts including Champion Off-Road Racing (CORR,) National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and NASCAR's Truck, Xfinity and Sprint Cup series. They're most famous for their numerous wins at the Baja 1000.

TRD makes their own performance parts and works with other manufacturers like Fox to develop parts that can be used to upgrade Toyotas without significantly hindering their performance or reliability. That means their wheels retain mostly stock dimensions, their suspensions are still gentle enough for daily driving, and their power adding components won't significantly shorten the life of the engine and transmission.

What is a TRD model?

The TRD name has been used on a variety of models over the years:

From the late 1990s until the mid 2010s, TRD offered superchargers kits for everything from the Corolla to the Sequoia that maintained the vehicle's factory warranty if installed by a dealer. These kits are no longer offered, but parts and support are still available.

Standard TRD models come with some TRD parts installed straight from the factory to add to the vehicle's styling and performance. These packages are aimed at either improved off-road or street driving ability. In the case of the Tacoma, they've offered both street and off-road oriented packages.

TRD Pro models are built with high performance in mind, yet they still come with the same warranty as a regular Toyota. The Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner TRD Pro models add substantial suspension modifications to better deal with off-roading. Foreign divisions of TRD have released street-focused Pro models, but we've yet to see one of these on our shores.

Can I Use TRD Pro Parts on My Regular Toyota?

For the most part, yes. TRD Pro parts are designed to fit standard truck models, but they may not be compatible with all option combinations. For example, the 4Runner's TRD Pro skid plate can't be mounted to Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) equipped models because it will interfere with the suspension. 

Why Do You Offer Other Aftermarket Parts?

TRD's standard for delivering performance without otherwise interfering with the vehicle limits what their parts can do, and the division doesn't provide much in the way of parts support for older Toyotas that are still popular like the third and fourth generation Supra and LC80 Land Cruiser. That's why we sell quality performance parts from companies like HKS, Mishimoto, Tokico, Magnuson, Vortech and Greddy. Disappointed that TRD no longer offers superchargers? By including parts from these aftermarket sources, we're able to offer supercharger and turbocharger kits.

What Do These Parts Do?

Here's what the most common performance parts can bring to your vehicle:

A lighter wheel reduces both drivetrain weight and unsprung weight. This improves the vehicle's ride and shortens both acceleration and braking distances. Using a different size wheel can allow the use of tires that won't fit on a factory rim, including high performance street and off-road rubber.

A free-flowing intake reduces pumping losses, helping the engine make more power. Cold air intakes draw air from outside the engine bay. This cooler air is denser, which means more air enters the engine so it can make more power. Superchargers and turbochargers are both pumps that push extra air into the engine, massively increasing engine output. A supercharger is belt-driven and is relatively easy to install. A turbocharger is powered by exiting exhaust gases and requires a substantial amount of work involving the exhaust, intake and lubrication system to install.

On the other side of the engine, a free-flowing exhaust also reduces pumping losses for an increase in power, especially at high RPM. This comes at the expense of exhaust noise, but that's not a bad thing if you like the sound of your engine.

As for the engine itself, we offer cams, which increase the amount of intake and exhaust flow, as well as stroker kits for the FR-S. This can get major increases in power without having to add forced induction, which may help you get the performance you want for racing without pushing your vehicle into another group category.

Suspension systems have one of two goals. For off-road vehicles, aftermarket suspensions are designed to add articulation that helps keep the tires planted on rough surfaces, moving more easily to compensate between the height difference of the wheels. These systems are also usually designed to increase ground clearance. For street vehicles, these suspensions are built to reduce body roll, increase stiffness and lower the vehicle. This keeps the vehicle and wheels planted on paved surfaces for increased grip through corners.

Skid plates protect the underside of the vehicle, keeping rocks, tree branches and other obstacles away from sensitive mechanical components.

Along with performance-improving parts, we offer dress up parts and practical add-ons from TRD and other manufacturers, including everything from shift knobs to roof racks.

Where can I Get These Parts?

TRDShop.com carries all these performance parts as well as OEM Toyota parts, making us your one stop shop for everything Toyota. Our site lets you browse our selection based on your vehicle model or VIN, or you can search for parts using part numbers and keywords like “supercharger.” Have questions about a performance upgrade or stock part? Contact us to talk to our experienced parts people.