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F-150 Exterior Trim Overview

By:  Connor MC  / Jun 18 2019
F-150 Exterior Trim Overview

So, you have an F150, and you want to ball out. The good news is you’re half way there (you already own an F150). There are a lot of aftermarket exterior accessories that will tastefully dress up your F150 without necessitating irreversible modification or exorbitant amounts of cash.

Shop F150 Exterior Trim

While many F150 owners have picked their truck for the utilitarian work aspect that the platform has to offer, there are plenty ways to make your workhorse stand out from every other truck on the road/worksite. By upgrading the exterior you can elevate your truck's form to complement its function. With plenty of options, styles and designs to choose from you can find the perfect personality for your truck.

Shop Exterior Trim

Chrome Cover Accents

Whether you’re a fan of modern rap or instead think of it as talentless noise, the one thing these rappers certainly seem to get right in their music videos is trucks and chrome go hand in hand. Chrome bull bars, side steps, door handles and more –  all look quite handsome on an F150 whether it has a light or dark paint scheme. The unfortunate part is Ford reserves the high end chrome trim for top end appearance packages (think King Ranch, Lariat, Platinum models) that really run up the price of the pickup.

If you find yourself in the “go chrome” group but don’t want to shell out factory prices for some extra bling, the aftermarket has you covered. Door handle covers, mirror covers, side post covers, tail gate trim accent – all of these pieces are presently manufactured and sold for those F150 owners that like everything about the King Ranch, Lariat, and Platinum trucks but the price.

Precisely measured and molded for a specific year F150 to ensure a tight and seamless fit, these exterior accessory covers are an extremely inexpensive and easy to install upgrade. Often constructed from ABS plastic and covered with a multilayer chrome coating, these covers are highly resistant to impact and weather – surprisingly durable for such lightweight pieces. Another major benefit of these types of accessory covers is they are a cover. As an example, if you want to add a chrome appearance to your side mirror housing, you don’t need to replace the entire assembly. Rather, these OE-fit covers adhere right over the mirror, producing the chrome look you’re after but without a hefty price tag. And if one day you decide you don’t like the look anymore, you can simply remove these covers, wipe away residual adhesive material, and you’re back to stock!


Mirror, Window Sill, and Door Handle Chrome Accents

Chrome Fender Trim

Another staple of F150 luxury is chrome fender trim. From tenth generation (1997-2003) to present day F150s, various aftermarket companies manufacture chrome or polished fender trim. In fact, the latter is more common place today as opposed to traditional chrome. The swing towards polished stainless steel fender trim is derived mainly from a durability standpoint. Hugging the lip of the fender, any trim piece there is certainly subject to a lot of road dirt and grime, providing plenty of opportunity for rust and corrosion to set in. Chrome is highly subject to rust and corrosion, whereas stainless steel is not, making it the better choice for a trim piece in such a location. 
When purchasing a set of fender trim for your F150, verify that it is indeed for your model. F150s can have different fender dimensions or styles based on trim level – even between the same year F150. For proper fitment, always dry fit the trim first before attempting to install.

On that note, there are a couple of common techniques to install the fender trim. All accessory stainless steel fender trim can be installed by drilling and screwing it in place. Some manufacturers include a system wherein the trim can securely mount via special tabs, saving you the effort (and risk) of drilling into the fender. If your F150 is missing this iconic look, the vast entity that is the aftermarket will surely come to your rescue.


Chrome Fender Flare Accents

F150 Fender Flares

Fender flares offer a different type of “ball out”. Instead of the traditional handsome look that chrome provides, fender flares provide a more rugged and aggressive look to your pickup. If chrome trim is like a glass of smooth Johnny Walker, than fender flares are like a hit of Jack Daniels (both of which are a great time, by the way). Furthermore, unlike many other accessories, fender flares are not only an aesthetic modification – they serve a very useful function. They provide additional tire coverage, which is paramount for F150s that like to taste the off-road and use a large and chunky all-terrain tire to do so. In many states it is illegal to have the tire stick out of the fender well. Fender flares, available in many different widths from a meager 1.5” of extra coverage to a wide body 4” of coverage, easily circumvent this issue and look good in doing so.

Most commonly finished in a textured or smooth matte black, fender flares are made of ABS plastic and will sometimes come with non-functional metal rivets along the upper perimeter to add to the rugged off-road look. If black fender flares aren’t to your fancy, many of them can also be painted to match your F150’s factory color. Like the fender lip trim, fender flares can install via drilling and screwing or specialty tab and clip systems.


Pocket Style Fender Flares

F150 Side Steps and Running Boards

Ah, yes, the side step. Another classic accessory, that in my opinion, every F150 should have. Great to facilitate entry and exit from your pickup, side steps or running boards look oh-so-sleek mounted below the rocker panels. Available in round, oval, or rectangular configurations, side steps and running boards also have the extra benefit of protecting the rocker panel and door base from out-of-control shopping carts, road curbs, and small trail obstacles. Chrome or polished versions provide an elegant, country club vibe to the pickup (match with fender trim or painted fender flares), whereas newer blacked out versions are intended to provide a more rugged, off-road look (match with unfinished black and riveted fender flares).

Older model F150s will likely need holes drilled in order to mount the retaining brackets for a set of aftermarket side steps or running boards. Newer F150s often have the holes pre-dilled from the factory, making installation a simple bolt-on affair. Regardless, installing a set of side steps or running boards is a relatively straightforward process that is easily accomplished by the DIY-er with access to basic tools (socket set, wrenches, drill).


Stainless Steel Side Steps

One Good Looking Truck

Thanks to the aftermarket, you don’t need to be big money Weezy in order to ball out. Or in non-rapper terms, customizing the appearance of your F150 with some tasteful and classy addition of chrome exterior trim is something that can be achieved on a budget and without permanent modification to your F150. For most accessory trim pieces, they are firmly adhered or clipped in place, making removal simple and easy should you decide one day to revert back to stock. While I cannot advocate actually speeding, a nice thing about chrome, in particular, is that it always gives the impression of doing 90 in a 65 thanks to its brilliant look.


Chrome Accents Stainless Steel Side Steps & Bed Cover
Fitment includes: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XLT, Lariat, Lightning, KingRanch, HarleyDavidson, STX, FX2, FX4, Limited, SVTRaptor, Platinum, FXTremor