The GMC Sierra is the mechanical twin to the Chevrolet Silverado and over the past decade, the tech-heavy half-ton has routinely been one of the ten bestselling vehicles in North America. With trucks being the most popular vehicles in the United States and customization being so important to many truck owners, GMC offers worlds of customization through options, packages and GMC Sierra accessories. However, there are some things that are better purchased from the aftermarket while there are some other things that the automaker doesn’t offer.
If you have a Sierra and you are looking to make the truck better fit your lifestyle while keeping it looking great and performing its best, there are scores of options. We have put together a list of some of the best GMC Sierra accessories that can help keep your truck looking great for years and improve performance.
The GMC Sierra is too big to fit in many home garages, meaning that most of these half-ton trucks live outside. When left alone, they are assaulted by Mother Nature, both in the form of birds and whatever falls with the rain. When you add in any damage done by careless humans walking past your truck with large boxes or other cargo, the paint is constantly under attack when parked outside. You can ceramic coat it or wax it, but at the end of the day, there is only one way to really protect your GMC pickup when it is parked outside.
The Platinum Shield from CarCovers.com is the best tool for protecting the paint of your Sierra. This cover is weatherproof, so it keeps contaminants in the rain and any liquid bird waste off of your paint. The thick material on this GMC Sierra cover will help protect from rain or scratches from pedestrians walking around the truck, and come winter the Platinum Shield protects from snow and ice and makes snow removal a breeze. There is no need to scrape ice – you simply pull the cover off and away you go.
CarCovers.com offers a Platinum Shield for many generations of the GMC Sierra, all of which come with gust straps and a lock cable to keep it in place and safe from weather or thieves.
The GMC Sierra is designed to offer plenty of ground clearance, making it better in deep snow or when off-roading, but there is a downside to this. The Sierra sits much higher than most cars and SUVs, making it harder for some people to get up into the cabin. There are handles in many trucks to help people pull themselves up in, but in the long run, most half ton trucks are equipped with side step bars. You can order your truck with step bars or you can buy them from the dealership directly, but those OEM options can get pricy. Fortunately, there is a huge market for these steps, with many different options from various companies.
These side steps from Tyger Auto have a textured powder finish that makes provides grip along the entire unit while also protecting from scratches and other damage. There are also rubber foot pads located at each of the four doors for even better grip when climbing in and out of the truck. They bolt into place using the factory-drilled holes in the chassis, so they are easy to install.
Most GMC Sierra pickups come with a V8 engine, but few of them offer the throaty roar that you might expect. If you want the least expensive option to add some exhaust sound, a good exhaust shape can remove your stock mufflers, but for those who want a cleaner look from front to rear, a good cat-back GMC Sierra exhaust system is the way to go. There are many companies that sell complete bolt-up kits for the Sierra, but one of the biggest names in the industry is Borla.
The Borla Touring cat-back system is technically the exhaust company’s quietest option, but it is markedly louder than the factory pipes. This exhaust system will add some grumble across the engine speed range, but it does so without any drone on the highway. It also isn’t so loud that all of your neighbors will hate you when you leave for work in the morning.
The bottom line is the Borla cat-back exhaust is one of our favorite GMC Sierra accessories.
If you want to add some power to your GMC Sierra, one of the easiest ways to increase output is to let the engine breathe a bit easier. A high flow air filter is the simplest approach, but many companies offer a cold air intake for the half-ton GMC trucks. This system replaces the entire factory intake system, removing any unnecessary angles or obstructions with a straighter shot from the filter to the throttle body. When coupled with the added flow of the conical air filter, this cold air intake kit will add a few extra horsepower along with adding some engine roar.
In addition to the straighter air path and better air filter, this K&N kit comes with a filter housing that shields it from the heat of the engine, helping to draw in cooler air from the area around the headlight.
When it comes to improving performance, the K&N cold air intake is one of the best GMC Sierra accessories you can add.
If you do any off-roading with your GMC Sierra, or if you drive on unpaved roads, you are likely familiar with the mess that can be made by the tires kicking debris up onto the paint. Beyond just the messy mud, your tires can kick up rocks and other debris which can damage the paint, leading to accelerated corrosion. There are lots of molded plastic splash guards, similar to what you can order from the dealership, but those don’t hold up well to off-roading. They aren’t flexible, so if you get them hung up on a log, they are going to break.
These rubber mats from Luverne are a great option for any GMC Sierra owners who spend lots of time off-road. These are proper, heavy duty truck mats, made of flat, thick rubber with a metal plate at the bottom. These will keep rocks and mud from kicking up onto the body, but when you climb over a tree of drop over the edge of a mud hole, they will bend rather than breaking.
Most GMC Sierra pickups produced over the past three decades have come with aluminum wheels rather than steel. Aluminum wheels look nicer than hubcaps, but they also weigh less than steel wheels, effectively improving performance and efficiency. Aluminum wheels also won’t rust, so they will generally last longer than steel wheels. The downside to aluminum wheels is that aluminum scrap is valuable, making these wheels a popular target of thieves. It doesn’t even matter how new or old the vehicle is; aluminum scrap is always valuable and that leads to wheel theft pretty much everywhere in North America.
Fortunately, there is an easy way to slow or ward off thieves and that is a set of wheel locks. This set from Dorman comes with a factory-style lugnut, but rather than a normal six-sided bolt, there is a unique pattern. The set also comes with a special key socket that has the negative pattern of the wheel lock nuts, allowing you to easily remove the wheel locks.
The newest GMC Sierra has one of the most advanced headlight systems on the market and in recent years, all General Motors vehicles have gotten improved headlight technology. However, most factory-equipped headlights aren’t as bright as aftermarket bulbs. If you have an older Sierra and you want brighter factory lights, you can install an expensive HID kit that includes intricate wiring, or you can buy a good set of headlight bulbs.
Sylvania is one of the biggest names in the world of aftermarket headlights and the Silverstar Ultra is one of their brightest bulb lines. The Silverstar Ultra is brighter than most factory headlights, but these Sylvania headlights also create a wider path of light, better illuminating the sides of the road where you might see pedestrians or wild animals.
Since being able to see and be seen are paramount to safe driving, the Sylvania Silverstar Ultra headlight bulbs are one of the smartest GMC Sierra accessories you can add to your truck.
Many GMC Sierra owners use their trucks for things that result in the interior getting dirty. Whether it is a daily driver to and from a muddy worksite, picking up a kid from football practice with muddy cleats or a dog with muddy paws after a hike in the woods, there is lots of potential to track slop into the cabin. The factory carpeted floor mats will help to some extent, but over time, mud and water will soak through the factory mats into the carpeting. Once the carpeting is stained, it is very difficult to clean.
These Oedro floor mats are the best way to protect your carpeting from everyone’s muddy feet or spilled drinks. Each mat set is custom made for the vehicle in question, with a perfect fit across each footwell area and raised sides to contain fluids. To clean to mats out, you just pull them out and rinse them off.
The 2021 GMC Sierra 1500 is available with five different engine options. The entry level engine is a naturally aspirated, 4.3-liter V6 that offers 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. If you want a touch more power with better fuel economy, the next step up is the 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. If you want a combination of big torque and big MPGs, the 3.0-liter Duramax turbocharged diesel inline-six with 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque is your best bet while the two V8 engines offer the most power overall. The 5.3-liter V8 with delivers 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque while the top-of-the-line 6.2-liter V8 packs 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque.
GMC’s half-ton pickups officially got the name Sierra beginning with the 1988 model year. While GMC had been making similar trucks for decades prior, the introduction of the name for 1988 makes that the first generation of the GMC Sierra. That generation, known internally at General Motors at GMT400, ran through the 1998 model year.
The second generation GMC Sierra was introduced for the 1999 model year and continued through 2007, which included some overlap with the third generation, which ran from 2007 through 2014. The Fourth generation was introduced for the 2014 model year and continued through 2018 while the current, fifth generation Sierra came to market for the 2019 model year.
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