Truck Shows: How to Drive Home a Winner

truck show preparation tips

You just booked a truck show, and you have your eye on the prize. You’re already daydreaming about the glorious truck you’ll build and about taking home the trophy. 

How do you get from here to the winner’s block? Because truck shows are all about uniqueness and ingenuity, there’s no step-by-step path to first place. Still, our team at LKQ Heavy Truck knows a thing or two about show trucks and semi-truck accessories, so start with these top tips.

1. Rethink the Basics

To win at a truck show, you need to stand out. One way to do that is to question all the basics and assumptions you have about truck design. You can achieve a stunning truck simply by changing shapes and forms that have stayed the same for eons. For example, one of our favorite show trucks from our team’s past is a truck in which the traditional square bumper was thrown out. Instead, a customized sleek, sloped bumper was used that mirrors angles throughout the rest of the truck.

2. Find Your Show-Stopper

If you want the judges to remember your truck, you need a truck that has something special for them to remember you by. In other words, have one truly unique, show-stopping feature that the judges won’t forget. You want people to refer to your rig as “the one with the awesome exhaust” or “the one with that crazy hood ornament.”


3. Mix and Match

Who said you have to spruce up parts that all come from the same truck? Some of the best show trucks take parts, features, and design ideas from several truck models. If you’re doing it right, your truck could be a blend of three or four different models. Of course, it takes a uniquely skilled mechanic to know how to mix parts that also work together. If your team doesn’t have that experience, our crew is happy to lend a hand.


4. Have a Go-To Source for Parts for Truck Shows

As you mix and match, you don’t want to spend hours going from one salvage yard to another, finding a part here and another part there. Focus on having one trusted, go-to source that can be your first stop for new and used semi truck parts. You can always supplement from other sources as needed.  Our team at LKQ Heavy Truck knows you want to be a strong driver in the winners circle and have the quality parts you need at fair prices.  Find a location near you or give us a call today.

5. Merge Form and Function

With a typical truck, the engine and other internal parts don’t need to look nice: They just need to work together.  In a show truck, looks are a big part of the equation. As you shop for your engine parts, consider how everything will look under the hood. A skilled truck customization specialist may be able to paint or change the finish on certain parts to fit your chosen style.

6. Pad Your Calendar with Truck Shows

A truly great show truck needs at least a few custom semi-truck accessories and design elements. That customization takes time, though. The last thing you want to do is invest in a show truck but be unable to show it because one part didn’t come in on time. Allow your team more time to build the truck than you expect to need. Think of it as a construction job: there’s always an unexpected complication along the way, so give yourself extra time to handle it.

7. Find Ways to Hide Unappealing Necessities

You’ve put all this work into creating a beautiful, streamlined show truck. There are a few necessary pieces that disrupt the visual flow, but they’re necessary for the truck to function. What do you do?

You can deal with these issues by finding ways to move those elements to a place that better fits your design. For instance, our team has gotten creative in the past with hiding hood latches in places that don’t disrupt the exterior look but are still accessible to the driver.

8. Research the Truck Shows

If you’re a truck show veteran, you know that every show is slightly different. They each have certain qualities they look for and crowds they appeal to. To hack your next truck show, take a look at the past winners for that show as well as any trucks they’ve highlighted on their website or promotional materials. This gives you a taste of what the judges look for and which styles seem to impress them. From there, you can design your truck with that same appeal. You could also use this to evaluate upcoming truck shows and decide which ones give you the best chance for a win.

9. Don’t Forget the Interior

When people think of a beautiful truck, they think of a glossy, curvy exterior that catches the sun at just the right angle. At a truck show, though, the outside isn’t all that matters. Your truck needs a spectacular cab interior too, designed with luxury and style. If you can incorporate memorable semi-truck accessories or innovative gadgets in the cab, it’s even better.

10. Time Your Last-Minute Prep Process

You’ll do most of your preparation before you get to the show, but there will always be last-minute shining and primping to do during your set-up time. It’s critical to make sure you can get this all done in time. Do a few test runs in advance. Take your show truck for a test drive and then see how long it takes to go from parking to be show-ready. This helps to ensure you’ll have enough time on the big day. It also gives you a chance to think of any other last-minute cleaning products or add-ons you might need.

Last, but not least, shine up that ride!  You can pick up great deals on Renegade and Big Mule products to make sure no spot is left unturned when making your winning truck sparkle.

Creating Your Ultimate Show Truck

If you have a truck show on your schedule, it’s never too early to start planning. The tips above are a start for creating a winning design and finding the perfect semi truck accessories and parts to fit it. Of course, it never hurts to have an expert or two in your corner, too. Whether you need to invest in some semi truck parts for your build or require assistance customizing or building your show truck, LKQ is here. For help with your next show truck, call us today.  877-557-8782

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