Chevy C10 Safety Upgrade Recommendations

Chevy C10 Safety Upgrade Recommendations

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Cory Jones

The Chevy C10 is a classic truck gaining popularity with collectors and enthusiasts. While it's known for its rugged reliability and performance, older C10 models don't have the same level of safety features as modern vehicles.

If you own a C10 and are looking to enhance its safety, there are a number of upgrades available that can bring your truck up to modern standards. In this article, we'll explore the top options for improving the safety of your C10. Keep your ride safe with a few key modifications to protect yourself and the drivers you share the road with.

Related: For any safety mods that require you to access the underside of your C10, make sure you know where to jack up a C10 truck.

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Invest In Radial Tires

If you own a mid-70's C10 or newer, your tires will most likely be radial, meaning the tire has its plies placed at a 90-degree angle to each other. If your truck is from an earlier date, it will likely have bias ply tires.

Bias ply refers to tires that have their plies in a criss-cross pattern, with sections overlapping each other. These tires have the advantage when it comes to load capacity and low speed traction, but for everyday driving, they are highly outdated. At even moderate speeds, the grip rating on a bias ply tire is significantly worse than a modern radial tire. You can read more about the differences between radial and bias ply tires here. Upgrading the tires on your Chevy C10 to radial ties is an important safety measure to ensure your truck grips tightly to the road at any speed. While you're at it, it's also a good idea to get a new set of wheels. Mounting a new set of radial tires to the stock wheels could result in damage or a cracked rim.

Mechanic comparing radial and bias plied tires in front of a Chevy C10

Upgrade Your Brakes

From the factory, a classic Chevy C10 comes with a single bowl master cylinder braking system. The problem with this type of system is that if a single component fails, like a caliper or brake line, then you'll lose your brakes.

To correct this, we suggest switching to a dual-bowl master cylinder braking system. Installing this upgrade means that if one component fails, you'll still have some braking power to fall back on.

The other safety upgrade we recommend for your C-10's braking system is replacing your factory drum brakes with rear and front disc brakes. Disc brakes will increase your stopping power while also decreasing stopping time over drum brakes. Disc brakes also drastically cut down on maintenance time if your brakes have any problems.

Chevy C10 single bowl master cylinder brakes

Add a 3-Point Seat Belt

A common theme for many features on a classic Chevy C-10 is that safety was not a top priority. Many original C-10s did not have seat belts at all. If you were lucky, you may have gotten a lap belt.

Obviously, seat belts are required for modern vehicle safety, but even if you have a lap belt, you should still upgrade to a 3-point seat belt to make sure you stay safe in the event of an accident.

3 point seat belt installed on a classic Chevy C10

Move the Gas Tank

The gas tank for the C10 is located behind the cabin seats rather than underneath the truck on many models. In the event of a puncture or release of fumes, this can become a danger to the passengers in the cabin.

Relocating the gas tank to the underside of the truck will keep dangerous fumes away from the cabin and improve the safety of the truck overall.

The best location to move the fuel tank to is beneath the truck between the frame rails.

Chevy C10 gas tank positioned behind the cabin seats

Install LED Headlights

If you've ever driven a C10 at night with factory headlights, then you know how hard it is to see. One of the most practical safety upgrades you can make is replacing the factory headlights with new, much brighter LED headlights.

The rear brake lights can be upgraded to LEDs as well, along with any other lights you want to modernize. But taking care of the exterior lights will help make sure you're visible to other drivers.

replacement LED headlights installed on a classic Chevy C10

Get Help on Installing these C10 Safety Upgrades

Now that you know what modifications will make your C10 a safe and fun ride, it's time to put your upgrade plan into action.

Installing new LED headlights is a great place to start, and the process is very simple. Check out our Chevy C10 LED headlight install guide for step-by-step instructions and tips. If you are looking to take on a more in-depth safety feature install, check out our drum to disc brake conversion guide. We also have a list of the five best cheap C10 mods for your truck.

If you need any parts for these safety upgrades and more, head over to our C10 parts page.


This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.