A Tonneau cover provides your truck with a decorative or useful shell that can protect your bed or the goods underneath the surface from the elements. Whether you have them for cosmetic or utility-based purposes, they can be pretty neat looking. However, some salespeople who handle these items don’t know what they have. To address these issues, we’ve produced a list of Truck Bed Tonneau Cover FAQs for you to consider.
What are the different options for tonneau truck bed covers?
First, it is essential to note that there are many different types of covers. We will go through the list below.
Hardcover options can be both for cosmetic and utility-based reasons. Typically, utility-options are a bit less cost-effective, causing you to spend more on them.
The inexpensive models come in plastic, which makes them less effective at resisting the elements. The next level up is metal of metal, typically aluminum. Aluminum is heavy-duty enough to handle harsher weather.
Also, utility options typically come with accessories. These accessories generally are baskets, toolboxes, or straps to contain cargo.
Softcovers aren’t best for heavy-duty projects. Instead, they are best for those who want a short-term solution that is easily removable. As a result, you are more likely to remove them during heavy winters.
Don’t expect softcovers to be useful for a long-term utility purpose. In some cases, they aren’t very good at being pretty, as many of them absorb moisture.
Check with the company and their warranty on this before making a purchase. In most cases, you will want to stick with hardcover options.
Folding covers, which typically come in a tri-fold format, are meant to maintain a rigid shape while also being compact. They seek to the best of both worlds between soft and hardcovers.
Given that these types are well aware of your need for weatherization, they are more likely to maintain longevity. As a result, you can expect an extended warranty.
Check with your local dealer before assuming on that warranty.
Rolling (retractable) covers
Retractable covers can be both hard and soft. These are ultimately compact, but they tend to cost more as a result. However, they do last longer than standard softcover options.
Considering that the cover is inside of a long cylinder, they are a bit odd. However, the crank and spring combination creates a powerful tool.
Some models position the “roll” underneath the unit, taking up some space in the truck bed as a result. They offer different models of variable pricing depending on your preference.
How much does a tonneau cover cost?
Softcovers can cost low as $50. Standard hardcovers are typically around $200 but can be as high as $400, depending on the brand. Retractable and tri-fold options are anywhere from $500 to $1000.
If you plan on hiring a professional installer, you won’t need one for softcovers. But other options can add another $200 to $500 to the total pricing.
With any of the different types of tonneau covers, you can install them yourself. As long as you have basic mechanical knowledge, you should install them with relative ease.
How much does a tonneau cover weigh?
Except for soft materials, you can expect a tonneau cover to weigh around 100 lbs. You can cut this number to about 25 lbs if you purchase one of the plastic covers. It all depends on the thickness, durability, and type of material used.
Despite how sturdy they may feel, many of these models do not carry things on top of them. However, check the owner’s manual before making that assumption. Aluminum tops made for utility purposes can hold more massive objects on the top.
Can you put a tonneau cover on a truck with bed rails?
Given that some bed rails and tonneau covers use the same connection points, the two do not work together. However, some trucks provide additional connection points, so look at your vehicle to see about compatibility.
From a design perspective, you may not like how it looks. So try and imagine the idea before you go out and purchase bed rails.
If you want to know how to install American hard tri-fold tonneau cover, check out the video below:
Can you take a truck with a tonneau cover through a car wash?
Many tonneau covers are waterproof, but the chemicals used in some car washes may not mix well with the surface material. While more rigid materials are better suited to this, most tonneau covers recommend removing them before going through a car wash.
If removing the cover is a hassle, check with the owner’s manual to see about their allowance for this.
Do tonneau covers keep water out of your truck bed?
Tonneau truck bed covers are to keep water out of your truck bed, so the answer is yes. For softer surfaces, you should remove those and bring them inside.
As softer covers get soggy, they tend to sag. This rain will moisten the contents of your truck bed regardless of your best efforts. Check to see of a soft cover’s waterproofing claims before leaving it out there.
Does a tonneau cover save gas?
Your truck bed contains a bowl that can catch a great deal of wind, increasing the amount of drag. As a result, tonneau covers reduce the amount of aerodynamic drag.
It gives you an apparent reason to purchase a softcover, as those can pay for themselves pretty quickly. However, hardcovers need to have an additional justification.
If using the softcover variant, be sure that they are extra secure. It is far easier for a soft, light tarp to fly into the wind.
How tight should a tonneau cover be?
For soft tonneau covers, there should be no sag between either side of the truck bed. Be sure that you adjust the tension adjusters so that they are taut and firm. Otherwise, you will need to roll the cover back and redo your work.
What if my tri-fold tonneau cover is flapping?
If your trifold is flapping, that means that the installation is off. To fix this, you will need to reach under the truck, unbolt the cover, and rebolt the hard surface with the correct positioning.
If the installer did it wrong, you should see a bit of an abnormally large hump near the bed and cab meet. Just push it down while reattaching this. You will know you fixed it based on how it is no longer flapping when reapplying it.
What if my tonneau cover keeps popping open?
If the bars are still under warranty, you are going to want to give it back. If it continues after replacement, it may be a design flaw. At that point, you should consider requesting another type of cover or your money back.
If there is no warranty, check the tensioning and reposition the cover.
Truck bed tonneau covers can be tricky to handle, but they are much easier once you understand what you want. Cosmetic ones tend to be cheaper and made of less high-quality material. Utility options tend to be made of aluminum or another form of metal or have an extended warranty.
These covers are incredibly handy and can be used to prevent water from getting into the bed. Just be aware of the limitations of softcovers. Also, be mindful of common errors and warranty regulations. They will often take care of most issues upon initial purchase.