A tonneau cover is a great investment because these specialized covers really go the distance when it comes to protecting your truck's bed from the elements.
Tonneau covers come with different fitments that are optimized for different truck models. The key is learning how precisely a tonneau cover fits onto a truck, which this guide outlines. From there, you'll learn how to install a tonneau cover on just about any truck make or model.
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Making Sure the Tonneau Cover Fits
To make sure your chosen tonneau cover will fit your truck correctly, start by measuring the length from the bulkhead to the tailgate. Then, convert that measurement into feet. This will be the length of tonneau cover you’ll need. From there, you'll need to find a model of that length designed for your truck's make and model so that it can account for the unique in-bed design of said truck.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Truck Bed Covers?
Truck bed cover installation costs will depend first on what kind of cover you've chosen. Soft covers tend to cost between $100 and $500, while hard covers start at around $500 and range up to $2,000. You'll also need to factor in the cost of labor if you are opting for a professional installation. Your local mechanic can give you an estimate of those added costs.
How Long Does It Take to Install A Tonneau Cover?
In theory, a professional with experience could install a tonneau cover in just a single afternoon. However, if you’ve never performed such a job before, you may need a little more time to make sure the whole apparatus is mounted properly. In any case, seeking a professional installation will always be the faster, more reliable route.
How to Install A Tonneau Cover?
Compared to many other forms of vehicle modification, installing a tonneau cover is well within reach of many amateur mechanics and DIYers. However, there are particular steps you'll need to follow to make such a project a success.
The following are a few key steps that almost all tonneau cover installations will call for. Keep in mind that your chosen cover and your truck's make/model may also impact the installation process.
To start, you’ll want to take measurements of your truck bed and produce a tonneau cover that is sized for that truck bed. At the same time, you should ensure that your chosen cover model is compatible with your truck’s make and model. Before starting the main installation, you’ll also want to check if your other truck bed equipment is compatible with your cover. In other words, you’ll need to determine if modifications will be warranted for your bed liner or rail covers.
From there, you’ll want to grab some temporary clamps and using them to temporarily mount your cover’s side rails into the upper edges of your truck’s bed. From there, you can begin to follow the process for installation outlined in this video.
Specific Tonneau Covers & How to Install Them
By Type Or Material
By Tonneau Cover Brand or Truck
Tonneau Cover Care Tips
Caring for your new tonneau cover is the best way to keep it sturdy and aesthetically stylish for the long haul. One way to do this is to routinely clean off your cover with soap and warm water. However, if you have a vinyl cover, use vinyl cleaner instead. Specialized tonneau cover cleaners also exist and may be a better option, given that they can also condition the cover’s surface as it cleans.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can you install a tonneau cover with a bedliner?
Yes. However, you should be aware that this modification may cause covers that should otherwise fit to be misaligned. One way to prevent this is by making modifications to the cover that allow for proper spacing on the cover rails.
How do you keep a tonneau cover from flapping?
If your new tonneau cover is flapping, then that’s not a good sign. On one hand, this might indicate that your chosen model is not the correct size for your truck bed. It may also suggest that your cover is not holding adequate tension while your truck is moving at an average speed.
How tight should a tonneau cover be?
Naturally, you’ll want to avoid any sagging across the breadth of your new tonneau cover. However, you also don’t want that cover to be so tight that you can never relock it into place. Instead, you’ll want to find a nice middle ground where the fabric is "drum-tight" when locked into place.
Do tonneau covers fit all trucks?
Not at all. Tonneau covers come in all kinds of sizes to match the numerous truck sizes offered by major truck manufacturers today. At the same time, tonneau covers are usually made to fit the dimensions of a specific truck brand, make, or model. You'll need to buy a model that is compatible not only with its specifications but also with its rear architecture.
As you’ve now seen, installing a tonneau cover does not need to be an intimidating task. So long as you make all of the necessary measurements and get a properly fitted model, you should be in the clear to perform a DIY installation. Professional installation is also a worthwhile option, especially if you are worried about correctly mounting your new tonneau cover.