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How to Pick the Best Tonneau Cover for Your Truck

High-quality truck bed protection is a requirement for most pickup owners, which is why you trust Durabak. You know that the bed of your truck serves as a vital space to hold valued possessions and help you get your job done. Therefore, you want to ensure you take every precaution to secure your cargo with the best tonneau cover for your truck.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits of tonneau covers, the various styles available and how to install your new cover. We will also answer some of your most asked questions. Once you are finished reading, you’ll be able to find the right tonneau cover for your truck and your budget.

tonneau cover on Chevrolet Colorado

Benefits of a Tonneau Cover

There’s no question that a tonneau cover creates an aesthetically pleasing look to your truck. Aside from that, there are several other benefits you should consider. These include:

  • Provides safe transport of your equipment and cargo
  • Improves gas mileage
  • Increases security
  • Offers additional organization of goods
  • Increases resale value
  • Protects truck bed from damage

Types of Tonneau Covers for Your Truck

Numerous styles of tonneau covers exist for your pickup. Each has its own capacity, utility and function. On top of that, they all have different pricing. Because of this, you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of all varieties if you plan to make the best decision. There’s not one tonneau cover that works for every truck owner; you must pick the style the fits your lifestyle.

Toolbox Covers

The toolbox cover is shorter than your truck bed. It allows extra room so you can place a toolbox over the rail. This hardcover sometimes comes with the toolbox, depending on the model you choose.

black retractable tonneau cover

Retractable Covers

This hard or soft cover retracts making access to the cargo easier. Not only can you get to the entire bed, but you can also do it with one hand. This type sits inside and outside the rails of your pickup truck bed. It offers a convenient fit, is efficient and improves the aerodynamics of your truck. You can also get a lock and key if you want additional security. The only real disadvantage with a power retractable tonneau cover will be that the casing that the cover rolls into eats up some of your cargo space, for most that isn’t an issue, but if you also have a toolbox and need every inch of space, it is a consideration that you need to think about.

rollup tonneau cover

Roll-Up Covers

These are most often constructed from a marine-grade vinyl. This material is durable, scratch-resistant and easily folded away. It only takes a few seconds to pull it aside and gain access to your cargo. In addition, installing and removing the cover is simple. When you are ready to secure it, you will find the snaps and latches easy to use. The soft roll up tonneau covers are perfect for general weather protection and as they roll up on top of the truck rim you don’t lose any valuable cargo space.

hinged tonneau cover

Hinged Covers

The hinged tonneau keeps thieves away. Not only does it use an over-the-tailgate design, but the hinges are highly durable. It only takes a short time to install the system, but it drastically enhances the appearance of your truck. Most hinged covers are hard, but you can find soft designs if you prefer. Hinged tonneau covers are mostly made of fiberglass which makes them the most expensive option but also the nicest and sleekest design wise. You can get a fiberglass tonneau cover to match your truck paint exactly but it will set you back thousands. Pro-Tip: Buy a second hand fiberglass tonneau cover for your truck model for a fraction of the original cost and paint it and the body of your truck with Durabak Smooth and not only will you save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars but you’ll also get a fresh scratch guard paint job on your entire truck – and the tonneau cover will match perfectly!

folding tonneau cover

Folding Covers

If getting to your goods needs to be done fast, the folding cover gives you access in record time. You don’t need to remove the cover, but you still have protection from the weather and elements. These tonneau covers are soft and constructed of vinyl for easy manipulation. You can also choose some designs made from aluminum for added strength. Folding covers come in tri-fold form that offer three sections of lid coverage, some allow you to open them up from either end for the ultimate convenience. The best tri-fold covers are strong enough, when installed correctly, to support a lot of weight – be sure to protect the top of the tonneau cover with Durabak as a scratch guard to make it match the rest of the truck and last a lifetime.

What Style Tonneau Cover Do You Need?

After evaluating the varieties of tonneau covers, you need to determine what style suits your needs. It all depends on what you are looking for. If you plan to carry large items and strap them down with ropes, you will want something you can take off easily. In this case, the hard folding tonneau might be your best option.

Another consideration is how much you will need to be in your truck bed. If you have separate areas to the bed, make sure the cover you choose gives you quick access to where you need it the most. If you need to access the entire bed, you might prefer a hinged cover.

Then, you need to factor in the type of goods you plan to store. If you need solid protection, the toolbox cover, hard folding cover or hard retractable cover might be your best option. If you only store essential items like a spare tire and groceries, then the soft cover works fine.

Finally, consider the security you require. Soft tonneau covers are easy to remove and can even be sliced open with a pocket knife with ease, which makes them more susceptible to thieves. If you have a retractable cover without a lock, it’s only a little bit harder to open up. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the city, you might do better with a hard, hinged cover. Bear in mind there are also hard metal retractable tonneau covers which lock shut giving a high level of security and flexibility.

There’s not a one-size fits all option when it comes to tonneau covers. Take the necessary time to determine what style works for you and evaluate your budget to see what you can afford.

What is the Best Tonneau Cover Brand?

With several brands to choose from, you might become easily confused about the options available. While some brands only specialize in a few styles, we found that Truck Hero and their array of makes and styles offers something for everyone.

They sell high-quality truck bed covers that are durable and constructed to provide maximum life. The company currently offers more than 60 tonneau cover styles to choose from.

In addition, Truck Hero is based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, so you are supporting an American company and creating American jobs with every purchase you make.

tonneau cover install

How Do You Install a Tonneau Cover on Your Pickup Truck?

Once you determine which truck bed cover suits your needs best, you are ready to move forward with the installation. Thankfully, it doesn’t take any special skills or tools to get the job done. Follow these steps for success.

  1. Get the Right Size. There are tiny differences in the widths and lengths of many trucks, although many different makes and models of trucks will need the exact same tonneau cover you can never be too careful in making sure that you are not wasting money on the wrong size kit.
  2. Place the cover rails. Each cover comes with two side rails. These attach to the inside of your truck bed. They usually go on the inner sides and offer support to the cover. You will need to use the clamps or bolts that come with your cover. If you have bolts, you need to drill holes to bolt the rails in place. It’s always recommended to avoid buying a cover that requires you to drill into your truck – as that can cause all sorts of complication.
  3. Place the cover. This part goes quickly. You either have a vinyl roll or metal sheet to install. Just put the cover on top of your installed side rails and unfold it. Adjust the length of the roll if it is too wide or long. With a metal sheet, you will have some different instructions. Just make sure you bolt the cover in place and ensure it is secure.
  4. Tighten the bolts. You might think this is a silly step to mention, but many people overlook it. Then, when the cover comes off, they blame the manufacturer when it was their fault for not tightening the clamps or bolts. You should also check the tightness once a month to ensure that wind, water or loading hasn’t knocked them loose.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Clean a Tonneau Cover?

Most manufacturers provide specific details about the cleaning and maintenance of the cover. Sometimes, you are required to use a special cleaner, so make sure you look into that. Otherwise, you can spray cleaning fluid on the cover and then wipe it off with a dry, soft cloth.

If you go off-road, this might not cut it. In those cases, you might need to wash the cover with car wash soap and warm water instead. For deep dirt and grime, make sure you allow the soap to sit for a couple of minutes. Then, use your brush or sponge to rub the surface. Use gentle pressure; don’t scrub your cover. Then, rinse it off thoroughly and allow it to dry completely. If you desire extra shine, you can use a protectant as well. For added protection from the elements try coating the outer shell of your tonneau cover with Smooth Durabak, the Durabak will form a protective scratch guard that (if applied properly) also acts as a barrier against water, salt-water, corrosion, oil and chemicals. An impermeable membrane of Durabak will protect your truck bed, cargo and tonneau cover for many years.

How Secure is the Cargo with a Tonneau Cover?

The level of security you receive depends mainly on the style cover you choose. It’s not hard to damage or puncture a vinyl or fabric cover with a sharp tool. Hardcovers, on the other hand, don’t crack easily. Some styles also come with a built-in lock which offers some extra security.

Your cargo is always more secure under a tonneau cover than without one. When you drive around with an open truck bed, you leave your goods out in the open; available for any thief to snatch.

What Other Accessories Can You Use With a Tonneau Cover?

It’s likely that you want to include other accessories on your truck. You can use your tonneau cover with your Durabak truck bed liner without any issues. Some styles also work well with cargo boxes, tool storage systems, bike racks and other add-ons. Just verify before you make a purchase that the cover has what you need.

Final Thoughts

Having a tonneau cover for your truck bed is a great way to ensure the security of the goods, provide protection for the vehicle and increase the resale value. This small investment pays off in big ways, but you need to make sure you choose the right style for your needs.

Having the best tonneau cover is essential to your truck’s capability and performance. Make sure you evaluate all your options and make a wise decision, so you won’t regret it.

Don’t forget that a truck bed cover paired with Durabak Truck Paint looks sharp and offers maximum protection. We want to help you create the truck of your dreams. Give us a call at 303-690-7190 to discuss your next project.

Click here to discover the excellent color and texture options Durabak has to offer.

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