How Tos & Tutorials

How to Pick a Truck Bed Cover

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Need a truck bed cover for your truck but scared of accidentally buying the wrong one?

No worries because we’ll teach you how to scout for the right pickup truck bed covers with the following tips in mind.

WHAT IS A TRUCK BED COVER?

truxedo truxport roll-up tonneau cover
Photo Credit: TRUXEDO

A truck bed cover serves as a layer of protection for your valuables like toolboxes and other shipping or cargo crates that should otherwise go at the back of your truck. Its main purpose is to prevent your items from spilling out of your truck bed when your vehicle suddenly moves or brakes.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST FOR A TRUCK BED COVER?

truck bed cover prices

Truck bed cover prices depend on the style or design that you prefer. But they’re usually divided under these categories:

  • Cheap truck bed covers – are normally less than $200. They’re mostly of the soft cover type which gives your valuables just enough amount of protection against heat and rain.
  • Affordable truck bed covers – are those within $200-$1000 range. They’re a combo of soft and hard covers but the latter lacks the spring rollers that make them easy to open.
  • High-end truck bed covers – go beyond the $1000 price tag. Many are made of hardcovers (usually reinforced shells) that give further protection to your valuables and are easily accessible.

HOW DO YOU INSTALL A TONNEAU COVER?

tyger auto tri-fold tonneau truck bed cover
Photo Credit: TYGER Auto

Installing a tonneau cover can be difficult for newbies but once you get the hang of it, you’ll get used to how it’s done. Although there are many ways of mounting a tonneau cover on your truck bed because design varies, here’s basically a rule of thumb for most tonneau cover installations.

  • Opening the tailgate – laying your tailgate flat gives you proper wiggle room during installation.
  • Aligning the tonneau cover bulkhead – find the side of your tonneau cover containing the straps and face it in the direction of your truck bed’s bulkhead.
  • Releasing clips on tonneau cover – detach the fastening clips and slowly spread your tonneau cover until it reaches the tailgate.
  • Attaching tonneau cover clamps – fold your tonneau cover again up to the bulkhead and attach the clamps underneath it. Just slide the shaft to the side, raise the jaw up to the truck bed cap or edge and rotate it clockwise (3x).
  • Attaching tonneau cover tailgate clamps – same procedure as attaching the clamps on the bulkhead, except you adjust the height by rotating it clockwise once. Then, slide the shaft to the side and rotate the jaw to the left until it bites the truck bed edge.

WHAT SIZE OF TONNEAU COVER DO I NEED FOR MY TRUCK?

truck bed cover sizes
Photo Credit: TYGER Auto

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a universal tonneau cover that’ll fit on all trucks. This is because tonneau covers rely on truck model, year, and bed size. With this, obviously, tonneau cover fitment is also adjusted for newer truck models.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRUCK BED COVERS?

different types of truck bed covers

Tonneau covers are classified according to their style and material. They’re the following:

  • Trifold tonneau covers – are truck bed covers that you overlap or stack when you open. They can be either soft or hard.
  • Rollup tonneau covers – are roll up truck bed covers because you rotate them upwards like a mat when opening. They can also be soft or hard.
  • Retractable tonneau covers – are truck bed covers that you push or pull (in a sliding motion) when opening.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE THREE TYPES?

Differences on the Tonneau Covers

TypeTrifoldRollupRetractable
Cost$230+$200+$900+
Difficulty to InstallEasyModerateA bit hard.
MaterialMade of vinyl and aluminum.Made of vinyl.Made of vinyl, aluminum, with armored tech, and weather stripping.
Durability LevelMediumLight to MediumGreat

Each tonneau cover has its own strengths and weaknesses so it’s really up to you on how you’ll use it to your advantage.

WHICH IS BETTER: ROLLUP, TRIFOLD, OR RETRACTABLE?

truck bed cover pros and cons

Choosing the type of truck bed cover goes down to your preference and what particular situation or scenario you find yourself in.

WHICH TRUCK BED COVER WILL KEEP YOUR GEAR MOST SECURE?

tonneau cover security

Regarding the level of security, the retractable tonneau covers take the lead in offering the highest level of security. This is because aside from their layered surface, their locking mechanism acts as a lock and key system. In other words, if both the truck’s tailgate and cover locking knob are in “lock” mode, you’ll never have access to your truck bed unless you use your truck key.

For trifold tonneau covers, some of them are locked via latch clamp system. This is done by pressing or squeezing the side frames of the covers to secure them in place. Others go by rotary latches wherein you simply turn a locking knob.

On the other hand, rollup tonneau covers normally run on a trigger latch system. This means you need to pull down “levers” or small handles underneath to open them.

DO TRUCK BED COVERS IMPROVE GAS MILEAGE?

truck bed cover gas mileage
Image shows arrows representing the wind drag.

Yes, they do. All vehicles’ movements are influenced by the wind drag. This is the wind that acts against your vehicles while they move. To keep it at a minimum as much as possible, automotive companies produce 4WD designs that are slightly shaped like a funnel or teardrop.

When you have truck bed covers, the wind smoothly passes over your truck bed and further reduces such wind resistance because it doesn’t have to go inside your truck bed. As a result, gas mileage is improved by 10%.

CONCLUSION

Choosing the right truck bed covers is a matter of driving style and preference. But most of all, you do it for the sake of protecting your valuables against spilling, weather, and theft. What’s your favorite tonneau cover type? Share us your answers below.

 

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