So, you have your truck but realize that something is missing. Trucks are amazing vehicles that can help you move lots of stuff when travelling while giving you enough space for your passengers. However, if you don’t have a flatbed cover, you will realize that the privacy and safety of your luggage are never assured. That is why getting a proper tonneau cover has to be at the top of every truck owner’s shopping list. However, before you spend on anything truck-related, you have to be sure that it is perfect for your flatbed and also able to keep the elements out whenever you need it to. Here is a look at 10 things at the top of your checklist when buying a tonneau cover.
For a flatbed cover to change the look of your truck which is why you have to check the specifications to ensure that the cover you are buying is the right one for your vehicle. Flat bet covers are actually made with a specific model and year of manufacture in mind. This shouldn’t worry you though because most tonneau covers can still fit multiple cars across different years so you will definitely find one for your car.
For a tonneau cover to fit your car, it has to have the specific dimensions of your truck bed and also be compatible with your truck bed rails. Once the dimensions and the rails are a match, then you got yourself a perfect flatbed cover. It is harder to get a cover for truck beds that have a toolbox installed although many manufacturers are now making covers for trucks with toolboxes as well.
Soft covers are made of tough vinyl material and can withstand some level of abuse by the elements but their helpfulness is limited. Soft covers can scratch or get punctured but if maintained right, they can last long and still serve you. Most of them are user friendly, easy to install and remove and also take up little space in the back allowing you to use your entire bed. They are not fully weatherproof though and not equipped to carry heavy overhead weight.
Soft covers are cheaper than had covers though, so they may be the best to sample if you are buying a tonneau cover on a budget. Hard tonneau covers are made of tougher material ranging from fibreglass to abs plastic and strong metallic material such as aluminium. They are the heavy-duty option covers able to withstand the harshest weather and provide maximum security for your cargo. Strong had covers can also handle a big deal of overhead weight. Hardcovers are largely a one-time investment.
Convenience When Hauling Your Load
Everyone buys a truck so that it can haul their loads wherever they are going so buying a tonneau cover shouldn’t undermine that primary purpose. The best tonneau cover is one that doesn’t take up too much space in your bed so you still have enough room. You should also go for a tonneau cover that allows you to access whichever section of your bed or the whole bed whenever you need it. Most foldable covers will allow this although the foldable aluminium tonneau cover and retractable models take up the space at the front of the bed.
Single hinged hardcovers also limit your ability to haul high loads, especially if they can’t t put on top of the flatbed cover so you may be forced to remove the bed cover totally to be able to haul the cargo. One thing a flatbed cover won’t do is limit your ability to haul your load though since there is always a way around the cover even if it involved removing it totally.
Cleaning And Maintenance
The truck bed tends to be one of the dirtiest parts of your truck, especially if you use it to hail lots of stuff. When cleaning, you have to clean the cover as well as the bed and the easier you can access both the better. Soft covers are easy to brush and roll back so you can access the full bed although they wear out quickly. Hardcovers are easy to wash when lifted off the truck bed. The more pieces there is to your had cover, the harder the cleaning job becomes.
It is always smart to keep the precious cargo in your truck bed away from prying eyes and the elements. Different types of tonneau covers offer different levels of security. As usual, soft covers can serve the purpose if you don’t have anything important that someone can snatch from your truck bed. Soft covers offer very little security from most threats though since all someone has to do to access your cargo is cut or rip them open. The most secure tonneau covers are the aluminium enforced hardcovers which can fend off the heavies snow or dust and also make it hard for anyone to break in. Having a tonneau cover of any type offers more security than not having one at all in spite of where you are.
Nothing will make you as happy as getting a truck bed cover that will last as long as your car does. The problem is that most options in the market made of vinyl and fibreglass don’t last that long unless you are very good at cleaning and maintaining the cover and the truck. Aluminium-based covers will outlast the other options but you have to pay more for them. Although soft covers don’t last as long as their had counterparts, they are cheap and easy to replace and if maintained properly, they can give you years of service before they fade out or tear and require a replacement.
Ease Of Mounting And Removal
A heavy-duty diamondback bed cover may weigh over 300lbs and that requires more muscle, time, tools and skill to mount. You don’t have to be a professional to mount most tonneau covers, all you need is the manual and a few tools. If you need something you can mount quickly and be on your way, then single piece hardcovers and foldable hard and soft covers are the best way to go.
The more pieces there are to your cover, the longer it will take to mount and remove. Retractable covers and three-piece hardbacks need time and patience. In most cases, mounting and removing a tonneau cover won’t take more than an hour but you may need an extra hand to lift the heavy-duty hard ones.
On paper, all tonneau covers are weatherproof but that is not always the case when the elements start striking the back of your truck. Soft tonneau covers tend to leak from the sides allowing water, dust and snow into the interior. Even the best ones that have Velcro strapping give in when the weather is too harsh especially if you are driving or parked in a storm. Hardcovers are the most reliable although three-piece covers that are jointed in the middle of the truck bed may allow water to leak into your cargo bed.
Room For Overhead Load
You never know when you may have more load than you can fit underneath your flatbed cover and be forced to throw the rest on top. Other items such as bikes and ATVs are common loads that you may want to strap onto your bed cover. The best metallic tonneau covers can carry loads of up to 1,500 pounds and they come with tie-downs so you won’t have a problem carrying extra heavy stuff. Most common had cover options won’t hold more than 500lbs though, but they can still hold a light extra load.
However much you may want the best tonneau cover money can buy, the best tonneau cover for you will always be the one that serves your needs without breaking the bank. With as little as $100 to $500 you can get the best soft tonneau covers from trusted dealers or on Amazon. Hardcovers cost more depending on the material used and the brand. You may have to cough up to $2,000 for the strongest diamondback hardcovers, but most brands will cover your needs within a $1,000 budget.