Things to Know Before Buying a Bed Extender
Pickup trucks are a famous choice among car owners who have active lifestyles and are very likely to go to the countryside from time to time. More so, compact pickups have been selling well because these car owners also need to drive something that can fit into an urban setup. However, with the relatively smaller beds of these compact trucks, fitting large cargos such as kayaks or surfboards will prove to be a pain in the head to load. This is where bed extenders come in. If you are planning to buy one, there are two types of extenders and some factors you might want to consider.
Hitch mount vs. tailgate extender
There are two big differences in the hitch mount and tailgate extenders. If you look online, there is a large distinction between the two as hitch mount bed extender obviously offers a lot more space and options than the tailgate extender.
The hitch mount tail gate extender is basically a long T-shaped shaft that can expand a pickup's bed length up to three feet. It gives the option of having the load-say, a small boat-packed on the bed of the truck or from the roof of the truck's head with the shaft bent upwards to give the boat a level lift from the rear.
The tailgate bed extender, on the other hand, is more like a fence attached to the tailgate. This makes the open tailgate become the extended part of the truck bed. Needless to say, it has less space than the hitch mount bed extender, but its compact size makes it easier to install.
A good consideration when looking for a bed extender-hitch mount or tailgate-is to make sure that the surface of the metals are galvanized. This means that it has undergone a chemical process and is coated with zinc oxide. This helps in resisting scratching and rusting.
A safety feature that should be in any bed extender is a reflector tape or light. Most especially in the dark, it is very hard to tell from behind that your compact pickup has gained a few feet in length. The reflector light helps the vehicle behind to keep a safe distance to avoid collision. Most states already have their laws concerning bed extenders and reflectors.
Basic Steps in Installing a New Bed Extender
A bed extender proves to be a very important accessory for any truck. It provides addition square feet floor area that can carry large loads like kayaks or motorcycles, making any pickup truck a real utility vehicle that can transport almost anything. Another good feature of a bed extender is that it can be an enclosure for smaller objects once it is tucked inside the tailgate and not in use. Each bed extender is installed in a different way. Nonetheless, below are the basic steps that can be applied to any bed extender kit.
Difficulty level: Moderate
- center punch
- electric drill or screwdriver
- Philips screw
- grease pencil
- masking tape
- silicone sealer
Step 1: Prepare all the tools and supplies needed. Note that the bed extender that you have bought should have its mounting hardware, templates, and instruction manuals with it.
Step 2: Using the masking tape, attach the templates of the mounting hardware to each side of the bed lining.
Step 3: Hold the mounting hardware against the taped template to check whether the locations of the holes are correct.
Step 4: Once certain that the templates are in place, put a dimple on the locations for drilling with the use of the center punch.
Step 5: Drill holes at the dimpled places.
Step 6: Apply silicone sealer on the holes to prevent rusting.
Step 7: Firmly screw the mounting hardware to the holes with the use of an electric drill or screwdriver.
Step 8: Once both brackets are installed properly, assemble the bed extender. Follow the instruction manual that came with the kit.
Step 9: Carefully lift the still broken up bed extender and position against the hardware to ensure good fit.
Step 10: By this time, the central tubes of the bed extender are still separate. Look for the correct length that would fit the truck bed's width.
Step 11: Once the length is determined, connect the central tubes together, ensuring that the assembled bed extension would have the correct measurement.
Step 12: Check whether the security straps can be fastened well into the side edges of the tailgate.
Step 13: Also check whether there are no problems with swinging the bed extender in and out.
Step 14: For the final test, give your truck a drive-with or without a heavy load-and check if the bed extender is shaking.
Installing a bed extender is not as hard as one could imagine. Though it requires a little drilling and minor lifting, installing a bed extender can be a breeze for anyone in more or less two hours.