How to Install a Bed Liner in 4 Easy Steps
When you're carrying heavy cargo, chances are your truck bed will get scratched. Good thing you can place a bed liner for protection and load support. So it's important to have any kind of bed liner, be it carpet, mat, plastic, or roll-on. Should you still need to add one to your truck, here is a guide to help you out. This installation may take about 30 minutes or less to finish.
Required skill level: Novice
Needed tools and materials:
- Soft-bristle brush
- Cleaning agent
- Bed liner for your truck's make and model
- Screwdriver set
- Socket wrench set
- Bed liner kit
Cleaning the truck bed
The surface of the truck bed should be thoroughly cleaned with dish soap using a soft-bristle brush to get rid of dirt and grime. After removing any debris on the bed, hose it down to rinse dirt and soap residue, and then let it dry. If your bed lining kit includes a scruff pad and liquid liner, you can gently scrub the bed surface to help the liquid liner to effectively stick to the metal bed.
Installing the bed liner
You can ask a friend to help you lift the bed liner into the truck bed after putting the tailgate down. Make sure that you align the wheel flares over the wheel wells and the bed liner holes with the truck bed side rails. But if you chose to have a roll-on bed liner, you should cover with masking tape the light fixtures, latches, locks, hinges and other areas you don't want to apply lining liquid on. Once done, apply the liner liquid on the truck bed using a paint roller and brush.
Securing the fittings
If you used a liquid truck bed lining, you just have to let it dry before taking your truck out for a ride. Otherwise, carefully place the plastic fittings where they should be, and use a rubber mallet to tap them to avoid damaging your truck. Once the plastic fillings are properly placed, tightly screw the fitting caps.
Testing the installed bed liner
After securing the holes on the bed liner, it's time for you to check whether it's properly fitted on your truck bed. To test it, pull the bed liner back and forth or try to lift it up. If it doesn't come loose, your bed liner installation is a success.
Bed Liner Buyer's Guide
Most pickup trucks carry cargo on a regular basis, causing the truck bed to wear out faster due to the weight of the load and skidding. This makes a truck bed liner necessary. It works double duty by protecting the truck bed from damage and keeping your cargo in place while in transit. It comes in two main types: drop-in and spray-on. Both come with their own pros and cons—it’s just a matter of choosing one that best fits your preference.
What are the types of bed liners?
Bed liners are classified according to how they are installed. Drop-in bed liners are entire shells that are made to fit the profile of a specific truck model. On the other hand, spray-on bed liners are formulas that can be applied on the surface of the truck bed using a variety of methods.
This type of bed liner is usually made of polyethylene composite. It is usually held in place by drilling small holes in the allocated points. It is easy to install and detachable, so you can easily change it up or remove it in case it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. It also comes out cheaper than spray-in liners.
However, some car owners may not find its appearance appealing. The gap between the inner portion of the truck and the shell may also pose a problem once contaminants like water and dirt start seeping in.
Also referred to as “sprayed-on”, “sprayed in”, “spray-on”, and “spray-in”, this type of bed liner is applied directly to the truck bed. How well this type of liner will hold out depends on how well you prime the surface prior to applying the formula. Depending on the type of bed liner spray you choose, it is also possible for the color to fade over time.
There are two types of spray systems: hot/high pressure and low/cold pressure.
High-pressure systems make for a smoother mixture due to its high temperature. Low-pressure systems require an air atomization attachment and a static mix assembly for it to be applied. Using this type of spray system often yields a rougher finish.
Spray-on bed liners also come in various formulations such as polyurethane or polyurea, aliphatic or aromatic, and solvent or hybrid. Aliphatic formulas maintain their integrity even after being exposed to ultraviolet light. They also come in a wide range of colors, giving you more options to choose from. Aromatic formulas, on the other hand, are mainly used for darker colors. It’s also less expensive than its aliphatic counterpart.
Be mindful of the environmental conditions you subject your bed liner to as these can influence how well the bed liner paint or formula cures.
Alternatively, carpet, wood, and rubber can be used to line your truck. However, they are not as durable and reliable as the two listed above, so they aren’t recommended for the long haul.
What are the signs of a bad bed liner?
Most symptoms of a damaged bed liner are often overlooked. However, these can affect your truck’s performance more than you think. This is why it is important to inspect your truck bed regularly for any signs of damage such as the ones indicated below:
Scratches from the constant shuffling of cargo
This symptom is more prevalent in drop-in truck bed liners rather than spray-on, although these may appear in spray-on bed liners as well. While there is a way to make them less visible when using drop-in bed liners, they can make your vehicle prone to rust and corrosion in the long run, thus wearing out your truck bed more easily.
This is mostly a problem for people who use drop-in bed liners. Trapped debris can accumulate under your liner and cause moisture buildup. This can cause rust and corrosion later on.
Truck beds are typically engineered to have small holes that allow water to drain. Poor-fitting drop-in liners can block this drainage. When this happens, the truck bed can rot and corrode due to the water trapped underneath the liner.
What are the reasons why you should get a bed liner?
While some may see it as a mere protective accessory, there are a lot of benefits to using a bed liner. In case you need more convincing, here are the reasons why you should consider getting a bed liner.
Keeping your cargo protected
A bed liner can protect your cargo from impact and breakage. It lessens vibration and keeps your haul in place while in transit, ensuring that it won’t get damaged from any unnecessary movement.
Prolonging the life of your truck bed
Most importantly, it prevents dents and scratches from forming on the truck bed so that you can enjoy using it longer.
Adding to the aesthetic appeal of the truck
When chosen well, a bed liner can enhance the appearance of your truck and even increase its resale value in the future, provided that you take care of it.
How much does a bed liner cost?
On average, bed liners go for about $84.00 to $219.00. CarParts.com offers a wide selection of parts that are handpicked by experts in the automotive industry, so you can be assured of fit and quality.
Importance of replacing a bed liner
Keeping your bed liner in great shape is essential to ensuring that your truck is functioning at its best. This is why it is crucial to get your truck bed checked regularly. Replace your bed liner as soon as the need arises because the slightest sign of damage can easily progress into bigger and more expensive repairs.
In purchasing a replacement, make sure to get one that fits your car perfectly. If you’re having the bed liner sprayed on, check if the formula and finish match your vehicle and preference. This way, the installation or application will look seamless and possible damage to your truck bed could be avoided.
Bed Liner: Your Truck Bed's Armor of Protection
A pickup truck is your weekend getaway ride and an indispensable workhorse; but a truck bed's is prone to scratches, rust, and even dents. Physical damage can ruin your truck's look and style, but bed liners offer different features to suit your needs. Bed liners are durable, and they will give your truck's bed the best protection possible.
Let's look at the different types of bed liners to help you understand their design and function. This guide will help you choose a bed liner that will fit your needs.
The Different Types of Bed Liners
Drop-In --- This is made from durable plastic materials, which is thick enough to protect your truck's bed against bumps and scratches. With a variety of model-specific molds available in the market, there is no need for you to drill holes in your truck to achieve a perfect fit. Drop-in bed liners are also easier to install and remove, when needed.
Spray-on --- It's designed to stick to your truck bed's body panels. A thick, protective coating of urethane paint is sprayed on the truck bed's surface to permanently bond with it. Once dry, this lining protects the bed from corrosion and rust--making it watertight and airtight. Spray-on bed liners also has a variety of colors to choose from, depending on your taste.
Choosing the Best Bed Liner
Before buying your truck's bed liner, here are some characteristics to consider:
- Since your truck's bed hauls a variety of cargo, it should provide protection against corrosion, caustic materials, dents, rust, and abrasion. The bed should be able to withstand scratches from concrete blocks, stains from chemical compounds, petroleum products, and even gasoline. Both spray-on and drop-in bed liners provide these types of protection for your truck's bed.
- You don't want your cargo sliding and tumbling around in the truck's bed. A good bed liner must provide skid-resistance to keep the truck's cargo in place. Drop-in liners have thicker sidewalls which offer twice the skid-resistance of a spray-on liner.
- The truck's bed is exposed to the sun's ultra-violet rays which makes it prone to fading. Spray-on and drop-in liners have UV-protection compounds to help resist fading. These bed liners will last a truck's lifetime and provide the best protection against the harsh elements.
- A bed liner should also be light-weight and easy to install. Most drop-in liners are custom fit to each truck model. Spray-on liners on the other hand, are easy to apply and it can cover entire body panels, interiors and floor panels. They are both easy to clean, maintain, and provide a sleeker look.
- One of the most important characteristics of a good bed liner is its ability to reduce noise and vibrations. It should be able to insulate the truck against these things, rather than add to it. Make sure that when you're buying a bed liner, all the necessary tools are there to securely attach it to your truck's bed.
Defines Your Need
The right bed liner for your truck should be chosen depending on your needs. It must be up to the task of protecting your trucks bed against anything. Make it a habit to ask or shop around because new products come up all the time. Your choice should fit your vehicle's make, and always consider your truck's intended workload. Once you've decided on what your needs are, it's time to choose the best armor of protection for your prized truck.
Drop-In Bed Liner: How to Install It on Your Pickup Truck
There are two types of bed liners: the drop-in and spray-on. Spray-on liners are popular among truck owners who use their trucks for light hauling--these liners help prevent rust and are designed to be skid-resistant. Installing a spray-on liner is best left to the professionals because it takes more time to apply and cure it. Drop-in liners on the other hand, are easier to install and it can accommodate more cargo. It can absorb shock and drop-in liners are highly-recommended for pickup trucks that carry heavier loads. Both of these bed liners can protect your truck's bed from wear and tear--so your choice depends on whether you haul light or heavy.
In this guide, we have prepared tips, tools, and steps on how to install a drop-in bed liner for your truck.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Tools that You'll Need:
- Socket wrench set
- Screwdriver set
- Brush (soft-bristled)
- Car shampoo
- Water hose
- Rubber mallet
- Installation accessories or kit
- Drop-in bed liner for your truck
Safety Tips and Reminders:
- Check your replacement parts and make sure that they are compatible to your vehicle's make and model.
- Make sure to check the bed liner for any signs of damage before installing it. Any holes or cracks will let water; gravel or small rocks get through it, scratching your truck bed's surface.
- Always wear recommended safety equipment like closed-toe shoes, an industrial-grade dusk mask, safety goggles and gloves.
- Clear any tools or debris from the truck's bed. Make sure to discard any unwanted debris and store all the items that you want to save.
- Use the hose to spray water on the truck's bed to remove any small debris or dirt particles from it. You can also wash away dirt from the truck's body before washing it with car shampoo.
- Mix car shampoo in a bucket of water and soak your sponge in it. With a soft-bristled brush, clean-off any grease, grime or stubborn dirt from the truck's bed.
- Wash away the soap with the hose, and let the truck's bed dry. You can use an absorbent cloth to help remove any water or moisture from the truck.
- Once the truck is dry, pull down the truck's tailgate, and ask someone to help you lift the bed liner onto the truck's bed.
- Make sure that the wheel wells are parallel to the wheel flares. Align the bed liner holes with the truck bed's side rails.
- Use a rubber mallet to tap the plastic fittings in place. With a screwdriver or wrench, apply torque to secure all the fitting caps into place.
- After securing the bed liner onto the truck's bed, check for any gaps between the truck's bed and side panels. Pull it back and forth to make sure it's a tight fit.
Installing a drop-in bed liner will take about 30 minutes for an expert DIYer and 45 minutes for a beginner. This is a fun project that will bring out your sense of style. Have fun and be safe!