Tailgate Molding Buyer's Guide
- The tailgate molding, also known as tailgate cap or tailgate trim panel, is a plastic panel fitted atop the tailgate of a pickup truck.
- The tailgate molding is a truck accessory that protects the upper portion or apex of the tailgate from getting hit by cargos and getting scratched.
- Reasons as to why you should maintain the tailgate molding include protecting the tailgate panel, preserving its visual appeal, moldings are easy to find, and relatively simple to install.
- You should replace your tailgate molding if it comes loose due to a cracked pin provision, cracked surface, or if you want your tailgate to have a new look.
- Keep in mind that tailgate moldings are expected to last the lifetime of your truck unless you damaged it or got into an accident.
- New tailgate moldings you can find at CarParts.com would cost you anywhere between $18 and $360.
What Is a Tailgate Molding?
The tailgate molding, also known as tailgate cap or tailgate trim panel, is a plastic panel fitted atop the tailgate of a pickup truck. It is a truck accessory that protects the upper portion or apex of the tailgate from getting hit by cargos and getting scratched. It also brings up the looks of the tailgate by adding depth to the rather flat and common tailgate designs shared by modern pickup trucks.
Why You Should Install a Tailgate Molding
There are several reasons to install, replace, or maintain the tailgate molding on your tailgate. Here are a few you need to note:
To protect the top of your tailgate
The tailgate is probably the panel most vulnerable to accidental scratches caused by cargos bumping on it. You’ll know the feeling if you frequently load your truck with heavy loads regularly—the easiest mistake you can make is to scratch or dent the tailgate.
Physical damage is the primary reason to always keep the tailgate molding fitted. Also, if the truck you own came with a pre-installed tailgate molding, the tailgate will look as if it’s missing a part without it.
It makes your tailgate look extra
You can also stir things up by upgrading to a different-looking tailgate molding than the factory ones you have installed. Just make sure that the molding enjoys compatibility with the model year of your truck. It’s relatively cheap, so giving the tailgate the flair it deserves is never a terrible idea.
It is easy to find
You can easily find a tailgate molding at any auto body shop, especially online. There are also variations of designs for you to choose from to add a sense of personalization. Different brands also have their own formula of materials that make for much sturdier and more flexible protection.
It is easy to install
Believe it or not, you can remove and install the tailgate molding in a matter of minutes. This is because tailgate moldings are held in place by plastic tabs and pins, which means you won’t need a special tool just to pry them off. All you need is a good-old plastic prying tool or any good lever that can remove the pins.
Of course, there are different designs of tailgate moldings that fit varying brands and truck models. This means that the number of pins, installation, and removal will be slightly different. Don’t fret, however, as you can always refer to the owner’s manual or, better yet, watch good-quality YouTube videos.
Signs Your Tailgate Molding Is In For a Replacement
Tailgate moldings are straightforward in all aspects: meaning, function, and installation. Even the signs that you need to observe to know if you should already replace the tailgate molding are straightforward. But keep in mind that tailgate moldings will usually last the lifetime of your truck unless you damaged it or got into an accident. Here are the common signs you should replace your tailgate molding:
A loose fit may result from broken tabs or pins. If this is the case, you only have to find new plastic pins or tabs to fasten the panel back into position. However, a molding that’s moving in its position may also stem from cracked provisions that are no longer holding the pins properly.
There are two ways of dealing with this: fix the crack or replace the tailgate molding. We recommend the latter so you can still have the structural integrity that a tailgate molding should have.
Cracked or partly broken panel
This is the most obvious sign that you should replace the tailgate molding. Not only will your tailgate look bad, but the tailgate surface is also prone to scratches and impact damage. Think of the molding as the bumper for your tailgate—it’s meant to receive the blows to protect the panel.
You’re bored with how your tailgate looks
Let’s be honest, seeing something over and over can make that thing boring as time passes by. If you’re having the feeling that your tailgate is not as cool as how it used to be, then it’s time for an aesthetic update. Don’t worry, this upgrade is not an upgrade that only makes your truck look cool. Replacing the tailgate cap for aesthetic purposes still maintains its function, so if you’re looking for a viable reason, you’re safe.
How much is an OE tailgate molding replacement?
New tailgate moldings you can find at CarParts.com would cost you anywhere between $18 and $360. They get sold individually or could come as part of a kit. Browse the catalog to find the perfect tailgate cap for your truck. You can make your search easier by inputting the year, make, and model of your truck in the filter tab under the search menu. Choose which brand, series, or budget range you prefer on the left-hand corner to cut even more time for your search.