Whenever you need some kind of protection for your cargo at the back of your truck, an indispensible tonneau cover is a good investment in keeping delicate or heavy load behind your truck.
A truck tonneau cover is a hard or soft vinyl cover that covers the bed of the truck. Oftentimes, it is also spelled as "tonno" cover. It is held in place by snaps, C-channels, or via a rolling-down mechanism. Using a truck tonneau cover will give you spacious trunk for storing cargo and protecting from bad weather and prying eyes.
The tonneau cover is also a great help in improving your truck fuel mileage. Normally, the aerodynamics of a truck bed don't actually fit well from a streamlining point. With the tonno cover, the airflow is smoother across the back of the truck. The roll-up truck tonneau cover best suits for cold-weather. As cold weather shrinks the vinyl material, the roll-up tonno cover uses an innovative latching mechanism to stretch the material automatically without the use of pliers to snap down the truck tonneau cover. Another plus factor is the support bows that shapes the tonneau cover. This means more space to the truck bed.
With the tonneau cover, there will be no more worries in hauling your cargo in the truck bed in almost all kinds of extreme weather and prying eyes.
Tonneau Cover Buyer's Guide
Be it a vintage vehicle or a factory-fresh unit, your pickup truck will get a lot of use out of a tonneau cover. Aside from the straightforward advantage of protecting the truck bed and its cargo from weather, this truck accessory offers subtler benefits. Tonneau covers come in several different types. You will likely find a model that not only suits your needs but makes your truck look good.
What is a tonneau cover?
Tonneau is a French word that means “cask” or “barrel,” and it comes from the winemaking industry. The term was first used in the automobile industry during the early 20th century and referred to the barrel-shaped, open air rear passenger compartment in early cars. These compartments came with leather sheets called “tonneau covers” that covered the empty seats when they weren’t occupied by people.
The term migrated to hot rod racing, where tonneau cover described any material that closed a primitive race car’s open parts to cut down wind drag. Many racers claimed that the covers made it possible to set new speed records with early cars.
Today, tonneau covers usually refer to the truck accessories that seal off the pickup truck bed. Some people also call them “truck bed covers.”
Benefits of a tonneau cover
Protects against the elements
A tonneau cover acts as the roof of the pickup truck bed. Depending on its materials and design, it provides protection from sunlight, dirt, and dust. It also repels precipitation like rain and snow. The cover protects the bed from weathering and reduces the need to clean the space.
Enhances the vehicle’s aerodynamics
While the latest designs and technologies have made them lighter and sleeker, pickup trucks remain aerodynamically inefficient. In particular, the truck bed generates wind drag that slows the truck down.
Installing a truck bed cover closes off the truck bed, thereby getting rid of the sizable open space and its associated wind drag. The cover’s streamlined surface improves the truck’s aerodynamic performance.
Boosts fuel efficiency
Most pickup truck engines deliver more than enough engine horsepower to overcome wind drag from an exposed truck bed. But inefficient aerodynamics force an engine to work harder and burn more fuel than it should.
By making a pickup truck more streamlined, a tonneau cover lightens the engine load. The vehicle’s engine doesn’t have to work as hard as before. It delivers the same performance while burning less fuel.
Out of sight, out of mind. A tonneau cover keeps other people honest by stopping them from easily peering into your pickup truck bed and getting tempted to lift its contents. Some covers offer more security options like sturdier construction, locks, and disguised storage containers.
Speaking of storage, tonneau covers can get more use out of the pickup truck bed. Some designs have attached containers like wheel hump pockets and sliding toolboxes. Since these storage spaces fasten to the cover instead of lying unsecured on the floor, they do not slide around while you drive.
Other heavy-duty truck bed covers have storage racks for smaller vehicles like bicycles or motorcycles. The strongest models will support the weight of an ATV.
Types of truck bed covers
Tonneau covers come in five different types: folding, roll-up, retractable, hinged, and snap covers.
Folding tonneau cover
One of the most popular and versatile cover types, folding covers feature two or more connected segments. By folding one segment, a truck owner can reach part of the truck bed while ensuring the rest of the storage space stays covered. People who regularly haul large, oddly shaped cargo will appreciate this convenience.
Roll-up tonneau cover
This type rolls back towards the pickup truck’s bulkhead. Since they don’t need to follow pre-set folds, roll-up tonneau covers offer more precision than folding covers when it comes to fitting outsized cargo in the truck bed.
Retractable tonneau cover
A retractable cover withdraws into a compact canister mounted at the bulkhead. It offers roughly the same capabilities as a roll-up cover and suits the specific needs of truck owners who rely on in-bed hitches to tow their cargo trailers. Several models have locks that let them stay in partially opened positions.
Hinged tonneau cover
This cover uses a large one-piece lid affixed to a hinge at the bulkhead, with the ability to stay locked while partly open. It can have issues fitting oversized objects under its lid and the truck owner may need to remove the entire cover before he can use the entire truck bed. However, a hinged tonneau cover fits flush over the bed, making it an attractive option for people who don’t plan to haul big items in their truck.
Snap tonneau cover
A typical snap tonneau cover consists of a metal frame that attaches to the truck bed and a vinyl lid that snaps on the frame. It matches the sleek shape of a hinged cover but enjoys more versatility. A truck owner only needs to remove the snap lid to free up the bed for outsize cargo.
Soft tonneau cover versus hard tonneau cover
Tonneau covers can also be divided into two groups—soft covers and hard covers—based on their materials.
A hard tonneau cover uses sturdy materials like heavy-duty plastic. They generally offer greater security, especially the hinged covers with locking mechanisms. They also often share the same paint jobs as the pickup trucks.
On the other side of the spectrum sit soft tonneau covers. They use lighter and less expensive materials, such as aluminum in the frame and vinyl for the cover. Installing and removing them usually proves easier and faster as well.
If you’ve decided to cover up your pickup truck bed, CarParts.com can help you find the most suitable tonneau cover. We offer soft and hard covers for both standard and stepside truck beds, with prices that range anywhere between $236.63 and $1,879.88. The price tags are exclusive to our store and you may find higher prices elsewhere. To find a specific truck bed cover that snugly fits your vehicle, enter its year, make, and model in the filter bar.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Tonneau Cover
Your rig definitely wouldn't be complete without a tonneau cover. Made from fiberglass, metal or faux leather, a tonneau cover shelters your valuables and looks great when properly installed. This cover also comes in various styles. The most basic is the cloth or fabric tonneau cover. To support the fabric and keep it tightly stretched over your vehicle's cargo area, this tonneau cover uses a rib-like system. Another tonneau cover style is the roll-up tonneau cover. Mounted at the front of the bed behind the cab, this tonneau cover is a rectangular frame attached to each side of the bed. Contained inside the frame is a rectangular fabric or plastic cover that can be rolled out and secured to the end of the bed. Easy to use, this type of tonneau cover takes only a few minutes to install. Among the styles, the fiberglass or hard plastic tonneau cover is the most popular. It's because this style is durable and looks good. This can be painted to match your rig, too. Whatever style of tonneau cover you want for your vehicle, you can surely get it here at CarParts.com.
• The tonneau cover is available in various styles, and whichever type you want, you can see it at our catalogs.
• A durable tonneau cover protects your vehicle's cargo from harmful environmental elements.
• Our tonneau covers are also easy to install and affordable; in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find lower-priced tonneau covers anywhere else.
Tonneau Cover: How to Choose the Right Cover for Your Truck
Why You Need a Tonneau Cover
A lot of pickup truck owners think that a cargo bed is designed that way because it's supposed to be exposed. Well it's not-when not in use. The possibility of getting it quickly rusted depends on how often you travel with the bed uncovered especially when you don't have anything to put there. That's why you need to accessorize it with the right kind of tonneau cover. Otherwise, you'd eventually be disappointed by how quickly a cargo area turned into a bed of dust and rust. Aside from protection, this cover can also add a little bit of style. You can actually provide your ride that streamlined look without even spending a lot.
A Wise Pick
Now the big question is this: How do you choose the right tonneau cover for your vehicle? We are not talking about compatibility here-but durability. You see, there are a lot of brands out there that tell you the same value propositions, but only you can see if the tonneau cover is durable based on its product life. So everything still boils down to your shopping decision. If you don't want to feel bad about actually buying enticing words rather than the features, here are some of the things you MUST consider when buying a cover for your truck:
- Shrink resistance ? A plastic material shrinks under a high temperature, and because tonneau covers are usually made from vinyl or fiberglass (which are also plastic), make sure that it's built to endure excessive heat.
- Sturdiness ? There are different kinds of covers, which means that durability is based on what kind you're picking. If you're after maximum protection, you should choose a hard tonneau cover that's made from a sturdy fiberglass material. But if you prefer a quick access to your truck's bed, a soft roll-up cover will do; it's also one of the most economical options most stores can provide you.
- Design ? It might surprise you, but a cover's durability is also based on its design. Strapped for cash? You can settle for roll-up covers that can provide your ride the average protection it needs. Folding and hinged covers are usually the great picks-they're designed for both functionality and durability. On the down side, access into the cargo area might need a little lifting if you're using a folding or hinged accessory, which is quite different when you're using a roll-up tonneau cover.
Your money's worth depends on how much you know about the product you're buying. So before you order a cover for your pickup truck, make sure you know what features you're looking for. Or else, you'll end up frustrated about picking the wrong product-it's a lot worse than getting ripped off.
Keeping Your Tonneau Cover in Good Condition
Tonneau covers provide protection, but these can be pretty much vulnerable if you don't know how to properly keep them neat. So, make sure you spend some time doing regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure they last long.
Difficulty Level: Easy
What You'll Need:
- Mild soap solution
- White cotton towel
- Dry sponge
Here are some of the dos when cleaning a cargo cover:
- Do the work in your garage or under a shaded area ? Why? For a simple reason that some covers expand or contract when exposed to heat or sunlight.
- Use a cool clean water and mild soap solution ? Because a tonneau cover is usually made from plastic, some harsh chemicals might cause damage.
- Use a white cotton towel ? Plastic-made covers are easily scratched, so it would be advisable to wipe your tonneau cover with a soft cloth for a sure sleek and unscathed finish.
- Wipe off excess soap or water using a sponge ? Using a dry sponge, carefully absorb the excess liquid in between seams.
What NOT TO Do
Knowing how to properly clean a tonneau cover doesn't give an assurance that it's safe from any kinds of damage. You don't want to shell out dollars for a replacement, do you? So here are some of the things you should avoid doing:
- NEVER use an abrasive or rough cleaning pad ? Tonneau covers are made from sleek plastic material; just a simple scratch can leave that stylish cover ruined.
- DON'T use harsh chemicals ? Dish washing liquids, bleaches, dry-cleaning solvents, and other strong cleaners might fade the cover's nice finish.
- DON'T use hot water ? In the first place, there's no reason to use hot water when cleaning a tonneau cover-but some did! So to avoid plastic contraction, just make sure you don't hose down hot water on your truck's bed cover.
Your product's life also depends on how well you're taking care of it. No matter how great the features are, the cargo cover won't last if maintenance is not provided.