10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Tonneau Cover
One of the more popular pickup truck accessory upgrades or
enhancements is a tonneau cover (also commonly referred to as
a truck bed cover.) Whether you are using your truck for work or
leisure, a truck is not fully functional or complete unless it has a
tonneau. In fact, in our eyes a tonneau-less truck is butt-naked.
We're guessing you're here because you're thinking about
covering up your truck's bare behind. However, a tonneau cover
can be an expensive purchase and there are some important
questions you should ask yourself when you are considering
buying a tonneau.
No matter what type of tonneau cover you want or need, it must fit certain specs, like your budget, before you know it’s the right one for you. Roll and snap covers are usually the cheapest style, starting around $300-$400. Retractable bed covers come in at over $1000, so keep that in mind when you want superior usability and design, you’ll have to pay for it. But here at the Merrillville Auto Glass & Trim, even the inexpensive covers are top quality and are made to last, so you’ll get more than what you bargain for either way.
1. What is your main purpose of adding a tonneau to your
Are you looking for function, security, looks, versatility or easy
removal? With or without a tool box? Cargo system?
2. Hard or soft, that is the question?
Hard tonneau covers traditionally cost more and offer more
security. Soft tonneau covers generally are less expensive but are
3. How often do you need access to your truck bed and to
Do you need quick access to the entire truck bed on a daily basis
or just occasional access? Both hard and soft tonneau's are
available in folding, retracting and hinging designs. Most offer
easy tailgate access and select hard tonneau covers also lock the
tailgate when the cover is locked. A hard retracting or soft roll-up
cover can quickly be opened for virtually full truck bed access,
without needing to remove the cover. Soft and hard hinging
tonneau covers can be lifted open but require some extra effort if
you need to fully remove them. Soft folding tonneau covers can
easily be totally removed or folded forward for bed access.
Whereas hard folding tonneau covers can be folded forward for
bed access but are more difficult to fully remove.
4. What's your budget for a tonneau cover?
Soft covers generally cost $300 to $550 where as hard covers
start at about $500 and go up to over $2,000.
5. Who is installing the tonneau cover?
Most soft tonneau covers can be installed in 1 hour by someone
with limited mechanical skills. Hard tonneau's generally can be
installed in 1 to 2 hours by someone with limited mechanical skills.
However, most covers work best only if they are properly
installed. If you don't line up a rail correctly on a roll-up tonneau if
may be more difficult to close. If you missed the correct seal
placement on a hard tonneau it may not be as water tight. Soft
tonneau covers tend to be more forgiving on the installation than a
6. Do you want to have the tonneau on your truck all the
time or just occasionally?
Most tonneau covers are a clamp on style installation. This
generally requires a hand tool or two. However, soft tri-fold
tonneau covers install with hand clamps which allows this style of
tonneau to be installed or completely removed in seconds.
7. How tall is your truck?
If you have a lifted pickup, a roll-up, snap, folding or hinging cover
will be harder to use since your truck is so tall. A hard tonneau,
which is heavier, compounds the situation more. If your truck is
lifted you may need to get onto the tailgate to operate the cover.
8. The bed liner dilemma. Do you have this issue?
There are 2 basic designs of bed liners; under the rail and over
the rail. A pickup truck equipped with a under the rail bed liner will
not have any issues installing a tonneau cover. A pickup truck with
an over the rail bed liner, (this bed liner is wrapped over the bed
rails of the truck bed on each side and protect the top of the truck
bed), can be very difficult to install. Especially if it's an inside the
bed mounted tonneau, it squeezes the width of the tonneau. If
you have an over the rail bedliner, than most over the rail mounted
tonneau covers will work, but the installation will be trickier. If you
have an over the rail bed liner, its best to check with the tonneau
cover you want to buy to make sure it will can be installed with an
over the rail bedliner.
9. Are you planning to use the top of the bed rails?
Will Hard Roll-Up Covers BAK REvolution 2
We also offer "hard roll-up" tonneau covers which feature a soft
vinyl layer covering a wall of individual aluminum slats. In the fully
closed position, these slats line up and lock in place to form a hard
shell that can support a great deal of weight (up to 400 pounds in
some cases). If you carry cargo that tends to shift or bounce
around underneath a tonneau cover, hard roll-up tonneau covers are
strong enough to serve as a barrier to keep things in place instead
of falling out. Plus, they're highly theft-resistant. They may cost a
little more but if you truly need the protection hard roll-up covers
offer, the money spent on them may be well worth it. We've got the
Truxedo Titanium Hard Rolling cover and the BAK Revolver X2
rolling cover. more details on - http://www.carid.com/articles
Roll-Up Tonneau Covers: Are constructed using
quality vinyl and use Velcro as there closing
Snap Tonneau Covers:
A variation of the roll up tonneau cover, they come
in roll-up or hinged design. generally consist of an
aluminum frame that clamps to your truck's bed
with a snap-dow cover attached to the
Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers - Tri-fold covers come in
factory or aftermarket bed rail caps limit your choices?
Some tonneau covers are mounted inside the bed and some are
mounted on the top of the bed rail. Most roll-up covers mount on
the inside of the truck bed and this allows you have access to the
top of truck bed rail to add tie downs or bed rails (provide your
truck has stake pockets). Other tonneau covers mount to the top
of the truck bed rails and cover your stake covers if you have
them. As for bed caps, all tonneau covers will work with factory
bed caps and most aftermarket bed caps. For aftermarket bed
caps, if they are smooth stainless steel or molded abs you won't
have too many issues. However, diamond plate bed caps can
make it harder to install any style of tonneau whether it's an over
or inside the rail mount. As this kind of bed cap is generally
thicker and effects the tonneau seals and tonneau cover fit. If you
have bed rails, bed caps or tie downs installed in your truck bed
its best to check to make sure the tonneau you are looking to buy
with work for you.
10. Tonneau cover maintenance. How much are you willing
Every tonneau cover generally has maintenance instructions.
However, the more mechanical the tonneau, the more
maintenance is required to extend the life of the tonneau cover.
Soft tonneau covers should have the vinyl cover cleaned. Each
soft tonneau manufacturer suggests various cleaning products
and time period. Hard tonneau covers, depending on the style,
generally have cleaning instructions for the top of the cover.
Retracting tonneau covers have cleaning instructions for the rails
BAK Flip Tonneau Cover
Unlike some other truck bed covers, the BAK flip tonneau cover
lies flush with the bedside instead of the top, giving you optimal
rear visibility. One of the best patented features, however, is that
it’s uniquely designed to fold upright against the cab if you need
full access to the whole truck bed. This allows you to transport
5th wheels, motorcycles, or even quads without having to
completely remove the tonneau cover.
Extang Solid Fold Tonneau Cover
If you’re looking for something quick and simple, it doesn’t get any
more user-friendly than the Extang Solid Fold tonneau cover. With
an innovative front and rear clamp design, these tri-folding
tonneau covers can be installed in just seconds, no tools required!
This is an industry exclusive feature.
Extang Trifecta Tonneau Cover
Fast and simple could be the motto of the Extang Trifecta
tonneau cover. Designed to be both attractive and user-friendly,
this tonneau cover can be installed in minutes without any tools
thanks to the industry exclusive front and rear clamp design. As
soon as you install it, you will see your gas mileage improve by up
to 10%, meaning Extang tonneau covers essentially pay for
themselves! Also be sure and checkout the Extang Trifecta
Signature Tonneau Cover.
Lund Genesis Snap Tonneau Cover
Custom fitted for each truck, the Genesis Snap tonneau cover
has an incredibly easy installation that can be done in less than 20
minutes with no tools or drilling required. The extra-thick bows
and rails are designed for a long life. Heavy-duty powder coating
protects it from damage, and the bows have a strong arch
support to keep water or snow from building up. Water damage is
also prevented by the snug fit of the integrated rear tailgate seal.
Plus, this tonneau cover uses sliding plastic Insulsnapsª instead of
metal snaps, to avoid scratches, chips, and corrosion.
Lund’s Genesis Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover
TheGenesis Tri-Fold tonneau cover arrives fully assembled and
ready to install in less than two minutes. From the black matte
finish to the black rails and bows, the all-black styling of this
tonneau cover makes it an incredibly sleek choice. Plus, the high
quality, double-sided fabric makes it durable and highly resistant
to tearing. The clamps have a quick release feature that is simple
to use, and it has a cam-action design to ensure the cover
remains tight and secure. If at anytime you prefer to leave the
Genesis Tri-Fold tonneau cover in its open position, you can
simply secure it with buckle-style straps.
Lund Genesis Roll-Up Tonneau Cover
Protect your truck bed and any cargo that’s in it with the Genesis
Roll Up tonneau cover. Rain and snow will no longer be a
concern, as the heavy-duty tear-resistant fabric is built to be
weatherproof and black powder-coated aluminum ribs keep water
from pooling. These match the black rails and bows, which are
not just stylish but also have a heavy-duty Velcro sealing system
that makes it incredibly easy to open and close. Plus, a unique
feature this tonneau cover brings to the table is an automatic
tension control that is actually built into the latch, saving you both
hassle and time. Because it’s pre-assembled, it takes less than
20 minutes to install with no drill required.
View all Lund Tonneau Cover
Truxedo Lo Pro QT Tonneau Cover
Ready for the fastest tonneau cover install in the industry?
Truxedo claims they’ve done it with simple clamp-on side rails and
a spring-loaded header guide that quickly installs in mere minutes.
And don’t think you’re exchanging quality for ease of install with
the Truxedo Lo Pro QT tonneau cover. You still get a low profile
design, automatic tension control, and Velcro brand fastening to
make sure the cover stays tight and secure. A hassle-free lifetime
warranty guarantees that this tonneau cover can stand the test of
time. You can also get a Harley-Davidson edition, which is
screen-printed with the famous H-D Bar & Shield.
Truxedo TruXport Tonneau Cover
Put an end to the inconvenience of snap-style tonneau covers and
choose the Truxedo TruXport. This is a soft roll-up tonneau cover
that is not only economical but also looks fantastic and is
incredibly simple to install and use. You won’t find any “covered
wagon” style arched bows here, opting instead for a sleek, stylish
design. With dual latching, the tonneau cover quickly and easily
rolls up and stores at the front of the truck bed in case you need
to transport larger cargo. The easy clamp-on design allows you
to install in just a few minutes. With a 5-year warranty and an
affordable price, it’s a deal that’s well worth it.
• Truxedo TonneauTraX
If you’re planning on hauling a lot of cargo around in your truck
bed, the Truxedo TonneauTraX is probably you’re best choice. By
integrating a tie town track with its unique rail design, this tonneau
cover secures cargo in just a few easy steps. First, roll open the
tonneau cover to reveal the rail system and quick attach cargo
anchors. To position an anchor, simply pull the handle, slide it to
the location of the cargo, and lock it into place. Attach the
anchors to cargo with heavy-duty clamps. This will make sure that
your cargo remains secure and doesn’t get tossed around the
truck bed. Not to mention, you still get the great features that
come with other tonneau covers including durable Velcro brand
fastening, patented automatic tension control, weatherproof
seals, and a quick and easy no drill install. The lifetime warranty
guarantees the quality of every part of the tonneau cover,
including the fabric.
• Bestop Bestrail Tonneau Cover
Bestop offers the new modular Bestop BestRail System in
multiple tonneau cover models to make sure you get exactly what
you need. Both hard and soft Bestop tonneau covers are built to
perfectly fit any truck bed and provide easy access to the entire
space. If you really want cargo to stay organized, you can
separately purchase tonneau storage trays to keep things in
order. You can fit up to 3 of these storage trays with a lockable
hard tonneau cover. Constructed with the same high-quality fabric
that’s used for Bestop Supertops for Jeeps and trucks, soft
tonneau covers can also accommodate these storage trays. No
matter your preference, both hard and soft tonneau covers
reduce tailgate drag, increasing fuel mileage up to 10%
• Pace-Edwards JackRabbit Retractable Truck Bed
The Pace-Edwards JackRabbit retractable truck bed cover
combines the traditional tonneau cover appearance with modern
technologies for optimal security and ease of use. Building off the
original Pace-Edwards’ roll-top tonneau cover, the JackRabbit
takes the padded, weather-resistant tonneau cover with durable
aluminum panels and brings some extra features of its own. The
key difference is the innovative Continuous Tension Spring, which
enables you to turn the latch mechanism and open the tonneau
cover automatically, and then use a pull strap to just as easily
close it. Lock the JackRabbit to keep your cargo safe or, when
you’re ready to unload, use the detent system to keep the
tonneau cover open at 12 inch intervals. The JackRabbit
retractable bed cover installs in an hour or less using a speed
clamp system – no drilling required.
• Pace-Edwards Bedlocker Truck Bed Cover
The Pace-Edwards Bedlocker is the only retractable tonneau
cover in the industry that uses a hand-held remote and electric
motor to control the truck bed cover. Install the canister at the
front of the bed and then simply push a button; the tonneau cover
will retract either partially or completely, allowing you to easily
access any stowed cargo. When you close the tonneau cover,
black powder-coated aluminum panels and patented silicon
weather hinges will protect your cargo from any harmful
elements. Installation takes about an hour with Pace Edwards’
clamp-in system, eliminating the hassle of drilling.
• Pace-Edwards Full Metal Jackrabbit Tonneau Cover
Get a load of the newest in the line of Pace-Edwards’ best-selling
retractable tonneau covers: the Full Metal Jackrabbit (FMJ). The
FMJ tonneau cover takes all the best features of the original
JackRabbit and builds upon them with black powder-coated
aluminum panels and patented silicon weather hinges. Easily
extend or retract the tonneau cover from its canister at the front
of the truck bed with Pace-Edwards’ innovative Continuous
Tension Spring. You can even lock the cover at 12 inch intervals
thanks to the low profile Latch ‘n Lok operating system. All FMJ
tonneau covers are flush-mounted for the best aerodynamics
while still allowing for a fifth wheel hitch. Installation takes about
an hour; with the no hassle clamp-in system, you can leave the
drill at home.
• Pop & Lock Tailgate Lock
Theft is always a concern when it comes to vehicles, especially
when you’re storing cargo in the bed of your truck. Pop & Lock
tailgate locks help to both prevent the theft of your tailgate and
increase the security of your tonneau cover or camper shell. If
you choose a manual lock, it easily installs into the tailgate. Or,
you can choose an electric tailgate lock that offers the
convenience of keyless entry and ultimate security. All patented
parts maintain the OE quality of your truck.