The Ins and Outs of Tonneau Covers

Covering the bed of that truck is an important consideration for many truck owners. Installing a bed cover helps ensure that your bed remains in good condition and that it is always clean and dry for use. However, rather than putting a camper shell on your truck, you might be considering a tonneau cover. Of course, as with most other truck accessories, you will need to consider the subject in greater depth prior to making any type of purchase decision. What should you know about tonneau covers?

Construction Material

Your first choice will be in construction materials. You will find at least three different options on the market, including fabric, fiberglass and plastic. Each type has its own pros and cons, so you should consider each in depth.

Fabric – Fabric tonneau covers are among the lightest out there, which is an important consideration, as you will have to raise and lower the cover to access your bed. However, fabric is also the least durable and the least protective of all available materials. It is the most affordable, though.

Fiberglass – Fiberglass tonneau covers are some of the more expensive options on the market, but they are considerably stronger than fabric options and they have a great look. These can be molded into almost any shape and provide years of wear and tear. However, fiberglass can be easily cracked and does not have the strength of plastic, or the lightness of fabric. In addition, fiberglass is quite heavy.

Plastic – A wide range of plastic tonneau covers can be found, including those that are far more durable than fiberglass. These can hold up to a ton on top of the cover and are not subject to cracking. In addition, they are far lighter than fiberglass, but they are certainly among the most expensive options on the market.

Ease of Installation/Removal

Of course, you will want to find a tonneau cover that is easy to install, which means no cutting or drilling in the bed or on the sides of the truck. However, there will come a time when you have to remove that cover, so you should look for an option that is easy to both install and to remove. You will find some options on the market that promise installation in under a minute and removal in less than two minutes, though you will have to ensure that the rest of the criteria match your needs.

Method of Opening

A wide range of tonneau covers exists on the market and you will need to find one with a method of opening that you can manage easily. For instance, you will find covers that snap in the corners, as well as covers that fold back in segments. You will also find covers that lift up on hydraulic shocks, and those that roll out like spring-loaded window shades. Choose the option that is best for you, without sacrificing quality, durability or security.


Yet another consideration with tonneau covers, whether buying it for a Ford, Dodge, Chevy or GMC is the method of locking. You will certainly want to ensure that your cargo is secure. Most covers come with some form of locking mechanism, though these vary wildly throughout the industry. Dual stainless steel locking mechanisms are ideal, though you will find others available that certainly offer benefits, as well.

Percentage of Usability

An unfortunate side effect of some tonneau covers is that you do not have access to 100% of your bed. It is important that the cover you choose offers you full access, in order for you to make the most of that truck bed.