Tonneau covers, which also go by the name “truck bed covers,” are a popular and useful truck accessory. Your friends who have them can’t stop telling you how great they are. But you want to know if tonneau covers are really worth buying.
There are a lot of good things about tonneau covers that make them a good investment for many truck owners. Even though you have to pay for it up front, the extra protection it gives your truck bed and your things will likely save you money in the long run.
Buying a tonneau cover is not a small expense either way. I’ll give you all the helpful information you need to make the best decision for your situation.
Pros & Cons of Tonneau Covers
You can decide what’s best for you by weighing the pros and cons of buying and installing a tonneau cover.
I’ll talk about the best and worst things about tonneau covers.
Tonneau Cover Pros
#1 They Protect Your Stuff
A tonneau cover is first and foremost a cover for your “tonneau,” which is what its name means. The word “tonneau” is just a fancy French word for a part of your car that is open to the air.
Putting a cover on your truck bed does a lot to protect it and the things in it from getting damaged or stolen.
First, the tonneau cover keeps the weather from getting to your cargo and truck bed.
This includes things like rain, snow, hail, salty road slush, wind, dust, and the sun’s UV rays. The weather can wear down your truck bed over time, which will lower its resale value.
The material used to make these covers is high-quality and strong, so they will last for a long time.
Tonneau covers hide your stuff from people who want to steal it. Some hardcovers and some softcovers lock shut, but even if the cover doesn’t lock, the stuff isn’t an easy target.
#2 They Keep Your Truck Bed Clean
It is notoriously hard to keep truck beds clean. If dust or dirt gets in, you’ll have to use a hose to get it all out when it’s time to clean.
Also, water that stays in your truck bed for a long time will start to smell bad.
All of these problems are fixed by tonneau covers. As a shield against dirt and water, all you have to do to clean the cover is spray it off.
Some tonneau covers also have a way for water to get out of your truck bed if it gets trapped there.
#3 They Make Your Truck Look Great!
The tonneau cover makes a truck look sleek and finished.
There’s a tonneau cover for everyone, no matter what style you like. Most tonneau covers are black, and most of the time they have a matte finish. But you can also choose from aluminium, vinyl, and fibreglass.
You can even get a hardtop that goes with the colour of your truck. A tonneau cover is sure to get people’s attention, whether it’s painted to match the truck or is just black.
#4 There are Many Options to Choose From
There is a tonneau cover that will work for you based on what you need.
Need something less expensive? The price of soft covers is a little bit less than that of hard ones.
Do you need a strong, durable cover for the job site? Some hardtop tonneau covers can take a 500-pound hit without breaking.
There are also options for how they open and how far they can open, as well as extra parts that can be used to store things like bikes on top of the cover.
Tonneau Cover Cons
#1 They are an Added Expense
Tonneau covers can be pricey, there’s no way around it. Even if you choose a cheaper option, you are still spending extra money.
Keep in mind that this initial investment could mean that you spend less on repairs or maintenance for your truck bed and that your cargo stays undamaged.
The people who make your tonneau cover know what you need. Most of the time, the cover will last longer and be of better quality if it costs more. Also, pay close attention to the warranty.
#2 Some Tonneau Covers are Restrictive
Before you buy a tonneau cover, it’s a good idea to think about what you want to carry in your truck bed. Some covers won’t open or come off the way you need them to.
For example, a tri-folding cover won’t fully open the truck bed even if the back of the cab is flipped up.
Also, some hard-top covers are put on in a way that makes it hard to take them off the truck bed when you need the whole bed. If you care about this, you can buy one that is easy to take off.
#3 They are Not Universal
Before you buy a tonneau cover, make sure it fits the make and model of your truck.
Not all tonneau covers will fit all trucks, but if you know the make and model of your truck, you can probably choose from a few different kinds.
How Much Do Tonneau Covers Cost?
When shopping for a tonneau cover, the price is an important thing to think about.
Depending on what features you want, tonneau covers can cost anywhere from $200 to around $2,000.
Most soft tonneau covers will be found at the lower end of the price range. Most of the time, these are made of vinyl with an aluminium frame.
On the higher end, you will start to see more hard materials and fancy features like retractable covers that you can push a button to open and close and covers that are very strong.
Why are Tonneau Covers So Expensive?
Tonneau covers are expensive because they are made from materials that will last for a long time. You want your tonneau cover to work when you buy it, right?
Tonneau covers have a lot of mechanical and functional parts that need to be made of the best materials, which cost more money.
Tip: My article about how much a tonneau cover costs can tell you more.
Where to Buy a Tonneau Cover
If you want to find a tonneau cover, it’s not too hard to do so. Here are a few places where you can find tonneau covers.
1. Online Vendors
You can buy a tonneau cover from a number of online stores.
TonneauCoversWorld.com has a large selection, free returns, and helpful videos for each cover.
There is also Realtruck.com.
Tonneau covers are also sold on Amazon.com.
2. “Big Box” Stores
If you’d rather buy in person, you can probably find tonneau covers at a big box store near you.
AutoZone, Home Depot, Tractor Supply Co., and Walmart are some of these stores.
3. Local Vendors
There may be a store in your town that only sells truck parts.
These stores are sure to know everything there is to know about tonneau covers, and they might even install them for you.
Should I Get a Tonneau Cover?
That depends! What do you want your truck to do for you?
A tonneau cover might be great for you if you want to cover your truck bed, keep your cargo safe, and be able to put and take off the cover easily.
Camper shells and truck toppers are both good ways to protect your cargo and truck bed.
Even so, camper shells don’t always do a great job of keeping dirt out of the truck bed. They are also hard to take off if you need to carry something big.
Tonneau covers have some limitations, of course. Some tonneau covers aren’t flexible enough to let you carry long items.
You can’t use a tonneau cover twice as much if you sleep in it. In this case, you might be better off with a camper shell.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas?
There are rumours that tonneau covers can save you money at the gas station. Actually, not all of this is true. The studies that say you save on MPGs only saw savings at 85 MPH on the highway, which is not very often when you are driving your truck.
Do Tonneau Covers Make Noise?
When you are driving down the road, a tonneau cover that fits well and is made of hard material shouldn’t make any noise. At high speeds, a soft tonneau cover might make some noise, but it shouldn’t be flapping, and if it is, it should be fixed quickly.
If you’re willing to pay for one, a tonneau cover is well worth the money. Even the cheap ones offer better protection than nothing. Most tonneau covers are easy to put on and use as well.
No matter what kind of cover you choose, a truck bed cover will make your truck bed and your cargo last longer. This makes tonneau covers a great investment.