When something is popular, it’s easy to buy it without giving it much thought. Tonneau covers are useful, look great on trucks, and seem to have all the bells and whistles, whether you order one to match the colour of your truck or buy a fancy retractable one.
But you’re a smart buyer, so before you run out and buy a tonneau cover, you want to ask a few questions about them. We’ve put together the four most-asked questions about tonneau covers to either answer questions you already have or give you new ones.
Are Tonneau Covers Removable?
You don’t have to keep a tonneau cover on your truck if you don’t want to.
All tonneau covers can be taken off.
Tonneau covers have latches that make it easy to roll or fold the cover back almost all the way.
One-piece tonneau covers can’t be rolled back, pulled back, or folded back, but even the very heavy ones can be taken off your truck if you need to.
Some one-piece tonneau covers come with a rack that you can mount on the wall of your garage to store the cover when it’s not in use.
Even though you can roll or fold back most tonneau covers all the way, you might still want to take it off.
One reason for this is transporting cargo that is very big or long. You might be selling your truck and want to take the cover all the way off before you do (make sure the cover will fit on your new truck, though).
Most models can be put together without drilling. They are put together with strong clamps.
This is how most tonneau covers are put on, so if you decide you don’t want it anymore, you won’t do any permanent damage to your truck. Since these covers are usually easy to put on by yourself, they are also easy to take off by yourself.
Before you buy a tonneau cover, think about how you usually (or will) use your truck bed. If you will be hauling a lot of big, long things, you might want to get a cover that rolls back or retracts all the way.
Folding tonneau covers can still get in the way for the last 10% of space toward the cab. They are heavy, so if you need to take them off, it can be a little more of a hassle. This is also why it’s hard to make hard, one-piece tonneau covers.
So, if you are going to take the cover off a lot, you might want to choose one that is soft, light, and can roll back almost all the way.
Are Tonneau Covers Secure?
What you mean by “secure” makes a difference. We’ll take this to mean, “Can a tonneau cover be locked?”
Some tonneau covers are safer than others, and the ones we think are the safest are the hard ones that do lock. This includes hard tonneau covers that fold up and hard tonneau covers that roll up.
But you could think that all tonneau covers are safe. A thief is more likely to steal something from a truck with no cover than from a truck with a soft tonneau cover.
Thieves are much more likely to take something that is easy to get than something that they have to break into.
Even soft covers that roll, fold, or roll back can’t be easily opened without the tailgate down.
With these models, you first open the tailgate and then pull a cord or press a button to open the cover. This means that your stuff is pretty safe as long as your tailgate is locked.
Even so, there are some tonneau covers that are not as safe as others.
Let’s go over them quickly!
The Least Secure Tonneau Cover
The tonneau cover that opens with snaps is probably the least secure and cheapest option.
These are easy for anyone to open or close because the snaps are all around the edge of the truck bed.
These snap-on covers are a good choice for someone who doesn’t care too much about security in their truck bed and wants to save some money. But it’s not a good choice for someone who wants to lock and keep their things safe.
The Most Secure Tonneau Cover
Check out the one-piece hard top tonneau covers if you want the safest tonneau cover on the market. The safest tonneau covers are those that are all one piece.
This is because they are hard, but also because some models have an extra lock that you can only open with a key or a keyless fob. Also, these covers can only be opened in one way, while other covers can be opened in more than one way.
It might be annoying to have to unlock two sets of locks before you can open the bed of your truck, but not if you want the bed to be really secure.
Do Tonneau Covers Keep Water Out?
Most of the time, a tonneau cover can keep water out of your truck bed, especially if it is put on right. But they aren’t completely waterproof by any means.
What I mean is that most tonneau covers are made so that water can’t get in when it’s coming straight down, like when it’s pouring rain. But if you point a pressure washer straight at the seals, water will probably get in.
Tonneau covers are made with rubber or foam seals around the inside of the truck to keep as much water out as possible. The thing is, water can get into your truck whether or not the tonneau cover is on.
No matter what kind of cover you have on your truck bed, water can get in through two places.
The first place is right next to the cab of your truck, along the sides of the bed. There are tiny holes through which a lot of water can get into your truck bed if the weather is right.
Water can also get into your truck bed through holes around the tailgate. Unless your truck has great seals around the tailgate, water can get in.
Truck makers put these holes there so that water can flow out of your truck when it rains.
So, water isn’t always getting in through the tonneau cover.
If you have water in your truck bed even when the tonneau cover is on, make sure to seal all the other places in the truck as well. Some companies make seal kits that make it easy to close off these spaces yourself.
To sum up, tonneau covers do keep water out of the truck bed most of the time, but they shouldn’t be seen as the only way to keep water out. There are other places in your truck bed where water can get in, and if that bothers you, you should spend some time sealing those up.
After you’ve filled all those holes, choose a hard tonneau cover with a way for water to drain.
Are Tonneau Covers Car Wash Safe?
Most manufacturers say that their tonneau covers are safe to use in a car wash as long as they are properly closed and installed on your truck bed. But that doesn’t mean you should definitely do it.
One reason you might buy and put on a tonneau cover is to keep the bed of your truck clean. It is much easier to clean a tonneau cover than the inside of a truck bed. You might wonder, though, if a tonneau cover can handle how hard a car wash is.
Automatic car washes are okay with both hard and soft tops. Even though cover manufacturers say this is true, automatic car washes can be hard on your cover, especially if it is soft.
High-pressure water, friction from spinning brushes, and automatic dryers can all put stress on a soft tonneau cover that isn’t necessary. Also, water that sprays in from different directions may get through the seals that are supposed to keep your truck bed dry.
If you decide to use an automatic car wash, which you may have to do for safety reasons, make sure all of your cargo is in the truck bed and the tonneau cover is on correctly. If your cover isn’t on right, an automatic car wash will definitely damage it.
Using the car wash’s manual side is the next best way to wash a truck with a tonneau cover. So, you can control how hard the water is sprayed on the cover and where it goes.
You could also choose to clean your cover with chemicals instead of water. This is the best way to wash your cover, and it will keep your tonneau cover in good shape for the longest time.
This method is the hardest, though, because you have to take off the cover to wash it.