How to Properly Maintain Your Tonneau Cover

4WheelOnline
4 min readMay 22, 2023

Tonneau covers give truck owners a lot of advantages. It allows you to safely haul your items without worrying that they will be damaged by the elements and stolen by thieves. The truck bed is one of the most crucial vehicle parts, and a tonneau cover is one way to protect it.

Choosing the right bed cover for your truck is just the beginning. Maintenance is also a must. In this guide, we will share some tips that can help extend the life of your tonneau cover, so you can count on it whenever you need it.

Photo Credit: mobile living

Soft Tonneau Cover

Soft tonneau covers have a canvas-like appearance made of vinyl or rubber. You can fold the cover back over itself since they are lightweight than hard bed covers. These covers are relatively easy to maintain and clean. The most important thing is to ensure they are washed regularly, especially if kept outside, where they can accumulate dirt, dust, and grime over time.

Keeping the cover dry and clean when unused is the key to maintaining its top condition. If you allow moisture or dirt inside your soft vinyl cover, it could become damaged over time due to exposure to moisture and dirt particles which will cause mold growth inside the material, weakening it.

Hard Tonneau Covers

Hard tonneau covers are typically made from aluminum or steel and come in different styles and colors to match any truck’s design or style. These covers are heavier than soft ones because they require extra reinforcement for strength and durability but offer more protection from the elements such as rain, snow, and hail stones.

Soap and water can help to clean a hard tonneau cover without hassle. Try using car shampoo or dish soap as a budget-friendly alternative. It is important to check if the soap doesn’t contain ammonia, as it will damage the paint on your vehicle. If you run out of soap or dish detergent, use water mixed with vinegar instead. Vinegar will remove dirt from the surface of your tonneau cover without damaging the paint underneath it.

Crucial Maintenance Tips for Your Tonneau Cover

  • Do regular inspections

It is crucial to regularly inspect your tonneau cover for rips, tears, or holes. Any damage to the tonneau cover will allow water and debris to get inside your truck bed, which could cause rusting and corrosion on the metal components of your vehicle.

It’s also crucial to check for tears and holes in your tonneau cover so they don’t get any bigger over time. Do this by looking at the cover’s underside and checking for any frayed spots where pieces have come loose or ripped off entirely. Contact a professional for help replacing these pieces or repairing any damaged parts if necessary.

  • Clean it regularly

Clean your tonneau cover at least once every few weeks with an all-purpose cleaner or mild soap solution. After cleaning it, do not forget to rinse the cover so no residue remains on the material’s surface. Avoid using products containing ammonia (such as Windex) when cleaning your cover, as these can damage the vinyl coating on some types of tonneau covers.

  • Open and close it correctly

Make sure you open and close your tonneau cover properly, especially with both hands. Ensure the cover is not trapped on something before opening or closing it. A stuck tonneau cover can cause damage to the locking mechanism or even break the hinge pins that hold it in place.

  • Make sure it is fastened in place

One way to ensure that you are treating your tonneau cover properly is to guarantee that every piece of hardware that holds it together is secure. It includes screws, bolts, and clips.

If you find any loose parts, tighten them immediately. It will ensure that your bed cover stays in place and does not cause damage to other truck parts.

  • Do not put heavy objects on the cover

Placing something heavy on the cover could damage the material or bend its frame. Plus, if it rains heavily while you have something heavy on top of the cover, water could leak inside through any holes or seams in the material.

Tonneau covers are designed with additional support to keep them from bending or collapsing under extreme loads, but if too much weight is placed on top for too long, it may compromise their structure and cause permanent damage over time.

  • Lubricate the tonneau cover’s moving parts

Lubricating the moving parts of your truck bed cover will ensure that they operate smoothly. It keeps them from sticking, which can cause damage to other parts of your truck. For example, if your side rails are sticking together, this could result in a tear or rip in the vinyl when you try to open the tailgate. If this happens, you must replace both sides of your tonneau cover instead of just one side. Additionally, lubricating these areas can make it easier for you to open and close your tailgate without damaging any part of it or causing stress on it over time.

  • Remove ice and snow as gently as possible

Remove ice gently from the top of your cover by spraying warm water over it first and then gently scraping it off with a plastic scraper or other plastic tools. Avoid using anything sharp or abrasive, as this will damage the vinyl or canvas fabric of the cover itself.

Remove snow gently as possible. Using a shovel or any other hard object to remove snow from the bed cover s not recommended. Better to use a soft brush or broom instead.

Conclusion

Whether you rely on your tonneau cover to protect your truck bed or want to improve the vehicle’s aesthetic appeal, take the time to take care of it properly. The tips discussed above will help keep your cover in great shape for a long time. Different tonneau cover types require specific maintenance requirements; research them before purchasing one for your truck.

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