Proper tonneau cover maintenance can mean a cover that lasts a long time. The tips in this post will help you ensure that.
Tonneau covers are costly accessories that you cannot afford to neglect. In this article, we have made a list of tonneau cover maintenance practices that experts recommend for your truck bed cover. Use them to take care of a vinyl, aluminum, and virtually any type of cover material including the different styles. The tips will help you ensure not only cover durability, but also its aesthetics.
Tonneau Cover Maintenance Tips
A truck tonneau cover is meant to protect the contents of a truck bed from debris, the elements, and even theft. But that also means the accessory is always exposed to the same dangers it’s supposed to guard against and, therefore, potential damage. Make use of these tonneau cover maintenance tips to keep it looking great and for a very long time.
1. Routinely Inspect Tonneau Cover
You cannot possibly prevent damage to the cover unless you keep it safely tucked away in a storage box. However, you can take time to inspect it and take appropriate action before small problems become full blown issues that cannot be repaired.
Make sure your tonneau is in good working order by checking all of the locking mechanisms, seals, clamps, and snaps. Inspect the hinges of two-fold or tri-fold tonneau cover for corrosion. Look out for tears, dents, or cracks. Other problems to look out for include dirt and debris in the hidden sections of the cover.
2. Tighten Tonneau Cover Fasteners
Always tighten any loose parts to make sure your cover is securely attached to the truck bed. Loose tonneau cover fittings and other hardware can spell problems to your cover. They may scratch the cover and cause damage or cause annoying noise, among other issues.
Check bolts, fastening clamps, and other tonneau cover mounting hardware to see if they’re and intact. Using a socket wrench or any other appropriate tool, tighten everything that you need to. Do this regularly to avoid surprises while ensuring your cover will last for a long time.
3. Oil Tonneau Cover Parts
Some parts of a tonneau cover are self-lubricating. Others require lubricating or they will wear too quickly. As part of the tonneau cover maintenance routine, check them for sticking. And, if need be, apply small amounts of lubricant. These include the tonneau cover sliding and latches.
Lack of lubrication could also cause the cover to fail by getting stuck when opening or closing. In some cases, it will even help reduce tonneau cover noise. Use the recommended lubricant or just mineral oil; it will work just as well.
4. Regularly Clean Tonneau Cover
Regularly clean your truck bed cover. This will help prevent many problems such as the abrasion and corrosion caused by dirt. Tonneau cover cleaning will also ensure that the cover looks good all the time, in addition to prolonging its life.
A word of caution: only use the recommended tonneau cover cleaners. If that’s not possible, make sure that you’re only using mild soap to avoid causing damage to your cover. Some materials, such as vinyl, are delicate and can get damaged if the wrong cleaning agent is used on them.
5. Use Tonneau Cover Protectant
For some materials like vinyl and canvas, cleaning is not enough. You also need to apply what’s called a tonneau cover protectant. The protectant shields the material from damage that may be caused by ultra violet rays or water, for example, especially if you use your truck often.
With that said, make sure you’re using the right tonneau cover care products. Only use quality ones, too or your maintenance efforts will not produce the expected results. If in doubt, have a professional help you identify the best protectant for your type of cover.
6. Repair or Replace Tonneau Cover Parts
Some tonneau cover parts such as seals, clamps, and rails may break or get damaged in any other way. This can lead to a cover that will need replacing. Consider changing damaged but replaceable components such as locks, rails, and clamps or have to buy a new cover too soon.
Changing broken or damaged parts ensures you do not incur costs to change the entire assembly, which can be in the tune of hundreds or thousands of dollars. Be sure to only use high quality tonneau cover replacement parts or the costs over time will surpass the gains.
7. Ensure Proper Tonneau Cover Use
Some tonneau covers are sturdy parts capable of supporting hundreds of pounds. However, that doesn’t mean they can stand these weights every single day. As part of the tonneau cover maintenance practices, ensure that you do not place heavy objects on the surface.
Heavy things on the top of the truck tonneau cover can cause unsightly dents, tears, or even scratches. If you have to, our advice is that you scatter the items to spread the weight. Avoid, also, leaving the objects on the cover for too long than is necessary.
8. Keep Tonneau Cover Safe
Most covers today are made from vinyl or vinyl covered aluminum and plastic. If you have a vinyl tonneau cover, make sure you keep it out of the sun as much as possible. The rays of the sun can take a toll on the material, causing it to fade, wrinkle, or even crack over time.
But while we recommend keeping the cover away from the sun, we do not advocate for parking in shaded or damp areas all the time. The best tonneau cover maintenance practice should involve alternating between parking in the open and shaded places.
9. Replace Old Tonneau Cover
Tonneau cover repair can only work for a limited period. Most tonneau covers last for around 3-5 years depending on how often you use it and how nicely you take care of it. A good rule of thumb for heavy users is to replace it every 3 years.
If you have an older tonneau cover that is worn out, replace it with a new one. This will spruce up your ride. New covers will cost from around $100 for the basic soft covers to more than $1000 for the most complex. Electric tonneau covers are among the most expensive but sleek and easy to use.
Tonneau cover maintenance involves many things, from cleaning to cover repair and more. The benefits include longer cover life, a spruced up truck, and reduced truck bed cover costs in the long run. A well maintained cover also means a secure truck bed and peace of mind when transporting your cargo. Use the tips in this article as guide to start taking care of your tonneau cover.