A pickup bed cover or tonneau is a necessary accessory that can make your truck even more versatile. Use it to protect your tools and cargo or to add more secure space to your ride. The possibilities will take you anywhere for work or a road trip. Tonneaus can even reduce drag to improve your gas mileage by 10 percent. If you are interested in purchasing Houston bed covers, ask yourself these questions before you buy.
1. How are you going to use the bed cover?
Truck bed covers are available in a variety of materials and configurations. If you want a secure storage space with maximum protection from the elements, a solid fiberglass cover might be the best option. Hinged and motorized hard covers are easy to use even on lifted trucks. If you want something that can be installed and removed quickly, you might prefer a vinyl roll-up top that snaps shut.
2. How much do you want to spend?
You can purchase a soft tonneau for less than $200. Some high-end soft covers cost as much as $500. If you are looking for a cover that is durable and secure, check into hard covers that start at $550. Top-of-the-line fiberglass covers that have powered motors and remote controls can cost more than $2,000 plus installation.
3. What other Houston truck accessories will you be using?
Both hard and soft covers can be used with flush-mount toolboxes and ladder racks that mount on your pickup rails. Some soft covers have cuffs that wrap around the base of these racks to provide additional protection from the elements. Hard covers can be mounted underneath the rails. Tonneaus that install this way are also compatible with aftermarket rail covers. Plus, they allow you to use tie-downs and other accessories that hook on the rails.
4. Do you have a bed liner?
Before you plunk down your money, make sure that the tonneau is compatible with your bed liner. If you have a standard bed liner, you can install most tonneaus without a problem. If you have an over-the-rail bed liner, you might encounter problems.
5. Will you be removing the cover to carry tall loads?
If you plan on carrying ATVs, motorcycles, lawnmowers or tall landscape plants in your truck, check out hinged truck bed covers that fold back and tonneaus that can be rolled up or retracted with a remote control. Hard fiberglass covers are not the best option for this application because they are heavy and difficult to remove.
6. Can the cover be installed and removed easily?
Most over-the-rail soft covers feature a solid metal frame that can be clamped on with a few basic tools in about one hour. Some foldable covers use hand clamps that can be installed without tools.
You can install hard covers yourself. However, you might encounter difficulties drilling holes and installing the watertight seals. Hard covers that have mechanical parts are more difficult to install, so the process should be completed by a professional. The significant weight of metal and fiberglass covers also adds to the difficulty of installation.
7. What are the maintenance requirements?
Hard covers are generally the most durable and aesthetically pleasing. Plus, you can wash them and wax them with the same products that you use on your truck. If you have a vinyl cover, you will need to wipe it down using a special vinyl cleaner. Regular maintenance will ensure that your truck cover looks its best and lasts for many years.
Whatever you decide, a truck bed cover is an excellent addition to your main vehicle. During the next rainstorm, you will be glad that your tools and possessions are protected from nature's worst.