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Important Questions to ask Before Outfitting your Truck with a Tonneau Cover

Tonneau covers have been around for ages and are designed to cover up the box of your truck, essentially sealing it from weather and prying eyes.

  • Tonneau covers

Sponsored by partsengine.ca

Canadians, often portrayed on the international stage as a polite bunch, are nevertheless unapologetically passionate about several things. Try talking smack about Uncle Eli’s favourite hockey team and you’ll discover what I mean.

According to the sales data, we love our pickup trucks, too. In 2016, close to two million new vehicles were sold to Canadian customers. Of that number, about 376,000 were pickups. Silverados, Rams, F-150s … nearly 1 in 5 items to roll off a dealer’s lot with a new-car smell had an open box attached to it.

That open box (whether it’s five-and-a-half, six, or eight feet long) is the indisputable king of cargo. Need to haul a tree home from the arborist? No problem. How about that grandfather clock at the estate sale? Toss it in. The amount of detritus one can handle with a pickup is legendary, which is why everyone needs at least one truck-owning friend on whom they can call. Come moving day, they’ll be on your speed dial.

Thing is, though, that open six-foot bed is – well – open. Honda’s Ridgeline boasts a covered in-bed trunk which is certainly handy but the thing becomes uselessly inaccessible when the bed is filled with snow … as often happens here in Canada. Deposit your suitcases in the roughly thirty square feet of empty space behind the cab of your Ram 1500 Sport and one of two things will happen: they’ll get soaked in that unexpected thunderstorm or they’ll get nicked when you stop for gas.

What is a tonneau cover?

Fortunately, there’s a solution. Tonneau covers have been around for ages and are designed to cover up the box of your truck, essentially sealing it from weather and prying eyes. There are a ton of options out there, so it behooves the smart customer to ask themselves a few questions before plunking down the cash on this accessory.

Firstly, decide what type of tonneau cover you want. They, like the donuts at Tim Horton’s, are constructed of either hard or soft material, each with their own advantages. The hard tonneau covers are generally made of metal while the soft covers are fabric-based. Metal units are more robust and resistant to skeets trying to steal your gear but, logically, they are more expensive than their fabric brethren.

What type of Tonneau cover should I buy and what is the difference?

Hard Covers

Hard tonneau covers, like the BAKFlip G2 or BAKFlip MX4 found on Canadian website partsengine.ca, can often be folded into thirds (think of a tourist brochure) while still installed on the truck. This allows owners the convenience of partially exposing the truck bed when they need to carry something tall. Buttoned up, a flip-style cover forms a flat metal surface completely covering the truck bed, meaning the cargo inside is locked up and safe from prying eyes.

hard tonneau cover

Soft Covers

Soft tonneau covers can be found in a couple of different styles. For example, the TonnoPro Vinyl Soft Tri-Fold works in the same manner as the hard tonneau covers described above but with a construction of fabric instead of metal. Offering much of the protection and convenience of a hard tonneau cover at a lower price, it’s not a bad alternative. The other type of soft cover, such as the TonnoPro LoRoll Vinyl Roll Up, is a single piece of vinyl stretched over the truck bed and designed to be rolled up like a beach towel and tucked away when not needed.

soft tonneau cover

soft tonneau cover

Is installation difficult ?

Installation of either type is a breeze, with the tri-fold covers (both hard and soft types) being held in place with robust metal clamps tucked away out of sight inside the truck bed. Most tonneau covers can be installed on a truck in less than an hour with common hand tools. If your truck has a bed liner, check to make sure it is of the type which tucks underneath the sides of bed. Ninety-nine percent of plastic drop-in bed liners are of this variety. Modern spray-in liners generally don’t affect the installation of a tonneau cover at all. Be sure to measure your truck bed before buying a cover to ensure a proper fit. If you’re not sure, check with the experts at partsengine.ca who know this stuff inside out.

Also, think about how you plan to use your truck bed. All tonneau covers provide a mail-slot of access into the bed when you drop the tailgate but beyond that, some can pose limitations if you’re frequently hauling gear that’s taller than the truck’s bed. Roll-up tonneaus can be easily bundled up against the truck’s cab when you need the whole bed to haul, say, an ATV. Tri-fold tonneaus will also flip forward and provide access to the entire truck bed but may hamper rearward visibility when completely folded up. Either way, you’ll have to move the cover in order to load tall items.

tonneau covered in snow

How do you clean a tonneau cover?

Most tonneau covers don’t require any maintenance beyond cleaning the thing with soap and water (you do this regularly for the rest of your truck anyways … right?). The scattered application of a special cleaner may also be used on metal and vinyl tonneau covers. This’ll keep its surface clean and looking good. Clear away debris such as rocks and dirt to avoid scratches on metal covers or tears in vinyl covers.

Aftermarket truck accessories are a huge business, unsurprising since almost twenty percent of all new vehicles sold are pickup trucks to deeply loyal owners who want to protect their purchase … not unlike Uncle Eli and his favourite jersey now that the Leafs have exited the playoffs.

Not just another car parts store—Partsengine.ca is a 100% Canadian owned and operated aftermarket parts and accessories online retailer. Serving Canadians coast to coast since 2012, partsengine.ca differentiates itself by only stocking the highest quality products at the lowest prices possible. And being Canadian allows them to provide a level of customer service that is unparalleled in the industry, helping them secure the coveted Consumer Choice Award for Business Excellence in both 2016 and 2017.

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