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Monday, August 1, 2011

A Couple of Thoughts About Buying That New Truck Bed Cover for Your Pickup

I have often been asked by fellow pickup truck owners why they should bother with a tonneau cover for the bed of their trucks. While it all seems to make so much sense to me, apparently not everyone gets it. There are a number of good reasons to put a cover back there, irregardless of which kind of cover you choose. First, tonneau covers help keep the nasty elements and weather out of the bed of your truck, and whatever you are hauling in it! Secondly, they keep all the lookie-loos from checking out what you've got back there. Third in line, there is a definite boost to your fuel economy by flattening out the back end. A fourth thought is also that they just look cool back there, and make the whole truck look cool!!!

Before you take my advice and rush out to buy a truck bed cover for your rig, here are a few thoughts you should take into consideration BEFORE you buy! I mean - you really don't want to be wasting a lot of your money by getting a cover that doesn't do what YOU need it to. Looks are one thing, but function and purpose are critically important too!

Do a little thinking about how you plan to, or actually do use, your truck. Is it a truck you use a lot for your job or work? Is it used more for hauling your weekend toys? Do you just use it for recreation? Or is it just your favorite vehicle for cruising or getting around? Finally, how much can you afford right now?

Financially speaking, the soft tonneau covers generally cost less than the hard covers. Soft covers that zip or snap or hook will usually also be less expensive. A little more work for you - but if money is tight, certainly a good way to go.

Maybe looks and color are a key for you. The fiberglass covers quite often offer a wide range of color choices, and the likelihood of matching your vehicle's color. Fiberglass covers are an example of a hard tonneau cover. Easy to get a larger color choice with a hard flat surface, than on a soft pliable material.

The hard top covers are more sturdy, do a much better job of maintaining a nice straight even shape over the bed, and offer less wind resistance. Some are made from metals, some from fiberglass, some from plastics and polymers. All make for an excellent look back there.

How much help are you going to have putting the cover on and off, or opening and closing it? A heavier hard cover can be some real work if it's just you trying to do it all yourself. So are some of the soft tops because of their flexibility. You know, once you take them loose, the shape is lost, and it becomes a little like folding a fitted sheet - if you know what I mean!

If you are one of the millions that use your truck for your job or your work, then you really want to consider covers that are simple to open and close, and covers that can be left open - either in part - or the whole thing. Here, I think the soft covers are good because they can be rolled or folded up - without a lot of effort. There are also hinged covers that can be opened in sections. Again, lighter weight is better here. Easier for you to work with alone. If not a soft cover, then think about aluminum or other light weight hard materials.

If this is going to be something that you take off a lot and stow away in your garage, you probably want to go soft, as they will roll or fold up nicely and quickly, and won't take up much space. The hard covers are going to be like stowing your roof rack or kayak in the garage - where you will need some room along a wall, or an overhead storage rack.

One final thought here is about what you carry in the bed. If you continuously are carrying expensive toys, tools, supplies, or gear in the bed, then the best option going is a hard cover with a tailgate lock. These usually involve at cover that can't be opened unless the tail gate is down. With a lock, you can keep the tailgate secure, as well as everything in your bed. Also a lot harder to cut through a hard top cover with a knife or machete.

The whole idea is to really shop around and look around, and see what looks good on a vehicle like yours. And study up to see what features match up to YOUR specific needs and use. Looking cool is great, but not at the expense of functionality! Your time is definitely worth a lot, and so is the gear you are hauling. There are a lot of solid auto accessories web sites and stores out there selling good quality truck bed covers, and many offer lots of info about the tops they sell. Some even have instructions - to make sure it's something you can handle! Enjoy your search and happy hunting!

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