All You Need To Know About Tonneau Covers

All You Need To Know About Tonneau Covers

There are a large number of people who are unaware of what Tonneau covers are. In simple words, Tonneau covers are soft or hardcovers that are present on empty cargo passenger seats.

However, you will not find these covers on every car; the Tonneau covers are only present in certain vehicles, like roadsters, convertibles and especially pickup trucks. It is simple to install and remove Tonneau covers.

Man Installing Tonneau Cover

Most hard Tonneau covers can be opened by merely using mechanisms that can hold or hinge. Opening a soft Tonneau cover is even more straightforward as you have to roll the sheet up. There is no better commodity than the Tonneau cover to conceal the objects you are carrying in your trucks.

These covers provide shade and shelter to the objects you are carrying in your truck while also keeping them hidden away from prying eyes. A lot of harsh elements can damage your vehicle, and the Tonneau covers are an excellent choice to make sure these elements stay at bay, and your car remains safe.

Reasons Why You Should Buy Tonneau Covers

A wide range of Tonneau covers is available in the market in different budgets with different styles, making sure that no one misses out on these quality covers. Following are some reasons that should encourage you to buy Tonneau covers.

  • Tonneau covers are beneficial for people who go for long distance trips
  • These covers improve the aesthetics of your truck, making it look sleek
  • There is no better option than Tonneau covers to make sure that your luggage and groceries are secure and safe
  • Trucks that haul cargo on a regular basis can significantly benefit from Tonneau covers

Why Is It Called “Tonneau Cover”?

People often asked the question “How did these covers get such a peculiar name?” Well, there is some history behind it. Let us tell you the origins of the Tonneau cover’s name.

Tonneau Cover On Truck

In the old days, when the first cars came in the market, they often had benches connected to them. These benches were mostly used by passengers and drivers to sit on.  Even though these cars had doors and windscreens, they didn’t have a roof.

The absence of a roof meant that the automobile was vulnerable to outside elements. Considering that these cars did not come cheap, the owners did not want to see them get ruined.

Rain and snow were significant concerns for the car owners as they were a considerable threat to the interior of their cars. It is why producers introduced covers in the market that later came to be known as Tonneau covers. There isn't any explanation providing us specifics as to why these covers got the name Tonneau covers.

The only possible reason is that it is a French word that closely resembles the word tunnel. Given that the Tonneau covers do look like tunnels, the explanation seems sensible enough. 

What Are The Essential Uses Of Tonneau Covers?

Here is a list why you should use tonneau cover:

Weather Protection

As mentioned earlier, the Tonneau covers came into existence out of necessity because of rough weather conditions that affected the interior of the car. These covers acted like a tunnel and protected the interior from snow, rainfall and other harmful outside elements.

Dirt Protection

Vehicles that have exposed trunks get untidy very quickly. Mud and pollution are the main reasons that make cars dirty. Installing Tonneau covers on your automobile will ensure that your vehicle is always safe from pollution and dirt.


Tonneau covers offer protection to the luggage you carry around with you in your vehicle and makes sure that it doesn't get stolen and is safe from prying eyes. There are some variations of these covers that also come with locks and are impossible to open by anyone other than the owner.

Carrying Supplies

You can quickly move around your groceries in your vehicles with the presence of Tonneau covers. You will not have to worry about your stuff falling out of your vehicle’s trunk as Tonneau covers will ensure that your supplies are safely locked away and have no chance of getting misplaced.


Your vehicle will look stylish and smooth with the addition of a Tonneau cover. This cover not only helps you get rid of significant inconveniences but also make your car look aesthetically pleasing.

Types Of Tonneau Covers

Let's take a look on the most popular types of tonneau cover:

Roll-Up Covers

These covers are made using a double coated vinyl that offers protection from harsh weather and is also water-resistant. These covers are specially designed to make sure that there is little to no aerodynamic drag.

Roll-Up Tonneau Cover

Roll up Tonneau covers have rear and front seals making sure that the sheets stay air-tight after installation. A feature that makes roll-up covers standout is their easy installation, as it does not require the use of a drill. Some impressive features of the roll-up Tonneau covers are as follows:

  • There are custom fit sizes available for popular vehicle models
  • They are extremely easy to operate, as opening and closing them requires a few seconds
  • These covers use sturdy nylon straps that prevent scratch marks

Soft Folding Covers

These covers are made out of a combination of canvas or vinyl with aluminum to ensure maximum protection and easy installation. There are tightening clamps provided on the side of these covers to make sure that the cover is steady at all times.

Following are some features that make a soft folding Tonneau cover a viable option for truck owners.

  • Tools are not necessary for installation as safety clamps make it extremely simple
  • These covers are an excellent option for people who are looking to enhance money on fuel as it is designed to improve fuel economy
  • This cover provides added security with the presence of the tailgate lock
  • Some soft folding Tonneau covers even include cargo light making driving in the night more comfortable

Hard Folding Covers

Hard folding Tonneau covers are the safest among all of the Tonneau covers as the rest of the products are easy to cut or break through. Thieves can cut soft products quickly, and steal your luggage. But as the name implies, hard folding covers are difficult to break. Just like the softer Tonneau folding covers, these covers are also easy to install and require no tools at all.

Retractable Covers

Retractable Tonneau covers not only provide your vehicle with top-notch security, but it is also effortless to retract them from the trunk as you have to slide them open. Retractable Tonneau covers are mostly vehicle specific and cannot fit on every car. They are designed specifically keeping the shape and size of the automobile in mind.

A feature that makes retractable Tonneau covers so high in demand is the fact that it provides you the option of opening it partially. It eliminates the time-consuming hassle of removing the whole sheet.

Hinged Tonneau Covers

You have fast access to the bed of your truck with the hinged Tonneau covers as you have to lift up the sheet after unlocking its hinge. It shares glaring similarities with the lid covers used in pickup truck beds. People who carry a lot of load on their vehicles can significantly benefit from the hinged Tonneau covers.

Snap Tonneau Covers

If you are short on money, but you still require a Tonneau cover, then the snap Tonneau cover would be the best option for you. The cover is infinitely more affordable than the hinged, rolling and retractable covers. However, these covers are not as secure as the others as people can quickly open them by unlocking the snaps.

Opening Snap Tonneau Cover

Some other disadvantages of the snap Tonneau cover are that it takes a lot of time to lock and unlock it and cold weather has an immediate effect on them. But if these things do not concern you, then we suggest that snap Tonneau covers are the best option for you with their modest price tag.

Toolbox Tonneau Covers

The toolbox Tonneau cover offers the best of both worlds to you as it not only keeps your truck's bed protected but it also has a compartment for storing tools that can come in handy in stressful situations.

The toolbox Tonneau covers come in different designs and types that include soft and hard folding, snap and rollup. These toolboxes have retractable covers that are present within the canister.  A common question that many people ask is “does a Tonneau cover help in improving fuel economy or is it just a myth?”

Tonneau Covers And Fuel Efficiency

People listen to the claims made by others that Tonneau covers instantly improve fuel efficiency, and automatically assume that these covers have magical powers that could save them a lot of money. While these claims are somewhat correct, there is a lot of science involved that will allow us to understand how fuel economy of a vehicle improves. 

A department of mechanical engineers of the West New England College conducted that the most efficient method to make sure drag is minimum and improving fuel mileage is to install a Tonneau cover on your vehicle.

The study also showed an eight percent improvement in fuel efficiency in trucks that had Tonneau covers added to them. As mentioned before, Tonneau covers help in reducing aerodynamic drag. It means that your car moves smoothly and swiftly without putting too much pressure on the engine.

Tonneau covers are a tried and tested product. And all the results indicate an improvement in fuel economy.  A few things to keep in mind to make sure that your Tonneau covers are helpful in improving fuel economy are listed below.

  • Always buy a hard Tonneau cover instead of a soft one as soft Tonneau covers are not beneficial in reducing aerodynamic dra
  • If you own a pickup truck, then installing a Tonneau cover on the truck bed should be your priority. Pickup trucks of this day and age tend to use too much fuel which can prove to be extremely costly
  • Make sure that you do not lower the tailgate of your vehicle as it will hurt your car’s fuel economy rather than help it

Measuring And Picking The Right Cover For Your Needs

You should know by now that Tonneau covers come in different shapes and sizes, but some people don't do this. It leads to people purchasing the wrong type of Tonneau cover for their vehicle which ultimately proves to be a waste of money as Tonneau covers are specially designed keeping the structure of the car in mind.

Measuring Truck Bed

Here are a few tips for you to follow to make sure you choose the right Tonneau cover for your vehicle.

Choosing The Optimal Cover For Your Vehicle

There are different materials present in Tonneau covers. These include aluminum, fiberglass, vinyl, ABC polymer, and canvas.  These are among the most commonly used elements in Tonneau covers. Some products have kayaks and ladders available with them. 

It is entirely up to you to choose the cover that would benefit you most. If protection of your luggage is your priority then, a hardcover Tonneau with a lock might be the best option for you. If you are a person who requires quick access to your tools, then go for the folding Tonneau cover.

Always Check The Compatibility Of The Tonneau Cover With Your Car’s Accessories

Even though Tonneau covers are essential, the accessories of your truck bed are equally necessary. You should always take a look at the tie down points on your truck bed before buying the Tonneau covers as not all Tonneau covers have been designed to fit the same locking points. A prudent thing to do would be to opt for Tonneau covers that are for the model of your vehicle.

Choose A Cover That Protects Your Cargo

Mother Nature can prove to be cruel to your vehicle at times, so selecting a Tonneau cover that protects your luggage at all times is a must. Keep your vehicle away from soft covers as rain and snowfall can easily penetrate through these covers and cause deterioration, rusting, and corrosion to your car.

Tonneau covers with weather seals are readily available everywhere and are the best option people who live in areas where there is plenty of snowfall or rainfall. If you don't get access to weather seal Tonneau covers, then hard Tonneau covers would be the next best option for you.

Check The Required Maintenance

Most Tonneau covers do not need too much support, but some types such as the retractable Tonneau cover may require some maintenance to operate smoothly. The reason why retractable Tonneau covers might need some particular attention is that they open and close by sliding.

For the product to slip without any hindrances, these covers require constant lubrication.  Some vinyl Tonneau covers may require the use of UV protectants occasionally. Before making your final decisions always be sure to go through the requirements for the cover’s maintenance.

Checking The Requirements For Installation

Before purchasing a Tonneau cover, always check its installation requirements. Some covers are easy to install while others are complicated and may take up hours of your time. Some tonneau covers require drilling for their installation while others need no tools at all and can be easily installed using hands.

Always familiarize yourself with the installation techniques of your Tonneau covers so you can place them with the greatest of ease.  

How To Install Tonneau Covers?

Tonneau covers which are also commonly known as truck bed covers are incredibly high in demand as an aftermarket accessory. With so many options to choose from and varying price ranges, almost every truck owner has a Tonneau cover installed on their truck bed. However, there are a large number of people who face difficulty in placing their Tonneau covers. 

Two Men Installing Tonneau Cover

The first thing that everyone should make sure is to read the instructions provided with the Tonneau covers and see if they have all the necessary tools and accessories required to install their covers.

See if you have to connect plastic or rubber shims to the product or not. If yes, then pre-apply them and make sure that they attach to your truck beds correctly. If you do not have to re-apply the shims then just lay your Tonneau cover on top of the truck bed and connect it with clamps.

Make sure that you tighten the screws, bolts, and nuts to make sure that the cover does not fall off. If your rails are connected, make sure that you place your Tonneau cover correctly over the tracks. Always confirm that your cover fits by unrolling and rolling it after installation.

To be sure that there are no hindrances during the installation, always open the tailgate before installation. Make use of shims if you find it necessary, as some trucks have enormous gaps in the middle, adding shims to can help close these gaps to a great extent.

If you have a weatherproof Tonneau cover, then check if it has a rubber seal included with it. Rubber seals help in bridging the gap between the cab and the cover.

Some additional components come with the Tonneau covers that people usually forget to install. Drainage tubes, bump stops and dings are among the most common extra parts that come with some Tonneau covers.

Tonneau Covers Maintenance

Following are some points that will help you in maintaining tonneau covers with ease.

  • Always check for bumps, corrosions, and scratches. Also look for conditions that might deteriorate further by soaping or scrubbing
  • Make sure that the latches of your cover close and open quickly by checking the side rails. If they get stuck and there is too much friction, applying a small amount of mineral oil might do the trick
  • If you plan to wash your Tonneau cover with your hand, then use a gentle soap with cold water as most Tonneau covers do not clean thoroughly in warm water
  • Even though some Tonneau covers can bear heavy weights, you should try avoiding putting too much pressure on your Tonneau covers for an extended period
  • If you happen to own a Tonneau cover made out of vinyl, you can apply a vinyl cleaner on it and make your cover shinier
  • Avoid using dishwashing cleaners, dry chemical solvents, bleach, and detergents. They will cause more harm than good
  • Only use sponge or sponge or soft cotton for cleaning your cover
  • Use a pipe to remove all the surface dirt on your cover before applying soap or a cleaner
  • Always follow the instructions given on your soap or cleaner. Every cleaning product has a different method of application and should be applied accordingly

Following these steps will ensure that your vehicle’s Tonneau covers are spick and span. In case you are not satisfied with the cleanliness of the cover you can always clean it again to eliminate any extra dirt.


We have discussed the different types of Tonneau covers and the uses of Tonneau covers which include security, aesthetics, utility, dirt protection, and weather protection. We have also discussed how to install these covers and how to maintain Tonneau covers.

Couple With Truck Enjoying In Sunset

It was a comprehensive guide educating you about Tonneau covers.  Our buying guide below will provide you step by step instructions on deciding which Tonneau cover would best suit your needs.

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