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Tonneau Covers: A Buyer’s Guide

White pickup with truck stopped on freeway in left lane near concrete - Tonneau covers
Tonneau covers can help protect your cargo from the elements, increase your gas mileage, and give your truck a sleek look.

Tonneau covers are a fabric, rubber, or leather cover that rests on top of your truck box. They are great for protecting your bed and cargo from the weather. They can also increase your gas mileage by reducing the drag that an open truck box makes. On top of that, they look neat, professional, and stylish, too. Tonneau covers come in a lot of different styles, and finding the right one can be tricky, so here is a quick rundown of what you need to know.

First, you’ll need to know your truck’s year, make, and model.

Second, you need to know the length of your truck box. You may be able to find the box length in the owner’s manual. If not, you can measure your truck box. Take the measurement from the inside of the lip of your box near the cab all the way to the inside edge of the tailgate. Write down the measurement in feet.

Third, you’ll need to know what style your truck’s box is. The style of your box is determined by where your wheel wells are. If they are inside of the box, you have the fleetside (GM) or styleside (Ford) body style. If your wheel wells are outside of your box, you have a stepside (GM) or flareside (Ford) body style.

Once you know these things, you’re ready to start looking at the different styles of tonneau covers.

Roll-up and snap tonneau covers

Roll-up tonneau covers have a metal frame that attaches to your truck box and several bowed slats that cross the box to keep the cover from drooping down in the middle. The cover itself is a fabric sheet with velcro around the entire edge. This allows the cover to be rolled up and the slats removed for complete access to your truck box. A snap tonneau cover is similar, but uses metal or plastic snap buttons to fasten the cover to the frame. These tonneau covers are very low profile and stylish, and they give you good access to the truck bed. Roll-up and snap covers allow you to move and haul large items and loads when you need to, because the cover rolls up at the front of the box.

Hinged tonneau covers

Hinged tonneau covers have a solid frame and a hinge where it attaches at the front of the box. You can open them one-handed like a lid to get access to your truck box. These covers are very durable. However, they do limit the height of the load you can haul in your box. Hinged tonneau covers are great if you use your truck bed to haul smaller items or loads, or if you use your truck box like the trunk of a car. They are the most durable type of tonneau cover. Your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet can special order hinged tonneau covers.

Seal and peel tonneau covers

Seal and peel tonneau covers consist of a solid frame and a fabric, rubber, or leather cover that can be peeled back and rolled up to give you access to your truck’s bed. This type of cover allows you to reach into your box from the side more easily than hinged covers do. These covers do limit your box to smaller items and loads, because the frame is fixed to your bed rails and has cross bars that can prevent you from putting large items in the truck bed.

Tri-fold tonneau covers

Tri-fold tonneau covers have a three-part solid frame that folds up to give you access to your truck box. These allow you nearly full access to the bed, but they do remain covering the front third of your truck box when they are folded up. They are very durable and extremely easy to install. Your local Blain’s Farm & Fleet store’s automotive department would be happy to special order a tri-fold tonneau cover for you today.

Blain’s Farm & Fleet offers installation by our skilled automotive technicians on all of the tonneau covers we sell.

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