A truck bed liner can come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. From plastic drop-in liners to cans of spray-on or paint-on rubber coating, finding the right one all comes down to what you want from truck bed liners.
A truck bed mat is a rubber sheet that covers the bottom of your truck box. These mats are tough and they protect the bottom of your truck bed very well. They also prevent loads in the box from slipping around. Bed mats are very affordable and easy to install. They will not protect the sides or rails of your truck box, though.
Fitted Bed Mats
Most bed mats are cut to fit specific truck models. So, if you have a 2004 Ford F-150, there is a truck bed mat that fits perfectly in your box. To select one of the pre-fitted bed mats, you need to know the year, make, model, box size, and box style (fleet side, flare side, step side, etc.) of your truck. Once you find the right one, just clean your truck box and lay your bed mat down. It’s that easy to install.
Most manufacturers also make universal bed mats that you can trim to fit your truck box any way you want. These mats usually come in very long lengths to fit long box pickups. To trim a universal mat, you will need a pair of metal shears or tin snips. Once you have measured and cut your mat, simply clean your box and lay the mat down.
Some type of truck bed liner is made from liquid rubber that you can apply to your truck bed after cleaning, drying, and sanding it. These liners are form-fitting and provide great traction so your loads won’t slip. There are two basic types of liquid bed liners.
Spray-on bed liners are a great way to protect your truck box, and an easy DIY project. Just clean your truck box before drying and sanding it with a fine grit sand paper until it’s rough. This will give the liner a good surface to hold onto. Next, spray the liner on evenly and let it dry and cure. If you have any rust spots on your bed, the liner will not stick to them very well. You will need to remove the rust with a rust stripper or rust converter before applying the liner spray. Spray-ons are cheap and easy, but they can dry out or peel over time.
Brush-on bed liners are much more durable than spray-on ones. The installation process is very similar, except you must apply these liners with a paint brush or roller. A brush-on truck bed liner is a permanent solution to protecting your truck bed. You can cover the bottom and the sides, making them a more complete liner than bed mats as well. If you’re looking for complete and permanent bed protection, you need a brush-on liner.
Drop-in Truck Bed Liner
A drop-in truck bed liner is a large piece of hard plastic that’s molded to fit perfectly into the bed of the truck it’s made for. It is simply dropped into your truck bed before being screwed down. You can buy a drop-in liner from your truck dealership. These liners usually provide protection to the bottom, sides, and front of your truck bed. They can be expensive, but they provide complete and permanent protection. Some cons to getting a drop-in truck bed liner is that it can crack, chip, and warp. In some cases, water can seep in between the liner and the truck box and cause rust. They also often create a slick surface in your bed, which makes sliding larger loads in and out very easy.