5 Reasons to Buy a Tonneau Cover
Updated: Feb 7
Purchasing a tonneau cover is a great way to protect your truck bed and your cargo. In ad
dition to the obvious benefits of protection from the weather and theft, tonneau covers offer other advantages you may not have thought of.
Security for your Cargo
Having a tonneau cover on your truck bed can add security and protection to your cargo. These covers can be either soft or hard but a hard tonneau cover provides the highest level of security.
Soft tonneau covers are the cheapest option in the tonneau cover market. However, they are not as durable as hard tonneau covers and they're not as secure. Anyone with a knife can cut through a soft tonneau cover. That said, often times just keeping your cargo out of sight and out of mind is all the security you'll need.
Although they're more expensive, hard tonneau covers provide the ultimate in weather protection and security for your cargo. Hard tonneau covers are available in several styles like hard folding, hard rolling, retractable and one-piece and are made from various materials including aluminum, fiberglass and plastic.
Most hard tonneau covers including the hard folding and hard rolling models can't be opened unless your tailgate is down, so if your tailgate locks, your cover is locked.
Retractable and one-piece tonneau covers typically have their own locking system integrated into the cover. That, coupled with a locking tailgate, gives you two layers of security for the ultimate in protection for your valuable cargo.
Weather Protection for your Cargo
One of the biggest reasons people purchase tonneau covers is to protect their cargo from rain, snow and damaging UV rays. Regardless of the model you choose, most tonneau covers on the market do a great job of weather protection.
Soft rolling or soft folding covers do a good job of keeping moisture out of your bed. Most models feature weather stripping on the perimeter of the cover to form a tight seal between the cover and the truck bed so water can't get into your cargo area.
Hard folding, hard rolling and retractable covers are also quite good at protecting your gear from the elements. Along with perimeter weather stripping, most hard covers feature a drain system that channels any water from the tonneau cover rails out of the truck be through factory drain plugs in your truck bed.
Improved Fuel Mileage
Believe it or not, installing a truck bed cover can actually improve your fuel mileage. A tonneau cover reduces drag, which means your engine works less at higher speeds. Some manufacturers claim adding a tonneau cover can improve your fuel mileage by 10-12 percent. This depends on the type of truck you have and your driving habits. However, most pickup truck drivers mix highway driving with city driving.
To verify the claims, Consumer Reports did a little test with a 2013 Dodge Ram V8. They tested a tonneau cover that had a tailgate that was lowered or raised. They also tested a hard tonneau cover and a soft tonneau cover. The best result was a solid fiberglass tonneau cover. It increased fuel mileage by a full 2 mpg depending on the speed.
Another test was conducted by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA). This study tested 13 different tonneau covers. They used an AeroDyn Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina to test their covers. The aforementioned AeroDyn wind tunnel is used by NASCAR and other organizations to test vehicles' aerodynamics. The study used wind speeds of 30 to 85 mph and the top cover resulted in a 1.8% increase in mpg. That may not sound like a lot but over the course of a year or two the savings can definitely add up.
Tonneau covers are one of the most popular truck accessories on the market. And there's a reason for that...people love them. So it stands to reason, if a buyer is looking at your truck versus another truck and your truck has a tonneau cover, they'll most likely pick yours and will probably be willing to pay a premium for it.
We polled a handful of used truck dealers in our area and they all said without a doubt, trucks with tonneau covers always sell faster than their counterparts without covers. About half said they got a better price for the truck with tonneau covers than a similar truck without a cover.
Protection for your Truck Bed
Obviously having a tonneau cover installed on your truck can protect your valuables from the elements. But the cover also protects your truck bed from those same element. If you use your truck like we do the bed can get scratched and dinged, which is not a big deal. Over time however, those scratches can develop corrosion, which left unchecked can ruin your truck. By keeping your truck bed dry and protected from the elements you're actually prolonging the life of the truck and ensuring your truck bed will last for years.
Many people ask why they would need additional protection for their truck bed if they have a plastic drop-in bed liner. The answer is you need it more than if you didn't have the drop in liner. The plastic truck bed liners are great at protecting your bed from scratches and scrapes but they also allow water to settle in behind the liner and cause worse corrosion than an unprotected bed. A good tonneau cover will eliminate the water and prevent corrosion from ever starting.