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Do Soft Tonneau Covers Keep Water Out?

Do Soft Tonneau Covers Keep Water Out?

By PattyKay Lilley

Are you considering a soft tonneau cover for your pickup truck? You may have already heard of this increasingly popular alternative to hard shells and rolled covers, but do they really do a good job of keeping water out?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of buying a soft Tonneau cover and shine some light on whether or not it can provide reliable protection from the elements.

We’ll also take a look at how it stacks up against its counterparts when it comes to price point and security features. So read on if you’re looking for answers about whether or not a soft tonneau is right for your vehicle!

Do Soft Tonneau Covers Keep Water Out?

Soft tonneau covers, designed mainly for aesthetics and aerodynamics, can indeed offer decent water resistance. Most of these covers are manufactured using high-grade vinyl or similar materials that naturally repel water. However, the level of water protection they provide is often not absolute.

The effectiveness of a soft tonneau cover in keeping water out largely depends on its quality and the precision of its fit. A well-tailored cover, coupled with a tight seal, can keep the majority of rain and moisture out of your truck bed. Nevertheless, some water may still find its way in during heavy rains or when the vehicle is being washed.

Remember, soft tonneau covers are not 100% waterproof. The seams, where the material is stitched together, are potential weak points where water can seep in. Furthermore, in most designs, the point where the cover meets the side rail is not completely sealed. Hence, it could allow water to get through.

Therefore, if you live in a region where it rains often or you frequently carry sensitive cargo that must be kept dry, a soft tonneau cover may not be your best bet. In such cases, a hard tonneau cover, with superior sealing properties, would offer better protection against water.

In conclusion, while soft tonneau covers do offer some level of water resistance, they are not the ideal choice if complete water protection is a priority. However, they still shine in terms of affordability, ease of installation, and flexibility, making them an attractive option for many truck owners.

See more: Do Hard Tonneau Covers Keep Water Out?

How to Tighten Soft Tonneau Covers

How to Tighten Soft Tonneau Covers

Maintaining a tight fit of your soft tonneau cover is paramount to its effectiveness in keeping water out. Loose or sagging covers offer an easy path for water to enter, reducing their water resistance. Here are some steps you can follow to ensure your cover is always tightly fitted.

Begin by cleaning the truck bed and the cover thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris that could affect the fit. Make sure the cover is completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Next, align the cover properly over the truck bed. Ensure it is centered with an equal amount of overhang on all sides. This is crucial because improper alignment can lead to an uneven fit, allowing water to seep through.

Once aligned, clamp the cover onto the truck bed. Most soft tonneau covers come with adjustable clamps that allow you to secure the cover and tighten it as needed. Start from the front and work your way towards the back, clamping the cover down as you go.

After securing the cover, check for any loose areas by running your hand over the cover. If you notice any sagging or loose spots, you’ll need to adjust the clamps to tighten the cover. Always remember to check the tightness of the cover after heavy usage, as it may loosen over time.

How to Maintain Soft Tonneau Covers

Regular maintenance of your soft tonneau cover is necessary to prolong its life and maintain its water resistance properties. A well-maintained cover not only looks good but also performs its function effectively.

Start by cleaning your soft tonneau cover regularly to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. Use a mild soap and water solution to gently scrub the surface, then rinse it off with water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage the material and reduce its water resistance.

After washing, make sure to dry your soft tonneau cover thoroughly before refitting it. Water left on the surface can seep into the seams and compromise the cover’s water resistance. To dry, you can use a towel or let it air dry, ensuring it’s completely dry before reinstallation.

Applying a vinyl protectant is another vital step in maintaining your soft tonneau cover. This helps to preserve the cover’s quality, prevent fading from the sun’s UV rays, and enhance its water repelling properties. Ensure to use a protectant that’s specifically designed for use on tonneau covers.

Finally, regularly inspect your soft tonneau cover for any signs of wear or damage. Look out for any loose seams, tears, or holes that might allow water to penetrate. If you notice any damage, take the necessary steps to repair it immediately to prevent further deterioration.


When it comes to soft tonneau covers, many questions arise regarding their water-resistance, maintenance, tightening, and general care. Here we have gathered some frequently asked questions to provide further insight, clarify misconceptions, and assist you in making an informed decision about your soft tonneau cover.

How often should I clean my soft tonneau cover?

Cleaning your soft tonneau cover depends on your usage and the environmental conditions. However, cleaning once a month is a good rule of thumb. Regular cleaning maintains the cover’s aesthetics and its water-resistant properties. Use a gentle soap and water solution, scrub lightly, and ensure you thoroughly rinse off all soap residues.

Avoid using harsh detergents or abrasive materials, as these can damage the cover’s material and compromise its water resistance. Once clean, it’s crucial to thoroughly dry the cover before refitting it to prevent any water from infiltrating the seams or edges.

What if my soft tonneau cover gets punctured or torn?

If your soft tonneau cover gets punctured or torn, it’s essential to repair it promptly to prevent further damage and maintain its water resistance. Many DIY repair kits are available on the market for minor damage.

These kits usually include patches that can be glued over the tear or hole. For more significant damage, or if you’re unsure about performing the repair yourself, it’s recommended to consult with a professional. Always remember, timely repair can extend the life of your soft tonneau cover and maintain its functionality.

Do I need to remove my soft tonneau cover when it’s not in use?

Removal of your soft tonneau cover when not in use depends on your preference and circumstances. While these covers are designed for continuous use, removing the cover can extend its lifespan, especially if your truck is frequently exposed to harsh weather conditions or extreme sunlight.

However, regular installation and removal can also put wear and tear on the cover and the fastening system. So, consider these factors and decide what works best for you and your truck.

Can I use any vinyl protectant on my soft tonneau cover?

While it’s true that any vinyl protectant can provide a certain degree of protection, it’s best to use a product specifically designed for tonneau covers. These specialized products are formulated to not only protect the cover from fading and discoloration due to UV exposure but also to maintain and enhance its water-repelling properties.

Always read the product instructions and apply it as directed. Regular application of a good quality tonneau cover protectant can significantly extend the life and performance of your cover.

Final Thoughts

Soft tonneau covers are an excellent addition to any truck, providing valuable protection for your truck bed and its contents. Their primary role is to keep your cargo secure and shield it from the elements, including water. However, while they offer a good level of water resistance, they are not 100% waterproof. Some water may seep through the stitching or edges during heavy rain or when high-pressure water is directed at the seams.

Maintaining your soft tonneau cover is key to enhancing its water-resistant properties. Regular cleaning and proper care, including the use of a specially designed vinyl protectant, can go a long way in extending the life of your cover and improving its water-repelling capabilities. Damage should be addressed promptly to prevent further deterioration and potential water penetration.

In conclusion, while soft tonneau covers cannot guarantee complete waterproofing, they do provide a significant level of protection against water getting into your truck bed. Coupled with their other advantages such as ease of use, affordability, and sleek appearance, they remain a popular choice for many truck owners.

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