Are you getting frustrated and tired of hearing your tonneau cover flap in the wind when you’re driving? It’s not only annoying but can be hazardous too, potentially sending debris flying off while driving. To help alleviate this issue that plagues many truck owners, we have created an extensive guide to teach you how to stop your tonneau cover from flapping.
Learn tips on manipulations and adjustments as well as some commonly overlooked maintenance techniques for a long-lasting, secure fit. Stop dealing with an irritating noise while commuting and get back to enjoying a peaceful ride with our blog post!
How Do I Stop My Tonneau Cover From Flapping?
The key to a sagging tonneau cover is tension management. Some tonneau cover models feature additional tensioner knobs, strategically placed at regular intervals around the bed rail covers. These knobs help cinch down the cover in their respective areas, minimizing flapping.
If your tonneau cover has been on your truck for five or six years or more, it may be time to consider a replacement. For vehicles primarily used on highways, investing in a solid cover could be a wise choice. While these covers tend to be more costly, they often come with lifetime warranties, depending on the model.
Remember, a flapping tonneau cover can only be tightened to a certain extent. If it starts to deteriorate the quality of your truck or cause damage to items in the truck bed, it’s time to let it go. For instance, if you notice your luggage getting wet inside the truck, your cover may have a leak. In such cases, you may need to upgrade to a replacement model or consider investing in a new solid cover.
How To Install A Tonneau Cover
Installing a tonneau cover requires a proper understanding of the process and the components involved. Most tonneau covers come with their own set of rails, which need to be affixed to the sides of the truck bed.
These rails form the foundation for different versions of tonneau coverings, from basic models to more substantial clamshell-style versions that use the rail system to support the extra weight.
Cleaning and Weather Sealing Your Tonneau Cover
Depending on the age of your truck, there may be a significant amount of cleaning needed on the bed rails before installing a tonneau cover. Some tonneau covers are supplied with a specialized cleaning solution and wipes to thoroughly cleanse the area, ensuring a secure and effective fit. If your truck is equipped with bed rails, they might need to be removed and the holes filled to avoid any damage to the tonneau cover.
One major issue with some covers is their inability to effectively channel away water and snow. It’s crucial for the rails to be protected against harsh weather conditions, and typically, your tonneau cover should include a sealant for this purpose. While a sealant is not a complete solution for weather-related wear and tear on your cover, it undoubtedly contributes to prolonging its lifespan.
Seating the Rails and Clamping The Clamps
Once you have a thoroughly clean surface, you can begin to seat the rails at the bedside. They should be located close to the edges, but should not be screwed down just yet. Leaving them loose is necessary for the subsequent steps.
Inside the packing material for the tonneau cover, you should find a small bin filled with metal pieces. These pieces will need to be assembled to form the clamps. Take each end and connect it to the long back piece that corresponds to the brace you are constructing. This step may require some time and patience, but it is crucial for securing your tonneau cover and preventing it from flapping during your drive.
Clamping Down the Rails
Now that you have assembled your clamps, it’s time to secure the rails for your tonneau cover. Keep in mind, these clamps act only as placeholders until the cover is placed. They should be holding the tracks loosely in place, allowing you to maneuver as required.
Take your time at the end of this step to ensure the rails are level and even. Avoid tightening them all the way down until you’ve completed all steps of the installation. Having to loosen half the bolts to progress with the installation can be a waste of your valuable time. Remember, the goal is a secure, snug fit that prevents your tonneau from flapping, not just a swift installation.
Aligning the Cover
Arguably one of the most crucial steps to prevent flapping and wind damage is ensuring proper alignment of your tonneau cover. Misalignment can lead to a perpetually uneven surface, giving rise to an ongoing struggle to rectify it. Therefore, it’s vital to get the alignment right in the first place to avoid any future complications.
Start by aligning the corners and then gradually work your way down. If the top and the center of the cover are even, the rest should fall into place correctly. Once you’ve achieved an even surface, inspect the cover for areas where shims could be added. This step is optional, but remember, the whole purpose of the installation is to secure a tight cover, and shims can greatly assist in achieving that.
If the need arises to add multiple clamps or shims, do not hesitate to do so. This is the time to ensure a snug fit and prevent your tonneau cover from flapping in the future.
Clamp it Down
With everything correctly positioned and tightened, your next step is to permanently secure everything. Generally, it’s an Allen wrench or a socket that gets the job done. Begin by tightening the clamps until they feel secure – but be mindful not to over-tighten. Excessive force can cause the braces to strip, resulting in loss of effectiveness.
Now, shift your attention to the clamps at the top of the bed. It’s time to clamp down and secure them. However, before moving on, take a moment to double-check that everything is positioned correctly. This step is crucial to ensure a snug fit for the tonneau cover and to prevent any future flapping.
Adjusting the Rails at the Center
Though it might seem like an unnecessary step, correctly positioning the rails at the center of the truck bed is absolutely crucial. Improper placement of the rail system could lead to a shorter lifespan for the cover and possible damage to your truck. If this step isn’t done correctly, you might spend several frustrating hours trying to rectify the situation.
Tightening the Tailgate Clamps
Next, focus on the clamps that reside just inside the closed tailgate. These clamps play a critical role in securing the cover and rails to the truck. It’s no exaggeration to say that these clamps must be as tight as possible — the life of the cover depends on the tailgate and other clamps being capable of holding down the lid securely.
Installing Weather Seals
Depending on the model of your tonneau cover, this may be an optional step. You may find a series of tubes or gutters in the packaging that are designed to allow water to flow out from the tracks.
Ensuring these channels are clear and functioning correctly is essential — stagnant water can lead to corrosion and deterioration, affecting the overall functionality and lifespan of your cover.
Test it Out
After all the hard work, it’s time to put your installation to the test. Conduct a simple test by rolling and unrolling the canopy. This exercise will help you ascertain if the installation has been done correctly. If the tarp does not roll smoothly, becomes uneven, or the tonneau cover starts flapping, don’t fret.
This is indicative that some adjustments are needed. You might need to loosen some clamps and reposition them for a perfect fit. Remember, the goal is to achieve a tight fit that effectively prevents your tonneau cover from flapping. Be patient and make the necessary adjustments until you achieve the desired fit.
See more: Are Tonneau Covers Noisy?
Investing in a good quality tonneau cover for your truck is not enough. Proper installation is the key to reaping maximum benefits. A well-installed tonneau cover will ensure a smooth driving experience, free of annoying flapping noises.
It is important to remember that the installation process may seem a bit tedious, especially for first-timers. But remember, the effort you put in now will pay off in the long run. A correctly installed tonneau cover can last for several years, protecting your truck bed from the elements and providing a secure space for cargo.
Moreover, it’s essential to not rush the process. Each step, from seating the rails to clamping down and aligning the cover, contributes to the overall functionality and lifespan of the tonneau cover. Take the time to ensure every aspect is adequately secured and aligned.
Lastly, there’s no harm in seeking professional help if you’re unsure. While the instructions provided here are comprehensive, they may not suit every model or make of tonneau cover. If you face any doubts or issues during your installation, consult with a professional. Remember, ensuring your tonneau cover is secure and doesn’t flap is the primary goal.