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How Do You Measure A Truck Bed For A Tonneau Cover?

How Do You Measure A Truck Bed For A Tonneau Cover?

By PattyKay Lilley

Shopping for a tonneau cover can be daunting, especially if you don’t understand how to properly measure the truck bed. This is an important process that cannot be overlooked – getting incorrect measurements could lead to costly mistakes and potentially damage your vehicle.

Fortunately, measuring for a tonneau cover is much easier than you think! With our helpful tips, we’ll walk you through the steps necessary to determine what size of tonneau cover uniquely fits your truck’s bed.

From there, you’ll be able to confidently find the perfect tonneau cover that maximizes cargo protection and keeps items safe from wind or water interference. Get ready to create a better experience while hauling cargo in no time!

How Do You Measure A Truck Bed For A Tonneau Cover?

The first step in measuring your truck bed is to ensure that the truck is parked on a flat surface, free from any obstructions that could potentially influence the accuracy of your measurements.

Next, gather the necessary tools. In most cases, a simple tape measure will suffice. It’s important to note that your measurements should be in inches. This is the standard measurement unit used when sizing tonneau covers.

Begin by measuring the inside length of the truck bed. Start at the bulkhead (the end of the truck bed nearest to the cab) and extend to the inside of the tailgate. Make sure to measure from one rail to the other to get the most accurate width.

After recording these measurements, it’s time to measure the bed’s width. For this, you’ll need to measure the inside distance between the bed rails. Start at one point on the bed rail, stretch the tape measure across the bed, and note the measurement at the point directly opposite on the other bed rail.

Some truck beds may also have a bulkhead that’s slightly taller than the bed’s sides. In such cases, it’s not the width, but the height of the bulkhead that needs to be measured. This measurement is crucial in deciding whether a cover can lie flat or needs to be installed at an angle.

By following these steps, you should have the necessary measurements needed to select the right tonneau cover for your truck bed. Always remember, it’s better to measure twice and order once. With a proper fitting tonneau cover, your truck can offer both aesthetic appeal and functionality, providing an ideal solution for protecting and securing your cargo.

How to Install Tonneau Cover

How to Install Tonneau Cover

Once you have procured the right size of tonneau cover based on your measurements, the next step is to install it. The installation process is typically straightforward and can often be completed without professional help.

Before starting the installation, clear the truck bed of any debris or objects that might interfere with the process. It’s also recommended to wash and dry your truck bed thoroughly to ensure a clean and secure fit for the tonneau cover.

Next, lay out all your components and hardware. This usually includes the cover itself, side rails, clamps, and bolts. It’s essential to ensure all components are included before you begin to avoid any interruptions during installation.

The first step is to install the side rails. Align them with the top edges of your truck bed and secure them using the provided clamps. Depending upon the model and make of your tonneau cover, the clamps may need to be adjusted to fit correctly.

After the side rails are secured, it’s time to position the tonneau cover. This process may require an extra set of hands as you’ll have to align the cover with the side rails while ensuring it’s centered over the truck bed. Once positioned correctly, secure the cover in place using the provided hardware.

Finalize the installation by checking the fit and making any necessary adjustments. This includes inspecting the side rails, ensuring the cover is tight and secure, and verifying that the cover opens and closes smoothly. Remember, a properly installed tonneau cover should be tight and flush with the truck bed.

With these steps, you should be able to install your tonneau cover successfully. Do remember, the exact installation process may vary based on the specific type and model of your tonneau cover. Always refer to and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for optimal results.

See more: How Much Weight Can A Tonneau Cover Hold?

How to Maintain Tonneau Cover

Maintaining your tonneau cover is as crucial as its accurate measurement and installation. Proper care and upkeep will extend your cover’s lifespan, ensuring it continues to provide top-notch protection for your cargo.

Start by cleaning your tonneau cover regularly. Use a mild soap and water solution or a tonneau-specific cleaner to gently wipe down the surface, removing any dirt or debris that may have accumulated. Avoid using harsh detergents or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the cover’s finish.

Next, check the tonneau cover for any signs of wear and tear. Look for cracks, cuts, or fading, and consider repairing or replacing the cover if it’s significantly damaged. A weathered tonneau cover can compromise your cargo’s security, undermining the very purpose of having a cover.

In addition to regular cleaning and inspection, lubricating the tonneau cover’s latch mechanism is key. Over time, dust and grime can build up, causing the latch to stick or jam. Regular lubrication keeps the mechanism functioning smoothly, ensuring easy access to your truck bed.

Ensure that your tonneau cover is securely fastened at all times, especially when driving. An improperly fastened cover can flap or billow in the wind, leading to premature wear and tear or possible damage.

Lastly, be mindful of the weight your tonneau cover is subjected to. Avoid placing heavy items on it, as excessive weight can strain and potentially damage the cover. Remember, a tonneau cover is designed to protect your cargo, not to serve as an extra storage spot.


Selecting, installing, and maintaining a tonneau cover can bring up numerous questions, especially for first-time truck owners. We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions to help guide you through the process.

What are the benefits of a tonneau cover?

Tonneau covers offer numerous benefits. Primarily, they provide security and protection for your truck bed and the cargo within. By preventing exposure to weather elements such as rain, snow, and sun, they prolong the life of your truck bed and maintain the condition of your cargo.

Tonneau covers also improve fuel economy. When your truck bed is exposed, it creates aerodynamic drag that makes your vehicle consume more fuel. A tonneau cover smoothens the airflow over the vehicle, reducing this drag and thus, improving fuel efficiency.

Can I install a tonneau cover by myself?

Absolutely. Most tonneau covers come with a detailed instruction manual and the necessary hardware for installation. You will typically need basic tools like a wrench and screwdriver. However, the process may be easier and quicker with an extra set of hands.

While professional installation is an option, it’s not a necessity for most tonneau covers. If you follow the instructions carefully, take your time, and do it right, self-installation can be a straightforward and satisfying process.

How often should I replace my tonneau cover?

The lifespan of a tonneau cover can greatly vary depending on its material, quality, and how well it’s maintained. On average, a tonneau cover can last anywhere between five to ten years. However, if your cover is exhibiting signs of wear and tear such as fading, cracking, or peeling, it may be time to consider a replacement. Regular cleaning, proper installation, and avoiding overloading can significantly increase the lifespan of your cover.

Final Thought

Choosing and installing a tonneau cover may seem like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it becomes a manageable and rewarding process. The key is to measure your truck bed accurately and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation closely.

Maintenance is equally important to ensure the longevity of your cover. Simple practices like regular cleaning, inspections for damage, and proper fastening can significantly extend the life of your cover.

Remember, a tonneau cover is not just an accessory; it’s an investment in the protection and efficiency of your vehicle. It safeguards your cargo, enhances fuel economy, and adds an aesthetic touch to your truck.

So, take the time to select the right cover, install it correctly, and maintain it well. It’s an effort that’ll pay off in the long run, protecting your cargo, your truck bed, and your pocket. Enjoy the journey of truck ownership, and let your tonneau cover be a part of that adventure.

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