Whenever you load equipment onto your vehicle's truck bed, the tailgate's upper edge gets most of the brunt. After all, you usually use the edge as leverage to carry heavy stuff as you lift it up and onto the bed. This is why after years of use, don't be surprised if the tailgate's edge is scratched, nicked, and dented. Fortunately, there's a way for you to keep the tailgate in top condition even after years of use.by installing a tailgate protector or cap. Here's how:
Tools you'll need:
- Drill and drill bit
- Clean rag
- Alcohol or alcohol wipes
Step 1: Clean the tailgate edge.
Grab a clean rag dipped in alcohol or some alcohol wipes to clean the edge of your tailgate. It's important that the edge is free from dirt, grime, or any contaminant that might prevent you from properly installing the tailgate protector. Keep in mind that the protector's adhesive strip won't stick properly to a dirty surface.
Step 2: Stick the tailgate cap on top of the edge.
Peel off the backing paper from the protector's adhesive strip. Then put it in position, firmly pressing the protector down to create a tight bond.
Step 3: Reinforce the back of the tailgate cap with adhesive tape.
Depending on the type of protector you have, you might need to stick its back part in place. Cut the extra adhesive strip from the protector kit into smaller pieces. Put these small, adhesive strips at the back of the protector and press the back firmly against the tailgate to create a strong bond. If the protector you bought doesn't require this step, skip to step 4.
Step 4: Drill the tailgate protector in place.
Drill four holes along the back of the protector. Insert four screws into these holes and tighten them up with a screwdriver. The screws, along with the adhesive strips, should keep the protector in place for years.
Installation and maintenance tips to remember:
- Before inserting the screws, apply a rust-preventive primer onto the holes to prevent corrosion from damaging the tailgate protector. This is especially helpful if you're installing a steel tailgate cap.
- To keep a steel protector in top condition for years, clean it regularly with car soap. Then apply a bit of wax to keep it shiny and looking new for many years. When cleaning an aluminum or chrome-coated tailgate cap, use the right cleaning products and tools. Remember, aluminum and chrome both caps require special cleaners that won't ruin their surfaces. Also, avoid using abrasive cloths and brushes when cleaning a tailgate cap to prevent accidental scratches.
- Because the tailgate protector will now receive most of the brunt every time you load and unload stuff from the truck bed, scratches and nicks will become common issues. So to keep the protector's surface in good condition, buff out small scratches as soon as you can with the right tools and products. If the scratches are too deep or big, it's time to install a new protector.