Trucks have a utilitarian nature that makes them capable of being anything for anyone. They can be the ultimate workhorse for people who regularly haul stuff or the perfect weekend-adventure vehicle that can negotiate with even the world's most difficult terrains. They can also be a flashy lowrider for guys who don't want to go unnoticed. Trucks have the power to grab everyone's attention.
However, your truck's functionality won't be complete or will be limited if you don't have a tonneau cover. This is a necessity to truck owners as it provides absolute usefulness in many situations, plus a load of other essential benefits.
But with the lots of choices out there, how will you know if the one you are planning to purchase is exactly what you need? To make a sound decision, you must first ask yourself these questions before making a purchase:
Question 1: What do you need the tonneau cover for?
The answer to this question largely determines the kind of cover you should get. If you need it to secure the valuables you usually put on your truck bed during your travels, it pays to get a hard tonneau cover with a locking mechanism as it offers more security.
But if you're installing one for its drag coefficient, a soft-model cover, which is significantly cheaper than the hard type, is apt for the job. It covers the truck bed and stops tailgate drag to save you mileage without the hassles of strenuous tailgate removal. You can get either a snap or a snapless soft cover; just make sure that it offers tight fit to maximize its ability to prevent tailgate drag.
Question 2: How often do you need quick access to all corners of your truck bed?
If you need fast access to the entire bed of your truck on a regular basis, go for a tonneau cover that can easily provide full truck bed access without the need to remove the cover completely. Those who need a hard cover can choose one with retracting designs for fast, unrestricted access to all corners of the bed. This won't be a problem with soft covers as they can easily be rolled up or totally removed for full bed access.
Question 3: Who will be installing the tonneau cover?
Are you going to install the cover by yourself? Then you'd better gauge your mechanical or DIY skills because you can only make full use of your cover if it is properly installed. Failure to line up a rail properly can make the cover difficult to close while improper placement of seal may compromise the water-tight capability of the cover. Remember, soft covers are generally easier to install than hard truck bed covers.
Question 4: What kind of bed liner does your truck come equipped with?
You're lucky if your truck comes with under-the-rail bed liner because you won't have any problem in installing a tonneau cover. But if your truck is outfitted with over-the-rail liner, you should be careful in choosing a cover. Check first if it can be installed on your truck, considering the kind of bed liner you have, before making a purchase.
Question 5: How much is your budget?
When purchasing auto parts, you will always get what you pay for. So if you're serious about getting a practical truck bed cover, you must be willing to pay for the loads of benefits you'll get from this part. Those who are willing to shell out $500 and up can go for a hard truck bed cover. The price of a soft cover, on the other hand, ranges from roughly a little over $130 up to around $500.
Truck bed covers generally don't come cheap, but if you'll keep this tonneau cover shopping guide in mind, you'll be able to get real value for your money.