Pickup Trucks 101: How to Choose the Right Truck Bed Cover
Truck bed covers–also known as tonneau covers or pickup bed covers–aren’t really considered accessories when you live here in the Philippines. They’re actually necessities here, since we live in a country where the hot and humid weather–combined with the heavy rains and typhoon we experience half the entire year–can easily damage the things placed in the truck bed after a while.
It doesn’t end there. Aside from weather protection, these covers help secure your belongings so they don’t get stolen. They also reduce the aerodynamic drag on your pick-up truck, so you don’t waste gas unnecessarily.
So how do you know which cover is the best one for your pickup? Here are some practical ways to help you really decide the right one for you:
*Decide what type of material you want for your cover
You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the material for your cover. They include fiberglass, vinyl, ABS polymer, and canvas. The harder ones are ideal if you want to increase your security and protect valuable items from outside elements, while the softer ones–such as vinyl, can allow for easy access to your tools.
*Decide what kind of truck bed cover you want to use for your pickup
There are four types of truck bed covers you can choose from. They include:
Rolling (Soft) Covers
This type of tonneau cover uses softer materials that look like cloth. You can easily access your truck bed by rolling up the material. This type of cover can easily be installed in less than ten minutes, and with no tools required. Still, there are those that are already automated, so installation time can vary between 40 minutes to an hour.
Hard Folding Covers
Ideal for those who value security and protection, these durable, hard-shells can usually be folded section by section to reveal a part of the truck bed. They can also support a great deal of weight (even up to 400 pounds for the good ones).
The most common ones are the tri-fold types, and installation time varies. It may take you around 45 minutes to more than an hour to completely install it.
Ideal for taller trucks, this type of tonneau cover is like a window shutter, allowing you to move the cover back and forth either by manual or automated (electric) means. Most of the materials are aluminum slats placed in sequence next to each other, and the installation time is around an hour (or more), depending on the parts that will be installed.
This cover is more costly compared to the three, and is made with a tough material frame (like metal) and a hard folding cover to add extra reinforcement for carrying heavy, irregular-shaped cargo. It’s also ideal if you often carry loads that are longer than your truck bed.
It takes time to install this type of cover, because you need to install the rails first, which can take between 45 minutes to an hour using basic hand tools. And then you need to install the hard cover, which can take an hour or more to do, depending on the components.
*Decide how much you want to spend
Tonneau covers have a price range between P10,000 to P50,000+, so yes, they’re not cheap. Generally, the softer ones are less expensive than the hard ones, but that’s not always the case. In fact, prices can vary, and may even be similar even if you’re buying those with soft or hard materials.
Oftentimes, other factors will really determine how much you’ll spend on a truck bed cover. These may include how long the cover is and how it’s operated (manual, electric or remote-controlled). Other important ones to consider are the car brand’s popularity, car model’s popularity (or rarity) in the market, and date of manufacture.
Here are some actual prices to give you some examples:
- a 6.6-ft., soft tri-fold tonneau cover for a 2007-2013 Chevy/GMC/Sierra Silverado costs around PHP42,000
- a 6.4-ft., hard tri-fold tonneau cover for a 2002-2017 Dodge Ram is around PHP40,000
- a 5.5-ft., soft tri-fold tonneau cover for a 2004-2017 Ford F-150 costs PHP38,500
- a 5-ft., hard tri-fold tonneau cover for a 2005-2017 Nissan Frontier costs around PHP36,000
Here’s a tip: Some online shops (like Lazada) sell these covers for half the price, depending on their inventory. It’s always best to check legitimate, online sellers from time to time, because you never know when you’d snag a 50% discount for the real deal.
Now that you already have the information you need, then it’s time to make a decision. Just remember: having a truck bed cover has a lot of benefits, and it’s always good to invest in a high-quality cover so it will last a long time. Really, the benefits will far outweigh the negatives here, and we can guarantee you won’t be sorry in the end.