A bed divider is an interior accessory for pickup truck beds that creates separated cargo areas. Bed dividers are usually installed horizontally across the bed to split it into front and rear sections. They help prevent cargo from sliding around during transport.
A tonneau cover is a truck bed cover that protects the pickup bed and any cargo inside. Tonneau covers open and close to allow access to the bed and come in different styles like retractable, foldable, roll-up, snap, and more.
So in summary:
- Bed divider – splits the truck bed into sections
- Tonneau cover – a cover for the truck bed
How do bed dividers and tonneau covers work together?
The bed divider mounts to the sides of the truck bed, while the tonneau cover sits right over the top.
A bed divider can be installed with a tonneau cover in place. The divider brackets will mount below the inside lip of the bed rails, and the divider panel will fit underneath the tonneau cover.
However, compatibility depends on having adequate vertical clearance between the bed floor and tonneau cover for the divider. It also depends on the divider fitting side-to-side within the bed without interfering with the tonneau cover rails or system.
What factors determine compatibility?
There are a few key factors that determine whether a specific bed divider and tonneau cover combination will be compatible:
Truck make and model
The dimensions and design of the truck bed affect available space. For example, some beds taper in width towards the cab.
Tonneau cover style
Retractable and roll-up covers allow for more vertical clearance than low-profile hard covers.
Bed liner type
Thick spray-in liners take up more space than drop-in plastic liners. No liner provides the most room.
Rigid panels restrict space more than flexible vinyl dividers. Size of divider brackets is also a factor.
Cargo management systems
Built-in rails, cleats, tie downs can limit viable mounting locations for the divider.
So the make, model, and configuration of truck and accessories all impact compatibility. Some trial and error may be required.
Will a bed divider work with common tonneau cover types?
Here is a breakdown of how major tonneau cover styles tend to work with bed dividers, based on user experiences:
Retractable tonneau covers
Verdict: Usually compatible.
Retractable covers roll up into a canister at the cab end of the bed. This leaves maximum vertical space for dividers to fit under. The tonneau rails also do not tend to interfere with divider brackets.
Folding tonneau covers
Verdict: Results vary.
Folding covers have vinyl panels that accordion open. When closed, the panels remain several inches above the bed floor. This can leave enough room for divider clearance, but it depends on the specific model.
Roll-up tonneau covers
Verdict: Compatible if vinyl style.
Vinyl roll-up covers can be rolled fully open. This allows ample room for divider clearance. But hard roll-up covers have less give and may not work.
Low-profile hard tonneau covers
Verdict: Least compatible.
Hard covers like fiberglass lock tightly over the bed. They sit very close to the bed floor, which restricts divider space. But some models have a little flexibility or come in elevated styles to improve compatibility.
Snap tonneau covers
Verdict: Depends on material.
The snap-on panels of these covers can be vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass. Vinyl usually works better with dividers. Rigid aluminum or plastic may not provide enough clearance.
So in general, the more vertical space under a tonneau cover when closed, the better chance a bed divider has of fitting.
What are some firsthand experiences from truck owners?
Here are some examples from truck forums and owners on their experiences with bed dividers and tonneau covers:
“I have an OEM bed divider and Extang 2.0 Tri-Fold tonneau on my Tacoma. The divider fits perfectly within the bed and under the tonneau cover when closed. I even have a bed mat, and it still fits great.”
“Does anyone know which tonneau covers work with the Ram sliding cargo bed divider? I’ve only seen definite confirmation that the Bakflip MX4 is compatible.”
“Has anyone been able to get the Mopar bed divider working with the cargo management system and tonneau cover? I tried fitting mine in my TRX but no luck.”
“I installed a bed divider in my F-150 with the spray-in bedliner and tonneau cover. It fits, but it’s very tight. If you have a drop-in plastic liner, I don’t think it would work.”
“I installed a bed divider in my Tundra with the retractable tonneau cover. I did have to trim the brackets slightly where they mount because it pushed the rails out a little bit, but otherwise fits great.”
Ford F-150 Lightning
“Will a bed divider fit in the Lightning with the tonneau cover? I want to create separate zones for gear.”
So real-world results vary based on the exact truck setup, but most divider and tonneau combinations seem capable of working together with some possible small modifications needed.
Tips for fitting a bed divider with a tonneau cover
If you want to install a divider in your truck that already has a tonneau cover, keep these tips in mind:
- Carefully measure vertical clearance between cover and bed to ensure enough room for the divider thickness.
- Look for tonneau cover styles with more height clearance or ability to open fully.
- Use a vinyl roll-up divider rather than a rigid paneled style.
- Avoid using a spray-in bedliner which takes up valuable space.
- Be prepared to trim divider brackets if they interfere with tonneau rails or covers.
- Install the tonneau cover first, then test fit the divider and mark any problem spots.
- Leave one end of the tonneau cover loose to allow easier test fitting until the divider is installed correctly.
With some planning and trial and error, most truck owners should be able to get an ideal bed divider and tonneau cover setup to organize and protect their cargo hauling needs.
Can you put a bed divider in a truck with a tonneau cover? Final verdict.
The short answer is yes – most bed dividers and tonneau covers can be compatible with the right truck setup and combination.
Retractable and vinyl roll-up tonneaus tend to offer the most room for dividers. Low-profile hard covers are most restrictive.
Installing the tonneau first then test fitting dividers is the best process. Some bracket trimming or small mods may help maximize fit.
Focus on vertical clearance, avoiding spray-in liners, and flexible divider styles. With a bit of work, you can safely divide your truck bed while keeping it covered.