A tonneau cover is like a lid or cover for the back of a pickup truck. It covers and protects the truck bed. Tonneau covers come in different styles like soft covers or hard covers. They keep stuff in the truck bed safe and dry. Some can even lock to secure cargo.
What are bed rail caps?
Bed rail caps are plastic covers that go over the top of the bed rails on a truck. The bed rails are the sides of the open truck bed. The plastic rail caps help protect the truck’s paint from getting scraped or damaged. They make the truck look nicer too!
Do tonneau covers and bed rail caps work together?
Yes, you can use a tonneau cover on a truck that has bed rail caps. But some tonneau covers may need the rail caps removed or adjusted to fit right.
What should I know before buying a tonneau cover?
- Check that the tonneau cover fits your truck make and model
- See if it works with bed rail caps or needs them removed
- Hard covers might be easier to install than soft covers
- Make sure it has clamps that grip the bed rails well
Do I need to take the bed rail caps off my truck?
Some tonneau covers fit fine right over the rail caps. But others need part or all of the caps removed first. Here is why:
Why would I need to remove the bed rail caps?
- The clamps on some tonneau covers can’t grip with the plastic caps in the way
- The cover might not sit flat or seal tight with caps still on
- It may hit or rub against the thicker caps when closing
Why would I get to leave caps on?
- Covers made for caps have wider clamps to fit over them
- Low profile caps may not cause any issues
- Some covers have foam strips to seal above caps
How do I take bed rail caps off my truck?
Taking rail caps off is pretty easy. Just follow these steps:
- Flathead screwdriver
- Plastic pry tool (optional)
- Locate the plastic clips holding on the cap
- Carefully pry up the center pin of each clip with a flathead screwdriver
- Pull the clips out of the bed rail slots
- Slowly pop the cap off the bed rail
- Store caps and clips in a safe place
Be gentle when removing to avoid breaking the clips or caps. Installing caps later is the reverse process.
What tonneau covers work with bed rail caps?
Here are some good tonneau cover options that usually work with caps:
Soft roll-up covers
- Low profile soft covers fit over most bed rail caps
- Vinyl covers seal well with foam strips on the rails
- Roll-up covers are easy to open partially or fully
Hard folding covers
- Aluminum panels fold accordion-style for full bed access
- Wings on the cover clamps reach over caps
- Locking models add extra security
Retractable hard covers
- Strong covers roll open on canister tracks
- Wide clamps typically fit over bed rail caps
- Provides full truck bed access when open
Tips for installing a tonneau with rail caps:
- Read instructions to see if cap removal is required
- Adjust clamps outward if they don’t reach the bed rails
- Add weatherstripping foam for a tight seal
- Make sure the cover sits level across the truck bed
- Take care not to overtighten clamps and crack caps
Yes, you can use most tonneau covers on pickup trucks that have plastic bed rail caps installed. But some covers may require removing part or all of the rail caps first. Always check for cap compatibility before buying a tonneau cover. With the right cover and proper installation, you can keep your gear protected and your truck looking sharp!