If you have an aluminum tonneau cover on your truck, you know how important it is to keep it sealed properly against the elements. Over time, the rubber seals around the edges of your tonneau cover can wear out or get damaged. Replacing these seals is crucial for keeping your cargo protected and secure.
But where can you find the right rubber seals for an aluminum tonneau cover? In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best places to buy rubber seals for aluminum tonneau covers and provide tips on how to choose the right seals for your specific cover.
What Are Tonneau Cover Seals?
Tonneau cover seals are rubber strips that are applied along the edges of your truck bed cover. They serve several important purposes:
- Create a tight seal to prevent water, dirt, and debris from getting into the truck bed
- Cushion the cover against shocks and vibration while driving
- Reduce wind noise by sealing gaps around the cover’s perimeter
- Help keep dust and fumes from entering the truck bed
The seals compress when you close your tonneau cover, filling any gaps between the cover and your truck bed. Quality seals will be made from durable, flexible rubber that can withstand years of use without cracking or breaking down.
Why Do Tonneau Cover Seals Need Replacement?
Over time, the seals on your aluminum tonneau cover will start to wear out. Factors like weather, dirt, and normal use will cause the seals to degrade. You may notice the seals becoming brittle, developing cracks or tears, or losing their flexibility. As the seals break down, you’ll lose the protective seal they create around your tonneau cover.
Replacing worn seals is important to keep your tonneau cover working properly. New seals will restore the snug fit, keep out debris, and reduce annoying wind noise from gaps around the cover. It’s recommended to inspect the seals at least annually and replace them as needed or every few years. Catching failing seals early makes replacement much quicker and easier.
Where To Buy Replacement Seals
You have several good options for purchasing replacement rubber seals for your aluminum tonneau cover:
1. Direct From The Manufacturer
One of the best ways to get the right seals for your tonneau cover is to order them directly from the manufacturer. Most will sell replacement seals tailored specifically to their covers. Buying directly from the source ensures you get seals that fit your cover properly.
Some tonneau manufacturers that sell replacement seals include:
- Pace Edwards
Check the manufacturer’s website or contact their customer service to find the seals for your particular aluminum cover. This option gives you the best fitting seals from an authorized seller.
2. Auto Parts Stores
Many major auto parts chains carry replacement seals for tonneau covers. Stores like AutoZone, O’Reilly Auto Parts, and Pep Boys have a selection of universal seals that should fit most aluminum covers. The benefit of auto parts stores is you can pick up seals conveniently when buying other auto accessories.
Before heading to the store, measure the length of your cover’s seals and note the dimensions. This will help you find a universal seal of the correct length. Let the store employee know the details of your cover to get their recommendation on the best option.
3. Online Retailers
Several online retailers sell high-quality, affordable seals for aluminum tonneau covers. Buying seals online gives you the widest selection of brands, materials, and custom lengths. Some popular online options include:
- Amazon: Amazon stocks numerous replacement seals for all tonneau cover brands, in many sizes. You can find options like ESI truck seals, HoldTight weatherstrip seals, and Seal King seals.
- AutoAnything: This retailer sells seals for top brands like BakFlip, Extang, UnderCover, and more. Choose from pre-sized seals or custom cut-to-length options.
- RealTruck: Here you’ll find brand name seals like Bak Replacement Seals and ProMax seals. Use their Tonneau Cover Seal Finder to input your cover details and get seal recommendations.
- TonnoPro: Specializing in tonneau covers, TonnoPro sells high-quality replacement seals cut to size for your specific cover.
When ordering online, carefully check the product descriptions and size options to match the right seals to your cover. Measure your original seals if unsure.
4. Local Auto Repair Shops
For a quick, local solution, check with auto repair shops in your area. Many carry selections of universal seals and gaskets that can work for tonneau covers. An experienced mechanic can help determine the best fit based on examining your cover and original seals.
Support local businesses while getting seals conveniently installed by the professionals. Auto shops may even have old seals on hand they can size to fit your cover if needed.
How To Measure For Correct Replacement Seals
To get seals that properly fit your aluminum tonneau cover, accurate measurements of your existing seals is key. Here is a simple process for measuring old seals so new ones will replace them exactly:
1. Remove The Old Seals
- Carefully pry the old seals out of the cover grooves with a flathead screwdriver or seal removal tool.
- Clean out any debris or old adhesive from the grooves with isopropyl alcohol.
2. Measure Length
- Lay the seals out on a flat surface and cut apart if they are joined at corners.
- Use a measuring tape to measure the exact length of each side and rear seal. Round up to the nearest 1/4 inch.
- For lids with corner hinges, measure along the separate sections on each side, excluding gaps for hinges.
3. Measure Thickness
- Use calipers or a ruler to measure the height/thickness of the seal cross-section.
- Check the thickness in several spots and note the smallest measurement.
4. Measure Width
- Measure the widest point of the seal with calipers or a ruler to get the overall width.
5. Note Seal Shape
- Look at the seal’s cross-section shape and note if it is rectangular, triangular, etc.
- Also note if it has any extra fins or flanges.
With these key measurements, you can find accurate replacement seals for a perfect fit. Provide the details when ordering seals online or buying in auto parts stores.
Helpful Tips For Replacing Tonneau Seals
Once you have your new seals, installing them correctly ensures they seal properly on your cover. Follow these useful tips when replacing the seals:
- Clean surfaces – Use isopropyl alcohol or acetone to clean the cover grooves and truck bed rails where seals attach. This helps the adhesive stick tightly.
- Dry fit seals – Place the seals into position on the cover first without adhesive to ensure they are the right fit. Trim any overhanging length if needed before final installation.
- Apply adhesive – Use a recommended seal adhesive like 3M Super Weatherstrip Adhesive and apply a thin bead into the groove before pressing in the seal. This creates a waterproof bond.
- Take your time – Carefully fit the seals into place, pressing down FIRMLY as you go for optimal adhesion. Slowly work each seal into place rather than stretching them along hastily.
- Use a roller – Once the seals are aligned, roll over them with a small rubber roller to help fully adhere them to the cover surface.
- Seal ends – Seal the ends of the seals with adhesive and trim any excess length for a clean finish.
With care taken during installation, your new seals will restore the ideal protection and noise reduction for your aluminum tonneau cover.
Types of Replacement Seals
There are a few different types of seals used on aluminum tonneau covers. Knowing the options helps you choose appropriate replacement seals:
Side edge seals attach along the long sides of the cover where it meets the bed rails. They are the longest seals, often sold in 16′ strips that can be cut down to your exact side length.
Rear seals attach along the back tailgate edge to seal that gap. Rear seals typically range from 5-8 feet on most truck beds.
For covers with multi-panel lids that open in sections, short interlocking seals fit between the movable panels. These allow the panels to seal tightly together, maintaining protection across the bed.
Covers with side seals meeting at the corners may use thick corner seals to fill in gaps at these joints. The triangular corner seals compress when closed to prevent leaking.
Make note of which specific seals need replacement on your cover and get the appropriate types for proper sealing.
Materials for Quality Replacement Seals
Replacement seals are commonly made from either rubber or foam:
- Rubber – Rubber seals made from materials like EPDM or vinyl provide excellent water resistance and durability. Rubber compresses well to conform and seal snugly. Look for reinforced rubber for enhanced longevity.
- Foam – Foam seals made from closed-cell polyethylene foam or dense EVA foam are lightweight, affordable options. They provide good sealing and noise reduction. Make sure foam density is high enough for compression strength.
Silicone seals are also available for tonneau covers but tend to be less durable than rubber or foam. Carefully read descriptions to choose seals made from long-lasting materials.
Ensure Proper Fit
It’s extremely important that replacement seals properly fit your specific aluminum tonneau cover. Improperly sized seals won’t seal correctly, causing leaks and permitting dust and moisture into the truck bed. Take the time to carefully measure your original seals and order the right lengths and dimensions.
Buying from the tonneau cover manufacturer or a retailer that cuts seals to size ensures the best fit. If ordering universal seals, have them in hand to test fit before applying adhesive. Proper fitting seals will keep your cover sealed against the elements for maximum protection.
Keeping the seals around your aluminum tonneau cover in good condition is crucial for ideal protection. Finding the right replacement seals ensures moisture, dust, and noise stay outside the truck bed. Measure old seals precisely, shop online retailers or local auto parts stores, and take care installing new seals for optimal performance. With fresh seals keeping the elements out, you can rely on your tonneau cover to keep cargo secure for the long haul.