A retractable tonneau cover is a popular truck bed cover that rolls up into itself at the push of a button. This allows for full bed access when needed. But will this style of cover hold up to being opened and closed every day? Here’s what to consider:
How Durable Are Retractable Tonneau Covers?
Retractable tonneau covers are designed to be durable and withstand frequent use. The canister and cover material is made to survive years of being rolled up, extended out, and exposed to the elements.
What Materials Are Retractable Covers Made From?
Many retractable covers are constructed from strong vinyl or aluminum. The vinyl is reinforced to resist rips, tears, and punctures. Aluminum provides rigid strength against dents and damage. Other common materials include ABS plastic and polymer composites.
Polymer composites like those used in BakFlip covers combine the strength of aluminum with the flexibility of plastic. This allows the cover to resist dents while still being lightweight.
Do The Opening Mechanisms Last?
The retracting mechanisms are built to reliably open and close thousands of times. Ball bearings allow the canister to roll up smoothly without much effort. Side clamps keep the cover secure when closed.
As long as the cover is properly maintained by lubricating hinges and cleaning tracks, the mechanics should remain functional for years of daily use.
How About Weather Resistance?
Quality retractable covers are designed to withstand all types of weather conditions – rain, snow, sun, and more.
Seals and weatherstripping prevent water from entering the truck bed. UV-resistant materials resist fading and sun damage. The cover material won’t stretch or warp from exposure to heat, cold, or moisture over time.
Do Retractable Covers Provide Good Access To The Truck Bed?
One of the biggest benefits of a retractable tonneau cover is the versatility it provides in accessing the truck bed.
How Much Of The Bed Can Be Exposed?
Retractable covers roll up into themselves, allowing access to 100% of the bed when needed. This makes loading large or bulky items easy.
The cover can be stopped at any point along the rails to expose only part of the truck bed if desired. This flexibility is useful when you need some covered storage combined with some open space.
Are The Covers Easy To Open And Close?
Most retractables are designed for easy, one-handed operation to open and close smoothly. Just pull the latch and the cover retracts itself, no dragging or folding required.
The low-profile housing allows it to roll up without obstructing rear visibility or access to the tailgate. Opening and closing can typically be done in a matter of seconds.
Do Retractable Covers Provide Adequate Truck Bed Protection?
Retractable tonneau covers are one of the most secure and protective truck bed cover options. Here’s how they measure up:
How Waterproof Are The Covers?
Sealed seams and weatherstripping create a water-tight barrier. Rain, snow, and splashing water are kept out of the truck bed, protecting cargo from getting wet.
What About Dust And Debris Protection?
The tight vinyl or aluminum material keeps out dust, leaves, pollen and other debris that can blow in. Stuff stored in the bed stays clean.
How Secure Are The Covers Against Theft And Vandalism?
Most retractables have locking mechanisms on both sides that secure the cover the full length of the bed. This prevents easy access that could allow theft or damage.
The low profile design also provides a layer of concealment, hiding valuables stored underneath. The retractable design leaves no loose panels that could be tampered with.
Do Retractable Tonneau Covers Enhance Truck Styling?
Along with exceptional function, retractable tonneau covers also provide a stylish, customized look.
Do They Give The Truck A Sleek, Low-Profile Appearance?
When closed, a retractable cover maintains clean, smooth lines along the bed. The canister hugs close to the cab for a cohesive look.
This streamlined, integrated appearance is sportier than the bulky folding panels of a tri-fold cover.
What Finish Options Are Available?
Many retractables come with a durable black vinyl surface. Higher-end aluminum versions feature a polished, anodized finish.
Some covers offer custom color options to match or accent the truck’s paintwork. This allows personalizing the look.
Do They Work With Bed Racks, Rails, And Other Accessories?
Retractable covers are designed to be compatible with bed racks, rails, tailgate assists, and other useful accessories. The ability to coordinate with other upgrades is a bonus.
What Are The Potential Drawbacks of Retractable Covers?
While retractable tonneau covers have many benefits, there are some potential disadvantages to consider as well:
Are They More Susceptible to Damage Than Hinged Covers?
There are more moving parts like tracks and fabrics that could be prone to wear. Taking steps to clean and lubricate the panels, hinges, and bearings is important.
Vinyl covers also need to be treated with protectants and properly stored when not in use. Aluminum or composite versions will be more durable.
Is the Installation More Difficult Than Other Covers?
Professional installation is recommended for retractable covers. The housing unit and rail system requires precise alignment and fitting.
But once properly set up, the covers are designed for easy ongoing use.
Are Retractable Covers More Expensive Than Other Types?
Quality retractable tonneaux are a premium truck accessory, typically ranging from $800-$1500. The higher cost accounts for the integrated housing, retracting mechanism, and weatherproofing components.
How Can I Increase The Lifespan of My Retractable Tonneau Cover?
Taking proper care of your retractable truck bed cover will help it last through years of daily use. Here are some key maintenance tips:
- Keep the vinyl clean and conditioned with protectants to resist deterioration.
- Lubricate the hinges, bearings, and side rails as needed to prevent sticking.
- Check for loose clamps or damaged seals and replace them promptly.
- Don’t drive with the cover partially open and never overload the cover.
- If storing the truck with cover on, ensure it’s fully closed and locked.
- Follow the manufacturer’s tips for proper opening, cleaning, and operation procedures.
With the right retractable tonneau cover and proper care, you can enjoy smooth, reliable access plus protection for your truck bed. The durable construction is built to handle regular opening, closing, and exposure to the elements. Follow good maintenance practices and your cover should withstand up to daily use for years before needing replacement.
- Retractable tonneau covers are constructed from durable, weather-resistant materials built to withstand frequent daily use.
- The retracting mechanism allows versatile access to the full truck bed or just a portion when needed.
- Retractables provide a high level of protection against weather, dust, debris, and theft.
- A retractable cover gives the truck a sleek, stylish look that can be customized.
- Potential drawbacks include higher cost and the possibility of more mechanical issues than hinged covers.
- Proper care like lubricating, cleaning, and conditioning will maximize the cover’s lifespan with daily use.