If you have loose snapped strips on your tonneau cover, there are several ways to fix the problem. A tonneau cover protects the truck bed and any cargo inside, so it’s important to keep it properly secured.
Loose strips can allow water, dirt and debris to get into your truck bed, damaging your cargo. Fortunately, repairing loose snapped strips is often an easy DIY fix.
What Are The Most Common Causes of Loose Snapped Strips?
Before jumping into repairs, it helps to understand what may be causing the snapped strips to come loose in the first place. Here are some of the most common culprits:
Worn Out Velcro
Many tonneau covers use Velcro strips to secure the cover to the truck bed. Over time, the Velcro can wear out, preventing the strips from gripping properly. Excessive UV exposure from sunlight can accelerate the breakdown of the Velcro.
Broken or Loosened Clamps
Covers that utilize clamps to attach to the truck bed can work loose if the clamps break or are not sufficiently tightened. Vibration from driving can cause clamps to loosen gradually.
Damage from Impact or Snagging
If something hits or snags on the tonneau cover, it can tear the covering material or break the attachment strips or snaps. Tree branches, car washes and large cargo are common culprits.
General Wear and Tear
Like any other truck accessory, tonneau covers deteriorate from general use over time. The covering fabric may develop small tears and holes, allowing the snaps and strips to detach more easily.
Regular inspection and maintenance of your tonneau cover can help prevent loose strips by catching issues early. But no matter the cause, a few simple repairs can often get your cover secured again.
Step-By-Step Guide to Replacing Detached Velcro Strips
If the Velcro on your tonneau cover has worn out and no longer keeps the cover firmly attached, replacing the strips is a straightforward DIY fix. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- New Velcro strips, available at auto parts stores or online in kits for tonneau covers
- Clean rags
- Raise the tonneau cover to expose the underside where the Velcro is located. Remove the cover completely if possible.
- Clean the truck bed and underside of the cover thoroughly where new Velcro will be applied. Use clean rags and an all-purpose cleaner or rubbing alcohol.
- Remove the old Velcro strips completely using a screwdriver or your hands. The Velcro should peel away cleanly.
- Ensure the surface areas are fully dry. Use additional clean rags to wipe away any residue left from the old Velcro or cleaning solutions.
- Test fit the new Velcro strips first without removing the adhesive backing. Make sure they will line up properly with the mating strips on the truck bed.
- Once test fitting is complete, remove the adhesive backing from the new Velcro strips. Firmly press into place on the cover, smoothing down the entire strip to secure the adhesive.
- Clean the truck bed once more where new Velcro will attach. Ensure the surface is free of dirt, wax and oils.
- Just as you did on the cover, apply the new Velcro strips to the bed, removing the backing and firmly smoothing each strip.
- Carefully set the cover back into place, pressing down along all Velcro strips to adhere. Check that the cover is now securely fastened.
With new, high quality Velcro strips properly attached, your tonneau cover should once again stay firmly secured while driving. To extend the life of the new Velcro, be sure to clean it occasionally by brushing debris off the hook and loop fasteners. Avoid treating the Velcro with wax, polish or protectants.
What If My Tonneau Cover Has Loose or Broken Clamps?
Many tonneau covers rely on clamps spaced along the sides or front edge to keep the cover tightly on the truck bed. But clamps can loosen over time or break from impact damage. Fortunately, repairing loose or broken clamps is usually inexpensive and straightforward.
Signs Your Clamps Need Repair
How can you tell if your tonneau cover clamps need adjustment or replacing? Here are a few signs to watch for:
- The cover shifts around easily when driving
- There are gaps between the cover and truck bed
- Clamps move freely when you try to tighten them
- You can see broken parts on the clamps
- The cover makes banging or fluttering noises at highway speeds
Any of these are indications your clamps may be loose or broken. But inspect them directly to make sure.
Tightening Existing Clamps
If your clamps are intact but loose, try tightening them first before replacing any parts. The procedure is quick and easy:
- Lift the cover enough to access each clamp. Depending on the style, you may be able to leave the cover in place.
- Using a flathead screwdriver, tighten the screw, nut or bolt on each clamp. Take care not to over-tighten.
- Test the cover to see if the extra tightening of the clamps resolved the issue.
- Drive at highway speeds and listen for any banging or fluttering noises that may indicate the cover is still loose.
- If needed, incrementally tighten the clamps further and retest until secure.
Tightening the clamps may be all that’s needed to firmly re-secure a loose tonneau cover. But if clamps are damaged or broken, replacement will be required.
Replacing Broken Clamps
If inspection reveals bent, cracked or broken clamps, they will need to be replaced. Here is the basic process:
- Fully remove tonneau cover to access clamps.
- Remove any damaged clamps by unscrewing from the cover or truck bed.
- Inspect mounting holes for any damage. Repair any stripping.
- Purchase replacement clamps from the tonneau manufacturer or general automotive retailer.
- Install new clamps per included instructions, ensuring proper alignment.
- Tighten clamps enough to secure cover, testing for full closure.
With damaged clamps replaced, the tonneau cover should once again keep out the elements while driving. Be sure to periodically inspect clamps to identify any new issues promptly.
Can Lubricating the Hinges Help a Sticking Tonneau Cover?
Tonneau covers that fold or roll up are opened and closed regularly. Over time, hinges and sliding mechanisms can begin to stick or become stiff. But a simply lubrication tune-up can often get things moving smoothly again.
What Causes Tonneau Covers to Stick and Bind?
A tonneau cover that doesn’t open and close easily can be caused by a few common problems:
- Rust – Hinges, bearings and sliding parts exposed to the elements can build up rust over years of use. Rust causes friction and sticking.
- Wear – The constant opening and closing motion wears down lubrication applied at the factory. Unlubricated parts will bind and stick.
- Dirt – Road debris, leaves, pine needles and other contaminants can work their way into hinges and track mechanisms. This fouls their movement.
- Damage – Collisions or snagging can bend or warp the hinges and sliding assemblies of a tonneau cover. Any distortion can cause sticking issues.
Regular cleaning and lubrication maintenance can prevent covers from sticking. But checking for any damage is important too.
How to Lubricate a Sticking Tonneau Cover
Here is a simple process for lubricating a balky tonneau cover:
- Open the cover fully to access all hinges and slide mechanisms.
- Clean any debris, dirt or rust. A stiff brush, rag and a degreaser work well.
- Inspect components for damage. Bent parts may need replacement.
- Apply a lubricant designed for auto hinges and slides. Spray or wipe on lightly.
- Manually work the cover, fully opening and closing several times.
- Add more lubricant anywhere still sticking or squeaking.
- Fully close cover and let lubricant penetrate overnight before using.
Be sure to use a proper light oil or silicone spray. Avoid heavy grease that could attract dirt. With fresh lubrication applied, your tonneau cover should open and close smoothly once again.
What If My Tonneau Cover Has Rips or Holes?
It’s not uncommon for tonneau covers to develop rips, tears or holes from impact damage, snagging on cargo, or just general wear and tear. How you go about repairing the damage depends on the material of your particular cover.
Repairing Vinyl Tonneau Covers
Vinyl is one of the most common tonneau cover materials. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to patch small holes and tears in vinyl:
- Clean and dry the damaged area thoroughly. Use vinyl cleaner and let dry fully.
- Apply vinyl adhesive to both sides of a vinyl repair patch, allowing time to get slightly tacky.
- Press the coated vinyl patch firmly over the damage site. Smooth with a roller.
- Clamp patches over larger holes and tears for 12-24 hours until the adhesive cures fully.
- Seal all patch edges completely with additional vinyl adhesive for best water resistance.
With small rips and punctures properly patched, your vinyl tonneau cover should be watertight once again.
Fixing Rips in Fabric Covers
For tonneau covers made from canvas, polyester or other fabrics, simple stitches can often repair small damage.
- Carefully inspect the underside of the cover at the rip to find corresponding bed damage that caused it. File down any sharp edges on the truck bed that you find.
- Clean fabric around hole thoroughly and allow to dry completely.
- Select a heavy duty thread designed for outdoor fabrics. Contrasting colors help highlight the stitching.
- Hand stitch the tear using a sailmaker’s needle and tight over-under stitch technique.
- Seam seal the stitches for a fully waterproof repair.
With careful stitching and sealing, you can repair small rips in fabric tonneau covers. But large holes or tears will need professional replacement.
Replacing Severely Damaged Sections
If the tonneau cover damage is too large for basic repairs, a section of the cover may need replacement. This generally requires professional installation for best results:
- Remove the entire cover to bring to an auto upholstery or tonneau repair shop.
- The shop can order just the section needing replacement from the manufacturer, or fabricate a new piece.
- Damaged parts are cut away and new panels professionally sewn into place using a heavy duty sewing machine.
- The repaired cover is reinstalled on your truck. Seams and edges sealed for maximum water resistance.
While replacing sections is more expensive than small repairs, it extends the useful life of your tonneau cover.
Helpful Tonneau Cover Repair Tips and Tricks
Repairing a tonneau cover is often straightforward. But here are some helpful tips and tricks to make your DIY repair project go smoothly:
- Consult your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer for specific repair advice on your cover model.
- Use heavy duty exterior-rated adhesives, lubricants and seam sealants designed for tonneau covers. General household products may fail prematurely.
- To prevent new damage, always unload cargo carefully. Never drop or drag heavy objects across the cover.
- Roll up or remove cover before entering automatic car washes. Aggressive brushes can damage the material.
- Wash the cover occasionally with a mild soap and water, then treat with UV protectant to extend the life of materials.
- Inspect cover regularly for new holes and touch up damage promptly to avoid enlarging issues.
- For large repair jobs, consider professional assistance from an auto upholstery shop experienced with tonneau covers.
- Ask other pickup truck owners for referrals on quality local tonneau cover repair services.
With proper materials and some DIY repair skills, you can often fix minor tonneau cover damage yourself and save on expensive replacement. But don’t hesitate to call in a professional when needed. Prompt repairs will keep your truck bed and cargo protected for years to come.
Loose, broken or detached snaps and strips on your tonneau cover can compromise the protection of your truck bed. But in most cases, repairing snapped strips or Velcro is a quick and easy fix.
Replacing worn out Velcro strips, tightening or replacing broken clamps, lubricating sticky hinges, and patching small rips and holes will get your cover secured and functional again.
With the right materials and some basic DIY skills, you can repair minor tonneau cover damage yourself and extend the life of your cover. But for more extensive repairs, seek out professional assistance to get your cover fully watertight again.
Keeping up on routine tonneau cover maintenance and repairs will ensure maximum life and utility from this important truck bed accessory.