Have you noticed tears or holes around the bolts that hold your truck bed cover in place? Rips around the mounting bolts can let in water and dirt. Fixing these holes will help your cover last longer. Follow these steps to repair rips around tonneau cover mounting bolts.
Why Do Rips Happen Around Tonneau Cover Bolts?
Rips and holes around tonneau cover mounting bolts happen for a few reasons:
- The bolts are loose. When bolts are loose, the cover can move around. This puts stress on the fabric around the bolts.
- The original bolts broke. Metal bolts can break over time. Using lower quality bolts also increases the chance they will break.
- The truck bed has movement. Going over bumps causes the truck bed to flex. This flexing can rip the fabric around the bolts.
- The fabric is old and worn. Over time, the fabric can become brittle and tear more easily around stress points like bolts.
How Can I Prevent Rips Around the Mounting Bolts?
It’s much easier to prevent rips than fix them later. Here are some tips:
- Check bolts often. Make sure all cover mounting bolts are tight. Tight bolts limit the cover’s movement.
- Use high quality hardware. Invest in good stainless steel or aluminum bolts, washers, and nuts.
- Add rubber washers. Rubber washers reduce vibration and friction against the fabric.
- Go slow over bumps. Driving slowly over bumps and dips reduces sudden truck bed movement.
- Consider adding support struts. Struts connect the cover to the truck bed for extra support.
- Use bedliner around mounts. A bedliner around the mounts prevents the fabric from rubbing on sharp metal.
- Replace worn fabric. As soon as you notice fraying or holes, replace old fabric.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Fix Rips Around Mounting Bolts
If you already have rips around the cover mounting bolts, here is how to fix them:
Step 1: Remove the Cover
- Locate all the mounting bolts along the rails or sides of the truck bed.
- Use the correct wrench or socket to loosen each bolt. Turn counter-clockwise to loosen.
- Once all bolts are loose, lift the cover gently off the bed.
- Set the cover safely aside so you can work on it.
Step 2: Remove the Rail (If Applicable)
- Many covers attach to a rail that runs along the bed sides.
- Look for the screws that hold the rail in place. Use a torx bit to remove the screws.
- Lift the rail off and set it aside with the cover.
Step 3: Replace Broken Bolts
- Examine all the original mounting bolts. Look for rust, cracks, or breaks.
- For each broken bolt, remove any remaining pieces from the truck bed or cover.
- Replace broken bolts with new stainless steel or aluminum hardware.
- Make sure the new bolts fit through the existing holes snugly.
Step 4: Patch the Fabric
- Locate each rip or hole around the mounting bolts.
- Clean the area around the hole so adhesive will stick.
- Cut a patch from extra truck bed cover fabric or heavy duty ripstop nylon.
- Make each patch large enough to overlap the hole by several inches.
- Apply adhesive like Shoe Goo or E-6000 to the fabric around the hole.
- Place the patch over the hole and press down firmly.
Step 5: Reinstall the Hardware
- Place the cover back over the truck bed, aligning the holes.
- Slide new bolts through from under the bed for a smooth look. Or use bolts/nuts if needed.
- Add rubber washers between the cover and bed for cushioning.
- Tighten all bolts snugly, but not so tight you warp the cover.
- Reattach the rail if needed using the original screws.
Step 6: Seal and Protect Patches
- Once mounted, run a bead of adhesive around the edge of each fabric patch.
- Allow time to fully cure for maximum weather protection.
- Apply a fabric sealant like 303 Aerospace Protectant over all patches.
- Re-apply sealant regularly to prevent leaks around mounting holes.
Tips for Choosing New Tonneau Cover Mounting Hardware
Choosing the right mounting hardware for your tonneau cover can prevent rips and tears. Here are some helpful tips:
- Use at least stainless steel Grade 8 hardware. Stainless steel resists rust and corrosion.
- Aluminum hardware is another lightweight and strong option.
- Look for bolt heads that won’t damage fabric like low profile heads.
- Include rubber washers to allow the cover to flex without rubbing.
- Cushion clamps add flexibility at mounting points if needed.
- Check that replacement bolts fit your existing holes properly.
- Match the original bolt diameter and length if possible.
- Have extra washers, nuts, and bolts on hand for repairs.
Answers to Common Questions About Fixing Tonneau Cover Rips
Here are some common questions and answers about repairing torn truck bed covers:
How Do I Know If My Tonneau Cover Needs Repair?
Inspect your cover closely for signs of wear like:
- Fraying or tearing fabric around bolts
- Rust stains around bolt heads
- Visible holes or openings at mounting points
- Flapping fabric sound at highway speeds
Any of these signs mean it’s time to repair or replace mounting hardware.
Should I Replace or Patch Torn Fabric?
For small holes under 1 inch, patching is economical. But large rips or fabric damage on more than 25% of the cover likely requires full replacement.
What Is the Best Glue for Tonneau Cover Repair?
Look for adhesives made for vinyl and fabrics. Good options include Shoe Goo, E-6000, or HH-66 vinyl cement. Apply to clean, dry surfaces.
Where Can I Find Replacement Tonneau Cover Fabric?
Many manufacturers sell fabric repair kits with vinyl and hardware. You can also use heavy duty ripstop nylon. Get marine-grade fabric for best weather resistance.
How Do I Prevent Rips When Installing New Hardware?
Go slowly, distribute tension evenly across the cover, and add rubber washers. Over-tightening bolts is a common cause of new tears.
Rips and holes around tonneau cover mounting bolts are common, but easy to fix. Just follow these steps:
- Inspect cover hardware regularly to spot issues early.
- Replace any broken bolts with quality stainless steel or aluminum.
- Clean and patch torn fabric using strong fabric adhesive.
- Reinstall the cover with rubber washers to prevent future rips.
- Seal patches well for maximum leak protection.
With proper care and maintenance, your truck bed cover should last for many years and remain tear-free around the mounting bolts. Taking action as soon as you notice minor rips will go a long way toward getting the longest life from your tonneau cover.