Properly lubricating the tracks of your retractable tonneau cover is important to keep it working smoothly. Friction along the tracks can make opening and closing the cover difficult and may lead to wear and damage over time. Lubricating the tracks helps reduce friction and ensures effortless operation of your tonneau cover. This comprehensive guide will provide you with steps and recommendations to properly lubricate retractable tonneau cover tracks.
What Type of Lubricant Should I Use on Tonneau Cover Tracks?
Choosing the right lubricant is the first key step for effective tonneau cover track lubrication. There are a few main options to consider:
White Lithium Grease
White lithium grease is a common recommendation for lubricating tonneau cover tracks. This type of grease has excellent water resistance and won’t wash away easily. It also has good adhesion properties to stay on the tracks. White lithium grease won’t attract dirt or debris that could gum up the tracks. Brands like LubriMatic make white lithium grease sprays perfect for tonneau cover lubrication.
Dry lubricants are also excellent choices for tonneau cover tracks. These lubricants leave a dry film that helps reduce friction. Dry lubes don’t attract dirt or debris. Popular options include DuPont’s Teflon dry lube or WD-40 dry PTFE lube. These dry sprays go on clear and dry fast without leaving a greasy residue.
Dust Resistant Dry Lubes
For tonneau covers used in dusty environments, dust resistant dry lubricants are ideal. They are formulated to prevent dust and grit from sticking to the lubricated surface. Check brands like Finish Line or Boeshield T-9 for quality dust resistant dry lubes.
How to Apply Lubricant to the Tonneau Cover Tracks
Once you’ve chosen the right lubricant, application is easy. Follow these steps:
Clean the Tracks Thoroughly
Before lubricating, use a mild soap and water or a tonneau cover specialty cleaner to scrub the tracks clean. This will remove any dirt, grease, or debris so the new lubricant can adhere properly.
Apply the Lubricant According to Instructions
Follow the product instructions to apply the lubricant evenly along the full length of both tracks. Avoid over-application. For sprays, hold the can 6-10 inches away and apply light, even coats.
Let the Lubricant Dry Completely
For wet lubricants like white lithium grease, allow time for it to dry thoroughly on the tracks before closing the cover. For dry lubes, follow the label directions on drying time before closing.
Open and Close the Cover
Once dry, open and close the tonneau cover multiple times to distribute the lubricant evenly. This helps ensure smooth operation.
Adjust if Needed
If the cover still doesn’t open and close effortlessly, adjust the tension or alignment to optimize lubricant distribution and performance.
When Should I Lubricate the Tonneau Cover Tracks?
To maintain optimal performance, lubricating the tracks regularly is key. Here are some tips on frequency:
Every 1-2 Months in Ideal Conditions
With moderate usage and weather, lubricating every 1-2 months is sufficient. This helps prevent friction buildup over time.
More Often in Extreme Weather
In very dusty, rainy, or snowy environments, lubricate at least every month. More frequent weather exposure can wash away lubricants.
When Cover Operation Gets Stiff
Noticeable difficulty opening/closing the cover is the main sign that it’s time to lubricate. Don’t wait for total failure. Lubricate as soon as operation gets stiff.
After Cleaning the Cover
Anytime you deep clean the tonneau cover, always lubricate the tracks afterward to restore smooth function. Cleaners can wash away existing lubricant.
Tips for Effective Tonneau Cover Track Lubrication
Follow these tips for getting the most out of lubricating your tonneau cover tracks:
Use Tonneau Cover-Specific Lubricants
General lubricants may not adhere well or withstand weathering. Use specialty tonneau cover lubricants.
Apply Light, Even Coats
Applying too much lubricant can attract debris. Use multiple light coats for even distribution.
Lubricate All Contact Points
Don’t just lubricate the tracks. Also use lubricant on hinges, clamps, and bearings for full protection.
Check Alignment Frequently
If the cover still sticks, ** improper alignment** could be preventing smooth travel along the tracks.
Clean Debris Frequently
Buildup of debris can impede the cover, so regularly wipe down tracks to prevent clogs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tonneau Cover Track Lubrication
What if my tonneau cover brand doesn’t recommend lubricating the tracks?
Some brands say lubrication isn’t needed, but many owners report smoother operation after lubricating. Use high-quality lubricants sparingly and test for optimal results.
Are there tonneau cover lubricants with UV protection?
Yes, some brands offer UV inhibitors. UV can degrade lubricants over time. Look for UV resistant formulas for longer durability outdoors.
Can I use WD-40 to lubricate tonneau cover tracks?
WD-40 isn’t the best choice. It’s lightweight, doesn’t last, and attracts debris. Use heavy-duty lubricants made specifically for tonneau cover tracks instead.
What if lubricating doesn’t improve stiff operation?
If the cover is still sticking after lubricating, the tracks may need replacement. Severely worn tracks likely need replacement, not just lubrication.
How do I keep the tonneau cover lubricated in winter?
Frequent lubrication is key for winter use. Some heated tonneau covers will help prevent snow/ice buildup. Parking in a garage also protects from elements.
Regularly lubricating the tracks is essential maintenance for retractable tonneau covers. Choosing quality lubricants made specifically for tonneau covers and applying them properly ensures smooth, trouble-free operation.
With the right lubricant and application frequency for your climate, you can rely on effortless lifting and closing of your cover. Follow the recommendations in this guide for optimal results and long-lasting performance. Proper lubrication helps you get the most out of your tonneau cover investment.