A roll-up tonneau cover can be a great way to protect the truck bed and cargo while maintaining easy access. However, they are not without some potential drawbacks – one of which is noise while driving. If your roll-up tonneau is making excessive noise, it can be annoying and distracting on the road. But what causes the noise and how can you fix it?
What Causes Noise From A Roll-Up Tonneau Cover?
There are several potential culprits when it comes to a noisy roll-up tonneau cover:
One of the most common reasons for a noisy cover is incorrect installation. If the tonneau cover is the wrong size, not properly aligned, installed too loosely, or doesn’t have a tight fit – it can shake, flap, and create noise while driving. Taking the time to ensure proper installation and fit is key to reducing noise.
Loose or Worn Fasteners
Many roll-up covers utilize snaps, bows, Velcro, or other fasteners to keep the vinyl cover tight and secured. If these fasteners are loose, improperly tightened, or worn out – the cover can flap and make noise. Inspect the fasteners and ensure they are properly tightened and in good condition.
Sagging or Shifted Cover
Over time, the vinyl cover can start to sag or shift out of position. This allows the material to flap and move – creating noise at highway speeds. Re-aligning and re-tensioning the cover can often solve noise from sagging.
Damaged Seals or Gaskets
Seals and gaskets along the tailgate, side rails, and other mounting points help prevent wind from entering the bed. Cracked, ripped, or missing seals can allow excessive wind to hit the underside of the cover – resulting in flapping and noise.
Poor Cover Tension
Getting the right tightness on a roll-up cover is key. Too loose and it will flap around, too tight and it can over-stress the material. Adjusting the bows and ensuring proper tension for your specific cover can help minimize wind noise.
Excessive Wind Noise
Some noise from wind is expected with a soft roll-up cover. But poor cover or rail alignment, loose panels, and damage can allow air to flow in – creating more wind noise than desired. Addressing these issues can help reduce wind noise.
Any tools, gear, or cargo that is loose in the truck bed can vibrate and rattle while driving – even with a cover installed. Securing all cargo so it does not move while driving will prevent noise from loose objects.
How To Reduce Noise From A Roll-Up Tonneau
If your cover is excessively loud on the road, try these tips to quiet it down:
Inspect The Installation
Go over the entire cover installation and look for any parts that are loose, damaged, or improperly installed. Pay special attention to the clamps, bows, seals, and alignment. Make any necessary adjustments.
Adjust The Tension
Ensure the cover has the proper tightness. Make small adjustments to the bow positions if needed so the cover has tension without being over-tightened.
Check The Fasteners
Examine all snaps, Velcro strips, and other fasteners that hold the cover in place. Tighten or replace any that are loose, worn, or damaged.
Clean The Cover
Give the cover a thorough cleaning to remove any dust, grime, or debris. This prevents anything from interfering with the seals or fasteners.
Lubricate The Hinges
Apply lubricant to the cover’s hinges and pivot points to prevent binding and ensure smooth operation.
Make sure no tools, gear, or other items in the truck bed can shift and rattle while driving.
If cover seals or gaskets are torn, cracked, or missing – get replacements installed to minimize wind noise.
Adding weatherstrip adhesive along the rails and tailgate can help the cover form a tighter seal.
Add Protectant Spray
Applying vinyl protectant spray can help keep the material conditioned, flexible, and quiet.
Align The Rail Clamps
Check that the clamps mounting the rails to the truck bed are properly aligned to prevent rail movement.
Upgrade The Latches
If latches or fasteners are inadequate, consider upgrading to higher strength parts to keep the cover tighter.
Add Wind Deflectors
Wind deflectors installed on the truck cab can direct air flow over the tonneau and reduce cover wind noise.
Preventing Future Noise Issues
To help ensure your roll-up tonneau provides years of quiet performance, keep these tips in mind:
Perform Regular Maintenance
Take time at least twice a year to thoroughly inspect, adjust, lubricate, and clean your cover. This prevents issues that can cause noise.
Keep It Covered
Using a tonneau cover or tarp to cover the roll-up when not in use will protect it from UV rays, debris damage, cracking, and more.
Handle With Care
Avoid dragging the cover over the rails when installing, closing it on cargo, or letting heavy objects fall on it to prevent damage.
Use Proper Cleaning Methods
Clean the vinyl gently with mild soap and water. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasives that can degrade the material.
Apply Protectant Sprays
Use vinyl protectant sprays to keep the cover conditioned against cracking, fading, and drying out.
Park In The Shade
When possible, park the truck in covered areas to shield the tonneau from excessive sun exposure and damage over time.
Keep Cargo From Shifting
Always secure cargo that could shift and rattle while driving. Even small items can create annoying noise.
Check For Recalls or TSBs
If noise issues persist, check for any technical service bulletins or recalls related to your specific cover. The manufacturer may recommend fixes.
When To Consider Replacing The Cover
If you’ve tried adjusting, lubricating, cleaning, and repairing your roll-up cover but it still makes excessive noise, it may be time for a new one. Some signs your cover is too far gone:
The Material Is Cracked or Ripped
Punctures, rips, cracks, and holes in the vinyl allow excessive wind noise. At this point, repairs may cost more than a new cover.
ItDoes Not Stay Tight
If the cover has extreme sagging, loosening, or shifting that makes it impossible to tighten correctly, replacement may be needed.
The Fasteners Are All Damaged
Snaps, bows, and closures that are all broken or worn out typically indicate an older cover that needs replacement.
It Flaps Excessively At All Speeds
A cover that violently flaps up and down at any speed, despite adjustments, likely needs replacement.
The Frame Is Bent or Broken
Damage to the rails, clamps, or support bars can prevent proper cover fit. Trying to repair may not be worth it.
While a new quality roll-up cover is an investment, the noise reduction and hassle-free operation will be worthwhile if your current cover is too far gone.
FAQs About Noisy Roll-Up Tonneau Covers
Will lubricating the roll-up cover help reduce noise?
Yes, applying lubricant to the hinges and rollers can prevent binding and squeaking that contributes to noise. Use a lubricant specifically for tonneau covers.
Should I take off the roll-up cover to diagnose the noise?
Sometimes, yes – removing the cover may help you pinpoint where rattling is coming from. Just be sure to re-install it correctly when done.
Can I just add more Velcro to stop the noise on my cover?
Adding more Velcro may help keep a loose cover tight in some cases. But make sure the misalignment or damage isn’t a bigger issue first.
Will replacing the rails and clamps reduce noise?
If these mounting components are bent or installed improperly, replacing them can allow proper cover fit and less noise.
Should I try using adhesive weather stripping to reduce wind noise?
Weather stripping applied correctly along the tailgate and rails can help reduce wind noise from gaps.
Can I adjust the tightness on my cover myself?
On most covers you can adjust the bows, latches, and tension knobs yourself to achieve the ideal tightness to prevent noise.
Will a new cover instantly be quieter than my old one?
Usually, yes – a new cover with proper installation and undamaged components will see a significant noise decrease over an older cover.
Will switching to a retractable cover guarantee less noise?
Not necessarily – retractable covers can still make noise if damaged or poorly installed. But they often have less wind noise when in good shape.
Should I avoid automatic car washes with a roll-up cover?
Yes, avoid automated car washes as the brushes can damage the cover. Use touchless washes or hand washing instead.
In summary, excessive roll-up tonneau cover noise most often stems from installation errors, loose or worn components, cover damage, or cargo movement. By methodically inspecting the cover, making adjustments, replacing worn parts, properly securing cargo, and applying lubricants or weather stripping – you can usually achieve noticeable noise reduction in most cases and restore peaceful driving. But if the cover is too far gone, replacement may be the best option for a long-lasting quiet ride.