If you own a pickup truck with a soft foldable tonneau cover, you know how useful it is for securing cargo in the truck bed and protecting it from the elements. However, over time, the flexible bows that support the vinyl cover can wear out or break. When this happens, you’ll need to replace the damaged bows to keep your tonneau cover functioning properly. But where can you find the right replacement bows for your specific soft tonneau cover?
What Are Tonneau Cover Bows?
The bows of a soft folding tonneau cover are the flexible rods or strips of plastic that span the width of the truck bed. They provide structure and support for the vinyl cover material as it folds and accordions open and closed.
Without functioning bows, the soft tonneau cover would sag and not open or close properly. The bows are essential components! They are inserted into pockets or sleeves sewn into the underside of the vinyl cover.
On most soft tonneau covers, there are three to five bows evenly spaced to support the cover along its length. The bows are often made of plastic or fiberglass to provide flexibility and durability.
Why Might You Need Replacement Bows?
There are a few common reasons the bows on your soft folding tonneau cover may need to be replaced:
- Normal wear and tear – The repeated opening and closing of the cover can cause the bows to weaken and eventually snap or crack over time.
- Accidental damage – If heavy objects are dropped on the cover or it’s forced open in freezing temperatures, bows can bend or break.
- Missing or loose bow mounts – The plastic components that secure the bow ends in place can become damaged or lost. This allows the bow to slip out of place.
- Preventative maintenance – Some owners replace bows periodically as preventive maintenance to avoid cover failure down the road.
No matter the reason, as soon as you notice a bow is damaged or functioning improperly, it’s smart to replace it promptly to keep your cover in good working order.
What to Look for When Buying Replacement Bows
To buy the right replacement tonneau cover bows, you’ll need to match:
- Length – Measure bow length tip to tip. Standard sizes are 60″, 72″, and 78″.
- Diameter/width – Check the thickness or width of the existing bow. Common sizes are 3/8″, 1/2″, and 5/8″.
- Mounting style – Note how the bow ends connect to the cover and bed rail.
- Number of bows – Count the number of crossbows your cover has.
- Brand/model – Replacement bows are often specific to the cover brand and model.
- Material – Original bows are usually plastic or fiberglass. Match this if possible.
Having these details will help you find the exact replacement parts you need. Now let’s look at where you can purchase compatible soft tonneau cover bows.
Where to Buy Replacement Tonneau Cover Bows
1. Direct from the Manufacturer
One of the best options for sourcing replacement bows is to contact the manufacturer of your soft tonneau cover directly. Most offer replacement parts for their covers, including bow kits.
The main advantage of ordering directly through the manufacturer is you can be 100% sure you’re getting the right bows made specifically for your cover. Customer service can also help you identify the correct parts.
Some top manufacturers that sell replacement bows and parts include:
- Rough Country
- Tyger Auto
Check their websites or contact them to inquire about purchasing new bows for your cover. Having your make and model information will help.
2. Auto Parts Retailers
Various automotive and truck accessory retailers also offer replacement folding tonneau cover bow kits that can work for many common brands and models. Some good options to check include:
AutoZone stocks a selection of tonneau cover hardware kits with bows and attachment clips. They carry brands like Tyger Auto and Lund. You can check inventory online or at your local store.
B. O’Reilly Auto Parts
O’Reilly Auto Parts also sells bow kits for soft roll up and folding tonneau covers. They tend to have universal styles made to fit multiple applications. Brands carried include Advantage, Dee Zee, and Agri-Cover.
C. Pep Boys
You can find tonneau cover replacement bows at Pep Boys locations and online. They sell parts like bow mounting brackets and hardware kits to repair folding soft covers. Inventory varies by location.
D. Napa Auto Parts
For a wide selection of tonneau cover parts, check your local Napa Auto Parts store or NapaOnline.com. They carry bow components, clamps, hinges, and snaps for repairing folding covers.
When shopping at auto parts chains, be sure to confirm compatibility for your cover before purchasing. Bring your make, model, bow measurements, and any other specifics to match as closely as possible.
3. Online Retailers and Marketplaces
Several online retailers sell folding tonneau cover replacement bows that ship directly to you:
Amazon stocks a myriad of tonneau cover parts and hardware kits from various brands. Search for your specific cover model or “tonneau cover bows” to see options with two-day Prime shipping. Just be careful to match measurements and details.
eBay sellers offer individual tonneau cover replacement bows and full repair kits. Search by your cover brand and model or look for generic/universal styles. Check seller ratings and return policies.
With free shipping on most orders, etrailer.com has a great selection of tonneau cover hardware, including bows, clamps, hinges and more. Useful diagrams show exactly what parts fit different cover models.
CARiD.com is another online retailer with a big selection of DIY tonneau cover repair parts. Enter your truck specifics to see bow kits guaranteed to fit, shipped quickly to your door.
When ordering bows online, carefully compare photos, measurements, and product descriptions to your original bows to ensure fit. Contact sellers with any questions before purchasing.
4. Truck and Accessory Shops
Local shops that sell and install truck accessories are another option to find replacement tonneau cover bows. They may have universal parts in stock or can order brand-specific bow kits for you. Some shops to check are:
- 4 Wheel Parts
- Auto Customizing Shops
- Truck Caps and More
- Topper, Etc.
- Truxedo, Inc.
Visit or call shops like these to ask if they supply or can order new bows for your particular soft folding cover. An experienced salesperson can help identify the right replacement parts.
5. Salvage Yards
If you’re looking to save money, used and salvaged OEM tonneau cover bows can sometimes be found at auto wrecking and recycling yards. Search for “truck salvage yards” in your area to see if any have compatible bows recovered from parted-out pickups of the same make/model as yours.
The downside is availability is hit or miss. But you can potentially find great deals on used original bows. Inspect closely for damage before purchasing.
Installing New Tonneau Cover Bows
Once you’ve sourced compatible replacement bows, you’ll need to install them properly for the cover to function as intended. Here are some tips for quick, successful installation:
- Carefully remove the old damaged bow through its sleeve or pocket in the vinyl cover. You may need to detach the cover from the bed to access the bow ends easier.
- Inspect the cover fabric for any tears or separation in the bow sleeve/pocket and repair if needed.
- Clean bow channel of any dirt, debris, or old adhesive.
- Compare new bow length to old bow and cut to match if needed. File any rough edges.
- Insert ends of new bow into cover sleeve/pocket. Align and center along truck bed.
- Adhere the bow end caps into the bed rail mounts following provided directions. Allow adhesive to cure fully before using cover.
- Slowly open and close the cover, checking for smooth operation and proper tension. Adjust bow mounting if needed.
Take care when removing old bows to avoid further ripping or damaging the vinyl cover fabric. Having a partner help makes installation much easier.
Maintaining and Protecting Tonneau Cover Bows
To maximize the lifespan of your soft tonneau’s bows and avoid premature breakage, keep these maintenance tips in mind:
- Periodically inspect bows for cracks and damage. Catch problems early.
- Clean inside bow channels of debris and grime.
- Lube plastic bow end caps with silicone spray to prevent cracking and sticking.
- Open cover slowly and evenly to minimize bow strain. Don’t force it if sticking or frozen.
- Avoid overloading cover with very heavy cargo. Distribute weight evenly.
- Detach cover or secure bows if hauling oversized loads that could contact the cover.
- Check bow mounts regularly and re-tighten if needed.
With proper care and prompt replacement of damaged parts, your folding tonneau cover should provide years of reliable service. Keeping spare bows on hand allows you to quickly replace any that break without cover downtime.
Locating Tonneau Cover Replacement Bows – In Summary
If the vinyl bows supporting your soft roll-up tonneau truck bed cover become damaged or worn out, new replacement bows will be needed to get your cover functioning properly again.
Check with the original manufacturer using your cover’s brand and model details to find guaranteed compatible replacement bow kits. Local auto parts stores, online retailers, truck outfitters, and salvage yards are also potential sources for new or used bows.
Carefully match the length, width, style, material, and quantity of the original bows when sourcing replacements. Take care when removing old bows and installing new ones. With quality new bows installed properly, your soft tonneau cover will once again open and close as intended.