So you’ve discovered that the clamps on your tonneau cover need replacing. Finding the right replacement clamps can be a challenge if you don’t know where to look. Never fear – this handy guide will walk you through all the best places online and in stores to find top-quality, long-lasting clamps tailored precisely for your truck bed cover. Read on to get savvy shopping tips and discover the many clamp options available to make your tonneau better than new.
Should I Try to Fix My Current Clamps First?
Before assuming you need brand new clamps, inspect your existing ones to see if repair is possible. Here are some quick DIY clamp fixes to attempt:
Are the Clamps Just Loose?
- Tighten the screw or bolt to refasten the clamp. You may need a Phillips head or hex screwdriver.
Is the Clamp Plastic Cracked?
- Try using waterproof epoxy or plastic bonding glue to seal cracks and strengthen the clamp. Clamp the pieces together while glue sets.
Is the Clamp Metal Rusted or Corroded?
- Lightly sand damaged areas with fine grit sandpaper and repaint with a rust-preventing spray paint.
Is Rubber Coating on Clamp Pads Worn Out?
- Use truck bed liner spray to add fresh rubberized coating to pad gripping surfaces.
While simple fixes like these may extend the life of your current clamps, replacement is still likely needed soon if they are heavily damaged. Shopping for new clamps gives you the chance to upgrade to better quality as well!
Should I Stick With the Same Brand Clamps My Tonneau Cover Came With?
Tonneau cover manufacturers often design custom clamps to perfectly fit their covers. So staying with the same brand ensures the best compatibility and performance. However, you don’t HAVE to match clamp brands to tonneau brands if you find better options. Here are pros and cons of each approach:
Matching Brand Clamps
- Designed to seamlessly work with your specific cover
- May come with updated features or innovations
- Manufacturer warranty may apply
- Can buy full clamp sets or single replacements
- Often more expensive than other brands
- Limited to models made by your tonneau company
Mixing Brand Clamps
- Much wider selection of clamp types
- Can choose based on durability, cost, style
- Often cheaper than branded clamps
- No guarantee of perfect fit
- May void tonneau warranty
- Clamp warranty unlikely from 3rd party
So weigh your needs – price vs performance – as well as clamp compatibility risks before deciding which brand strategy works best for you and your truck.
What Are the Best Online Sources for Tonneau Clamp Shopping?
Searching online opens up a vast world of tonneau clamp possibilities. Here are the top e-commerce sites to browse for awesome deals on every clamp style.
With its mammoth selection and user reviews, Amazon is a prime choice for clamp shopping. Search using your tonneau brand name and model or generic terms like “truck bed cover clamps”. Prime members get quick free shipping.
This mega retailer sells both name brand and off-brand clamps online for low prices. Check store inventory also. Free shipping on orders over $35.
This specialty auto parts site has an extensive clamp category. Helpful product videos too. Enjoy free shipping on most clamp orders.
Truck owners love this aftermarket parts source. Shop clamps by compatibility or type. Expect discounted prices and fast delivery.
For Rugged Liner tonneau owners, go straight to the source for custom-fit OEM clamps backed by a 5-year warranty.
Massive inventory of clamps for all brands along with handy product diagrams. Frequent sales and promos available.
With all these e-tailers at your fingertips, finding reasonably priced clamps tailored to your cover is a breeze.
Which Local Stores Might Stock Replacement Clamps?
Sometimes you need clamps pronto or prefer to inspect before you buy. Hardware and auto parts stores should have a selection, but call ahead to verify availability for your truck.
This national chain carries tons of truck accessories like tonneau clamps. Stores can special order if not in stock.
O’Reilly Auto Parts
Another extensive auto parts retailer to check for clamps. Helpful staff can assist you.
For a wide variety of hardware needs, Ace can’t be beat. Ask about any specialty clamps kept in their stockroom.
Napa Auto Parts
Known for expert advice and quality brands, Napa is ideal for hard-to-find clamps. Stores independently owned.
Truck & Auto Accessory Stores
Many local shops focus on truck upgrades like tonneaus. Technicians can custom fit if needed.
Don’t forget to check hardware or home improvement stores like Lowes and Home Depot as well. With some smart sleuthing, local shops can win for convenience and customer service.
Which Clamp Design Should I Choose for a Secure, Tight Hold?
With the right design, your shiny new clamps will keep your tonneau cover snug and crease-free for years. Consider these common clamp types to select the best system for your truck.
These versatile L-shaped clamps grip the cover along its side rail with sturdy metal or plastic brackets. Pros:
- Tight hold and easy releasing
- Allow cover positioning along rail
- Low profile top surface
Cam Lock Clamps
Cam levers press down and lock into place on the side rail for quick securing. Pros:
- Super easy open/close
- Low profile and seamless look
- Metal lasts longer than plastic
Simplest option – plastic clamps snap closed over the rail. Pros:
- Ultra budget-friendly
- Easy installation
Spring Loaded Clamps
Coiled springs running through the clamp body keep constant tension. Pros:
- Consistent tight closure
- Accommodate rail thickness variations
- Sturdy steel body
Think about your budget, how often you access your bed, and the thickness of your side rails to pick the ideal clamp type.
How Can I Get a Perfect Fit with Universal Clamps or Clamp Kits?
For an off-brand clamp solution, opt for adjustable universal clamps or full rail kits. Here’s how to get a tailored fit:
Look for clamps with movable pads/brackets to custom fit your side rail:
- Loosen bolts or cam levers and slide pads inward or outward for ideal clamping width
- Use included spacer shims if rail is thinner than clampOpening
- Make sure pad surfaces align evenly on rail top and bottom
Complete Clamp Rail Kits
These include universal clamps plus custom rail cut to size:
- Measure the length along the sides and end of your truck bed
- Order kit with rails matching your dimensions
- Clamps slide along rails for flexible positioning
- Add seal tape for extra protection against leaks
With smart measuring and adjustable parts, universal products can attach securely to most truck beds for a fraction of branded clamp costs.
What Special Features Should I Look for in Superior Tonneau Clamps?
You depend on your clamps daily to keep cargo protected and your truck looking sharp. Seek clamps with these extras that go the extra mile:
- Thick steel or high-grade aluminum for years of use
- Weatherproof construction avoids rust and corrosion
- Reinforced stress points prevent cracking
Padding and Protection
- Soft ballistic nylon or rubberized pads prevent rail damage
- Avoid marring your truck bed finish
Handy Design Elements
- Side release tabs to open clamps without tools
- Pivoting easy-grip levers for smooth opening/closing
- Low profile/streamlined shape to maintain cover aesthetics
- Built-in locks to deter tampering and theft
- Combination or keyed models available
- Must unlock clamps to open cover
- Clamp rail covers to conceal clamps for sleek appearance
- Look for at least a 1-year material and workmanship warranty
- Up to 5 years from reputable brands
- Provides free replacements for defective clamps
The more fully-featured your clamps, the better they’ll perform while protecting your investment in that pricy tonneau cover.
Can I Find American-Made Clamps for Better Quality?
Many clamps are manufactured overseas to save costs, while some quality brands proudly produce their hardware in America for greater reliability. Seek out these labels indicating US construction:
Made in USA
By law, this label means “all or virtually all” of the product was made in America. No foreign parts or assembly. Support American jobs and higher quality!
Assembled in USA
Parts are sourced worldwide, but the product’s “principal assembly” takes place in an American factory. Still better than fully foreign-made.
Buying American-crafted clamps may raise your budget slightly, but the exceptional durability and performance justify a little extra spend. Your tonneau cover will benefit from their strength and precision engineering.
What’s the Best Way to Install My New Clamps for a Flawless Fit?
Once you’ve got your new clamps, proper installation is key to keeping your cover aligned and secure. Follow these pro tips:
- Clean side rails thoroughly so clamps seat tightly with no debris
- Follow manufacturer instructions for any clamp prep or adjustments
- Position clamps evenly spaced along rails for consistent grip
- Tighten clamps carefully a little at a time to avoid stripping bolts
- Check that cover sits flat with no warping once clamps are tightened
- Finally, test opening/closing the cover to ensure smooth operation
Take your time, double check your work, and don’t overtighten. With patience and care, your new clamps will attach perfectly to keep your cover functionality and appearance in tip-top shape.
Let’s Hit the Road: My Tonneau Cover Has Fresh New Clamps!
Like any other truck parts, tonneau clamps take a beating and wear out over time. But replacing them restores your cover’s fit and gives you peace of mind that your cargo won’t suddenly come loose. Hopefully this clamp shopping guide steers you toward the ideal models and sources to meet your needs and budget. Soon you’ll be driving on down the road with your cover secured as if new – and looking good doing it!