Vinyl tonneau covers are a popular way to protect the bed of pickup trucks. They are typically held in place by a series of snaps that attach the cover to the sides of the truck bed. However, over time these snaps can deteriorate and stop working properly. So what causes snap deterioration on vinyl tonneau covers?
Why Do Snaps Deteriorate on Vinyl Tonneau Covers?
Snaps are an integral part of holding vinyl tonneau covers in place, so when they deteriorate it can cause the cover to not fit snugly or even blow open while driving. There are several potential factors that can lead to snap deterioration on vinyl tonneau covers:
Is Cold Weather Causing My Snaps to Deteriorate?
One of the main causes of snap deterioration is exposure to cold weather. Vinyl contracts when temperatures drop, which puts stress on the snaps and can make the tonneau cover harder to close properly in freezing conditions. The constant contraction and expansion weakens the snaps over time. Storing the tonneau cover in a heated location during winter can help prevent cold weather damage.
Could Water Damage Be Deteriorating My Snaps?
Water intrusion inside the tonneau cover can definitely contribute to snap deterioration. If the seams or snaps are already rusty or corroded, water can more easily seep in and cause further damage to the vinyl and fasteners. It’s important to reseal any leaking seams or tailgate seals to prevent moisture from worsening the snaps’ condition.
Is Sun Exposure Causing My Snaps to Fail?
Prolonged exposure to UV rays from the sun can degrade vinyl tonneau covers, making them brittle and prone to cracking or tearing. This can put added stress on the snaps as the vinyl shrinks and contracts. Using UV-protectant sprays and limiting sun exposure by parking in shade can prolong the life of the vinyl and snaps.
Can Debris, Scratches, and Impact Damage Harm Snaps?
Debris like dirt, gravel, sticks, and branches can definitely scratch or puncture vinyl tonneau covers, as well as put dents in the material around the snaps. This added stress and abrasion can cause the snaps to eventually fail. Even a loose branch blowing across the highway can do damage over time. It’s important to inspect for scratches, bumps, tears, and debris buildup regularly.
Are Chemical Cleaners Contributing to Snap Damage?
Many household cleaners and chemical products like Armor All can actually degrade vinyl and rubber components. Only use tonneau cover-specific vinyl cleaning and conditioning products to prevent chemical damage. Avoid using dashboard cleaners, vinyl protectants with silicone, or harsh degreasers near snaps. Test any new cleaners on a small hidden area first to check for potential reactions.
How to Prevent Snap Deterioration on Vinyl Tonneau Covers
To maximize the lifespan of your vinyl tonneau cover snaps, here are some tips:
Should I Store My Tonneau Cover Indoors in Winter?
Absolutely! Keeping your vinyl tonneau cover out of the cold when not in use can prevent the contraction and expansion that deteriorates snaps. Store it in a garage, shed, or covered parking area instead of leaving it exposed on the truck.
Does Resealing Leaks Help Prevent Moisture Damage?
Yes, fixing any leaking seams, rail seals, or tailgate seals promptly can minimize water intrusion that can corrode snaps. Replace any missing or degraded seals around the perimeter. Use tonneau cover sealants or adhesives to reseal the vinyl.
Will UV Protectants Shield My Cover from Sun Damage?
UV-resistant vinyl protectants and conditioners help shield tonneau cover vinyl from sun damage and premature brittleness. Use them regularly, especially during summer months, to protect the vinyl’s pliability and prevent added stress on the snaps. Park in the shade when possible too.
Should I Inspect for Damage Frequently?
It’s smart to do frequent inspections of the tonneau cover’s surface for scratches, impact marks, tears near snaps, and any debris buildup or protrusions that could be putting pressure on the snaps. Address any issues promptly to avoid further deterioration.
What Cleaning Products are Safe for Vinyl Tonneau Covers?
Avoid caustic degreasers and stick to tonneau cover-specific vinyl cleaning solutions. Some DIY options are mild soap and water, vinegar, or bleach-free sprays. Test any new cleaners first before using them across the whole cover. Proper cleaning protects vinyl and snaps.
Fixing Deteriorated Snaps on Vinyl Tonneau Covers
If snaps on your vinyl tonneau cover have already deteriorated or failed, here are some repair options:
Can I Replace Individual Failed Snaps?
If only a few snaps have broken, you can often order replacement snaps and handsets from the tonneau cover manufacturer and install them individually. This is a cost-effective fix for minor snap damage.
Are Vinyl Repair Kits Effective?
For small vinyl tears around snaps or failing seams, vinyl repair kits can extend the life of a tonneau. Carefully follow the product directions to patch holes, reseal seams, and strengthen the vinyl around any compromised snaps.
When is Full Vinyl Replacement Recommended?
If large sections of vinyl are damaged, snaps are failing across the cover, or tears have significantly widened, then replacing the entire vinyl cover may be the best long-term solution. This is pricier but results in a fully functional tonneau cover.
Can I Upgrade to a Hard Tonneau Cover?
For recurring issues with snaps and vinyl damage, upgrading to a hard folding, retractable, or hinged tonneau cover is an option. The aluminum, fiberglass, or ABS plastic construction is more durable than vinyl for hauling cargo.
Maintain Your Vinyl Tonneau Cover
By using quality vinyl cleaners and protectants, checking frequently for damage, fixing leaks promptly, and avoiding exposure to harsh weather or chemicals, you can maximize the longevity of vinyl tonneau covers and their attachment snaps. Address any deteriorated snaps right away with snap replacements or vinyl repairs as needed. With proper care, your vinyl tonneau cover should last for years before snaps begin to fail.