A soft tonneau cover is a popular truck bed cover that is made from vinyl, canvas, or other fabric materials. It uses snaps, Velcro, or zippers to attach to the sides of the truck bed to keep cargo protected. However, a common problem with soft tonneau covers is snaps that pop open unexpectedly while driving. This can allow the cover to billow open, exposing cargo to the elements and potentially damaging the cover. So what causes the snaps on soft tonneau covers to pop open?
Why Do Snaps Pop Open on Soft Tonneau Covers?
Is Poor Installation To Blame For Snaps Popping Open?
The most common reason snaps pop open on soft tonneau covers is incorrect installation. If the cover is not properly aligned and tightened to the truck bed, it can allow snaps to detach while driving.
How Does Improper Installation Cause Snaps To Fail?
During installation, the cover must be centered and pulled tight over the bed before snapping it down. This ensures the fabric has proper tension and the snaps are aligned correctly. If the cover is installed when misaligned or too loose, the snaps will not engage the bed rails fully. The constant vibration and motion while driving will cause loose snaps to disengage.
How Can You Prevent This During Installation?
Be sure to follow all directions when installing a soft tonneau cover. Take time positioning the cover and get a helper to pull it tight while you snap it into place. Go over all snaps pressing down firmly to guarantee proper engagement. Doing the job right the first time prevents headaches later down the road.
Can Worn Out Snap Fasteners Be To Blame?
Another common culprit for snaps popping open is when the snap fasteners themselves become worn out or damaged. The snaps on soft tonneau covers endure a lot of opening and closing over their lifetime. This can eventually lead to the snaps loosening and losing their gripping power.
How Do The Snaps Become Loose Or Damaged Over Time?
Frequent use weakens the spring action of the snaps, allowing them to open with less pressure. Exposure to sun and weather can also damage the snap fasteners, corroding the metal or causing the plastic components to become brittle and crack. Poor quality snaps may fail prematurely as well.
When Should You Replace Loose Or Broken Snaps?
It’s a good idea to periodically inspect the snaps on your soft tonneau cover and replace any that appear worn or damaged. If you notice snaps staying closed with less tension or openings on their own, replacement is needed. Upgrading to higher quality stainless steel snaps may also help boost longevity.
Could Improper Folding Be Putting Stress On The Snaps?
Folding a soft roll-up tonneau cover the wrong way can definitely lead to undue strain on the snaps. When the cover is folded, it should be rolled from front to back evenly to avoid twisting or binding.
How Does Folding Wrong Damage The Snaps?
If the cover is folded unevenly, folded in reverse, or folded when cargo is still loaded in the truck bed, it can put a lot of diagonal stress on the snaps. This shear force can cause the snaps to fracture or pop open while driving.
What Is The Proper Way To Fold A Soft Tonneau?
Always empty the truck bed before folding up a soft tonneau cover. Release any tension knobs or clamps before rolling the cover. Fold the cover from front to back using smooth, even motions to prevent off-axis twisting. Never fold the rear section over the front panel or vice versa.
Could Wind Be The Culprit For Snaps Coming Undone?
Sudden blasts of wind can definitely be strong enough to pop open the snaps on a soft tonneau cover. The tonneau creates a “sail” effect while driving at highway speeds. Crosswinds or air buffeting from other vehicles can push up under the cover with enough force to break the snaps’ hold.
How Does Wind Impact The Snaps On Tonneau Covers?
The snaps anchor the fabric cover around the bed rails and tailgate. Powerful gusts exert a lifting force distributed across the surface area of the tonneau. This lifting pressure can quickly overload the retention strength of the snaps.
How Can You Prevent Wind Damage To The Snaps?
Keeping snaps in good condition and ensuring proper installation helps minimize wind impacts. Driving at slower speeds during windy conditions also reduces wind force on the tonneau. You can try applying seam sealer to block airflow gaps along the rails and improve wind resistance as well.
How To Diagnose and Resolve Snaps Popping Open
Inspect Snaps and Ensure Proper Installation
If you start noticing the snaps popping open on your soft tonneau while driving, the first step is a thorough inspection. Check for loose or damaged snaps and replace any in poor condition. Make sure the cover is centered on the bed and pulled taut before reinstalling.
Add Weather Stripping For Better Holding Power
Adding weather stripping foam tape around the bed rails helps improve your soft tonneau’s wind resistance and snap retention. The foam compression creates a tighter seal to reduce prying wind force and keep the snaps engaged. Upgrade to heavy duty stainless steel snaps if needed.
Adjust Latches To Tighten The Fabric
Many soft roll-up covers have tension adjusters on the rear latches or side rails. Turning these can draw the fabric tighter to provide a good seal. Just don’t over-tighten as this can damage the material over time. Make small adjustments until snaps remain secure.
Check For Proper Maintenance
Be sure to keep your soft tonneau cover clean and conditioned to help prevent deterioration of the fabric or snaps. Use mild soap and water rather than harsh chemicals. Apply vinyl protectant to guard against UV damage. Keeping your tonneau cover maintained prevents premature snap failure.
Consider Adding Securing Straps For Extra Strength
For heavy duty use or when driving in windy regions, you can add extra securing straps over your soft tonneau cover for more snap protection. These straps distribute lifting force and keep the cover tight to the bed, preventing the snaps from disengaging while driving.
Switch To A Hard Tonneau Cover For More Security
If snaps repeatedly pop open on a soft tonneau despite proper installation and maintenance, it may be time to upgrade to a hard folding tonneau or retractable tonneau. These solid covers are virtually windproof when closed and won’t separate from the bed. Just be sure to seal any cracks that could admit prying winds.
FAQs: Snaps Popping Open on Soft Tonneau Covers
How do I get the snaps aligned correctly when installing a soft tonneau?
- Center the cover on the bed before snapping down
- Use a helper to pull the cover taut
- Press along the rails to engage all snaps fully
- Align the cover seam with the tailgate before snapping
What causes soft tonneau cover snaps to become loose over time?
- Frequent opening and closing of the snaps weakens the spring tension
- Exposure to sun, rain, and other elements can degrade the snaps
- Poor quality snaps may deteriorate faster than heavy duty ones
Should I use any lubrication or corrosion protection on the snaps?
- Avoid using grease or oils as this attracts dust and dirt
- A very light application of silicone spray can help maintain the snaps
- Use corrosion inhibiting sprays made specifically for snaps and fasteners
How often should I check the condition of the snaps?
- It’s good practice to inspect the snaps at least 2-3 times per year
- Check for loose fit, cracked plastic, bent prongs, and corrosion
- Replace any damaged snaps right away to maintain proper hold
Can I adjust soft tonneau tension if my snaps keep popping open?
- Many covers have tension cables or latches to fine tune the tautness
- Adjust in small increments, over-tightening can damage the fabric
- Added tension provides a tighter seal to keep snaps secured
In summary, soft tonneau covers offer the benefits of easy folding and low cost. But their snaps must be maintained and installed correctly to prevent unwanted popping open while driving. Follow the tips above to keep cargo protected and eliminate frustration from loose snaps on your soft roll-up or snap-style tonneau cover. With proper care, your tonneau snaps will hold tight for miles to come.