A vinyl tonneau cover is a popular truck bed cover that protects cargo and provides a finished look. Tonneau covers attach to the truck bed rails using various fastening methods like clamps, snaps, rails, and velcro. Many truck owners wonder if snaps can be used to attach accessories to a vinyl tonneau cover.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Snaps On A Vinyl Tonneau Cover?
Using snaps on a vinyl tonneau cover offers several benefits:
Provide A Tight And Secure Fit
Snaps are often used to fasten the tonneau cover to the truck bed rails, ensuring that the cover stays in place while driving. The snaps hold the cover tightly and securely to the bed without loosening over time. This prevents the cover from flapping or making noise at highway speeds.
Easy To Open And Close
Snaps provide a convenient and easy way to open and close the tonneau cover when accessing the truck bed. You simply unsnap the fasteners to roll or fold up the cover, then snap it back in place when finished. The snaps allow quick and simple access compared to zippers or velcro.
Versatile Attachment Method
In addition to securing the cover itself, snaps can be used to attach accessories to the vinyl tonneau cover. Things like cargo nets, dividers, bike racks, and other accessories can be mounted using snaps. This versatility makes snaps a popular option.
Durable And Long Lasting
High quality snaps are designed to endure frequent opening and closing without deteriorating. The constant compression and release over years of use will not cause good snaps to break or fail. So they are a durable fastening method for the tonneau cover and accessories.
What Should You Consider When Using Snaps On A Vinyl Tonneau?
While using snaps on a vinyl tonneau cover has benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Proper Placement And Crimping
When installing snaps, their placement needs to be marked and crimped correctly for a tight fit. Rushing the process can lead to loose snaps that prematurely fail. Taking your time ensures a quality installation.
Snug Fit On Both Sides
For reliable fastening, the snaps must be tight and secure on both sides of the vinyl cover. A loose snap on one side defeats the purpose and could cause flapping or accessory failure.
Snap Covers Can Become “Old School”
Snap tonneau covers are considered the “old school” style compared to newer options like velcro covers. So while snaps work fine, some truck owners view velcro or clamping systems as more modern.
Accessories Must Have Snaps Too
Any accessories also need matching snaps installed to work with the snaps on the cover. Not all accessories come snap-ready, so you may have to add your own.
Snaps Can Eventually Deteriorate
Over many years of harsh weather and use, even robust snaps will eventually deteriorate and fail. They last longer than many tonneau fasteners but are not invincible. Plan to replace snaps as needed.
What Accessories Can You Attach To A Vinyl Tonneau Cover With Snaps?
There are many useful accessories that attach to a vinyl tonneau cover using snaps:
Snaps allow cargo nets to be installed. Nets secure loose items like groceries and sports gear during transport. The snaps keep the nets firmly in position.
Dividers that section off part of the truck bed snap into place. These dividers allow you to create separate cargo areas and prevent items from shifting.
Specialized bike, ski, and watercraft racks attach to the tonneau cover with snaps. The racks securely hold your gear on top of the cover during transport.
Roll-Up Side Panels
You can buy snap-on side panels that roll up to enclose the sides of the truck bed for extra protection. Easy snap installation.
Truck bed tents are available that attach by snapping into the tonneau cover. This allows you to camp in the bed with the added security and shelter of the tent.
Other Accessory Bars/Racks
Other cargo racks, bars, lumber racks, and mounts can be installed using snaps on the vinyl cover as solid attachment points.
Tips For Using Snaps Successfully On A Vinyl Tonneau Cover
Follow these tips when utilizing snaps to get the best results:
- Use heavy duty snaps designed for vinyl and outdoor use. Marine grade stainless steel snaps are a good choice.
- Make sure to precisely mark snap locations before crimping to get a tight, centered fit.
- Use snap pliers to crimp both the stud and socket tightly for a lasting grip. Avoid using improvised tools.
- Periodically check snaps for sagging or loosening over time. Tighten or replace as needed.
- Lubricate snaps occasionally with silicone spray to keep them operating smoothly during opening/closing.
- Reduce snap strain by limiting heavy cargo loads. Overloading the cover stresses the snaps.
- Follow your particular tonneau cover manufacturer’s instructions for proper snap spacing and installation.
- Some tonneau brands offer custom snap-on accessory kits designed for their covers. Use these for ideal compatibility.
Are There Any Downsides To Using Snaps?
Snaps are generally reliable and versatile for vinyl tonneau covers, but a few potential downsides exist:
- Constant opening/closing can eventually degrade snap quality and lead to failure after years of heavy use.
- Plastic socket snaps can become brittle and crack over time, especially in cold climates. Stainless sockets are preferred.
- If not crimped tightly, snaps may slowly loosen up and cause cover flapping or accessory detachment.
- Snaps provide security against casual theft but can be quickly unfastened by determined thieves if unlocked.
- Replacing broken snaps requires some DIY skill or trips to the repair shop if you’re not comfortable crimping new ones.
- Snap fasteners lack the infinite adjustability of systems like velcro and clamps for fine tuning cover tightness and accessory position.
Is Using Snaps The Best Option For Attaching Accessories?
While snaps are very effective for attaching accessories, other systems like velcro and clamps also have pros and cons:
- Velcro allows flexible placement of accessories in the perfect spot, rather than set snap positions.
- It adheres accessories tightly but does not provide the satisfying click and connection of snaps.
- Over time, velcro can collect debris and lose its sticking power, requiring replacement.
- Clamp-on accessories provide adjustable, tool-free attachment without permanent modification.
- Clamps grip securely but may mark up the surface of the vinyl cover over time.
- Clamping strength can weaken if not periodically re-tightened.
Snaps provide a time-tested, secure method for attaching accessories to a vinyl tonneau cover. When properly installed, snaps hold accessories firmly in position and stand up well to repeated use. They also allow quick access to the truck bed when unfastened. Consider potential pros and cons, and use robust snap hardware crimped tightly for best results. Compare to alternative attachment systems like velcro and clamps to select the ideal solution for your needs. With a quality installation, snaps are a smart way to accessorize your vinyl tonneau cover.