A tonneau cover provides many benefits for your pickup truck, including increased security, protection from weather, and improved gas mileage. Soft roll-up vinyl tonneau covers are a popular choice thanks to their convenience and affordability. But like any vinyl product exposed to the elements, tonneau covers can eventually suffer rips, tears or holes. Thankfully, you can repair minor damage to your soft vinyl tonneau cover using a vinyl repair kit, restoring it to like-new condition.
What Should You Look For In A Tonneau Cover Repair Kit?
When shopping for a tonneau cover patch kit, you’ll want one specifically designed for vinyl repair. Key features to look for include:
The patch should have a strong adhesive backing so it bonds tightly to the vinyl cover surface. The best repair kits use an adhesive that creates a permanent bond.
Look for repair patches made of UV-resistant materials so they don’t degrade or peel away after prolonged sun exposure.
Match the color of your tonneau cover as closely as possible for the most seamless, least noticeable repair. Many kits offer multiple color options.
The best vinyl repair kits include step-by-step directions to guide you through the repair process. Helpful tips and tricks will ensure optimal results.
Where Can You Buy Tonneau Cover Repair Kits?
You can find vinyl repair kits for tonneau covers from a variety of sources:
Check your local auto parts stores, like AutoZone, Pep Boys or O’Reilly Auto Parts. They typically stock basic vinyl/leather repair kits for around $10-15. These generic kits will work but may not blend as seamlessly as tonneau-specific patches.
Stores catering to outdoor activities and adventures often carry gear repair products, like vinyl patches. Try REI, L.L.Bean or Backcountry.com for options starting around $5.
Search Amazon, eBay and other online retailers for an expansive selection of tonneau cover repair kits in various shapes, sizes, colors and prices. Products ship directly to your door.
Tonneau Cover Manufacturers
Check the website or contact the manufacturer of your particular soft roll-up tonneau cover. Many offer replacement vinyl panels or custom repair kits designed specifically for their products.
Specialty Auto Accessory Stores
Retailers who focus on truck and off-road accessories, like 4 Wheel Parts, will have the best selection designed explicitly for tonneau covers. Expect to pay $15-30 for a high-quality kit.
What Are The Best Tonneau Cover Repair Kits?
With many repair kit options available, here are some top-rated products to consider:
TEAR-AID Vinyl Repair Patch Kit
- Comes with 8 pre-cut vinyl patches in black plus adhesive glue
- UV-resistant and waterproof patches
- Available in colors like tan, grey and white
- Around $10 on Amazon
Stoner TARVA90 Vinyl & Leather Repair Kit
- Contains heat-activated adhesive patches in multiple colors
- Can bond to vinyl, leather, plastic, rubber, and more
- Includes mesh fabric for reinforcing repairs
- Under $10 at Walmart or Amazon
Gear Aid Tenacious Tape Repair Kit
- Transparent film works on vinyl, tents, tarps, and fabrics
- Ultra-strong adhesive is weatherproof and waterproof
- Roll can be cut into customized patch sizes
- About $10 at sporting goods stores
Kits for Specific Tonneau Cover Brands
- Access Roll-Up Cover Repair Kit by Agri-Cover for around $40
- Pace Edwards Patch Kits matched to tonneau models for $20+
How Do You Repair A Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Cover?
Fixing small cuts or holes in your vinyl tonneau cover is a simple process with the right materials:
Clean the Area
Use isopropyl alcohol to thoroughly clean the repair area so the adhesive patch sticks. Let dry fully.
Cut the Patch
Trace the damage and cut the patch to a slightly larger size. Round the corners to prevent peeling.
Use glue from the kit or heat-activate the back of the patch as directed. Carefully apply to the underside of the vinyl cover.
Seal the Patch
Press down firmly on the patch for 30-60 seconds to create a tight, permanent seal. Smooth edges to prevent lifting.
Use a roller, seam sealer tool or small clamp to apply steady pressure overnight for maximum hold.
Coat the patch with additional vinyl sealant or waterproofing spray once fully bonded to protect from sun and rain.
With a few simple steps and the right vinyl repair kit, you can fix rips or holes in your soft roll-up tonneau cover and prolong its life. Careful installation will make the repair blend right in. Investing in a quality kit designed specifically for tonneau covers will provide the best results over generic patches.
What Are The Different Types of Tonneau Covers?
When shopping for a tonneau cover, you’ll find there are a few major types and styles to consider:
Hard Tonneau Covers
- Made of aluminum, fiberglass or heavy-duty polymer
- Rigid surface rolls or folds for truck access
- More secure and weatherproof
- Higher cost, difficult self-installation
Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Covers
- Vinyl cover rolls up toward cab via snaps or Velcro
- Typically most affordable option
- Easy to self-install and customize
- Less secure and durable than hard covers
Folding Tonneau Covers
- Two or three vinyl segments fold accordion-style
- Fold toward cab or flip forward with canisters
- Balance of protection, access, and affordability
- Available in soft or hard materials
Retractable (Roll-Top) Tonneau Covers
- Vinyl sheet rolls up on spring-loaded scroll
- Remote electric switch or manual crank operation
- Fast opening/closing for full bed access
- More expensive but highly versatile
Snapping Tonneau Covers
- Cover snaps onto rails at bed sides/front
- Can fully remove sections for open access
- Typically made of leather, aluminum or fiberglass
- Time-consuming to detach/reattach
What Features Should You Look For In A Tonneau Cover?
The best tonneau cover for you depends on your needs and preferences. Assess which features are most important before making a purchase:
Do you prefer vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, or other tonneau materials? Durability, weatherproofing, longevity and cost vary.
Choose a cover with easy clamp-on, no-drill installation versus more complex rail mounts.
Ability To Lock
Locking panels or tailgate latches provide security. Not all covers lock.
Truck Bed Access
Determine whether you need full/partial access. Folding and roll-up covers allow partial. Retractable enables full access.
Hard covers protect best from rain/snow. Soft vinyl still shields from debris and sun.
Basic soft roll-up covers range $200-$800. High-end retractable tonneaus run $2,000+. Set a budget.
Covers come in stylish finishes like chrome, carbon fiber or color-matched paint. Customize the look.
Prioritize the features that matter most before selecting a new or replacement tonneau cover. Thoroughly research brands and read reviews to find one that best fits your pickup.
What Are The Most Popular Brands of Tonneau Covers?
There are many manufacturers producing different styles of tonneau covers for most standard pickup truck models. Some notable and reputable brands include:
- UnderCover – Made in the USA, offers affordable soft covers like the UnderCover Flex and premium retractable covers including the UnderCover Elite.
- BAK Industries – Top-rated for durable and weatherproof hard folding covers like the BAKFlip. Also makes soft roll ups.
- Extang – Known for exceptional quality and warranties on soft vinyl covers, hard covers, and unique models like the Solid Fold.
- Lund – Specializes in hinged folding covers but also makes soft tonneaus like the Genesis Roll Up. Stylish designs.
- Retrax – Leading brand of electric retractable tonneau covers with metal construction and built-in storage racks.
- Access – Made by Agri-Cover, provides soft roll-ups, hard covers, and retractables like the Access Lorado for various pickup makes.
- Pace Edwards – Focus is on premium retractable covers but also offers folding and soft bed covers. Easy installation.
- TruXedo – Known for affordability and wide selection of soft vinyl tonneaus, hard covers, and unique butterfly-style covers.
Shopping among the top-rated brands ensures you get maximum durability, protection, ease of use and overall value from your tonneau cover investment.
How Much Does A New Tonneau Cover Cost?
Tonneau cover prices depend on the material, style, features, and truck size. Here are typical price ranges:
- Soft vinyl roll-up – $200-$500
- Folding (hard or soft) – $400-$1,200
- Retractable – $750-$2,500+
- Fiberglass snapping – $700-$1,500
- Aluminum hard cover – $900-$1,800
Less expensive soft covers have simple vinyl construction, minimal hardware and uncomplicated clamp-on installation. Hard folding covers have higher-end construction with stronger panels, hydraulic lifts and front latches. Retractable bed covers are the most complex with electric motors and remote controls.
Larger truck beds like 8′ long beds also require bigger, more expensive tonneaus than smaller 6.5′ or 5.5′ short beds. Additional accessories like rail kits, perimeter seals and locking mechanisms can add further cost.
Budget, needs and desired features determine what price range fits best. Watch for sales around holidays or truck model year-end closeouts to save more.
Should You Professionally Install A New Tonneau Cover?
Installing a replacement tonneau cover is a project many truck owners choose to tackle themselves to save on labor fees. However, professional installation may be worth considering if:
- You don’t feel confident about safely removing the old cover and have limited DIY experience.
- Your truck bed has modifications or unique mounts that complicate installation.
- You purchased a premium retractable cover that requires wiring expertise.
- The manufacturer recommends professional installation to uphold the product warranty.
- You simply don’t have the time or desire to take on the project.
Otherwise, self-installing your new tonneau cover is very realistic, especially for simple soft roll-up covers. Manufacturers provide detailed instructions along with all necessary hardware and tools in the box. The process involves:
- Removing the old cover
- Attaching side rail clamps or brackets
- Unrolling and positioning the new vinyl cover
- Snapping, rolling or folding the cover into place
- Making alignment adjustments
With basic mechanical skills and an hour or less, you can usually save money and change your truck’s tonneau yourself versus paying for installation labor.
How Can You Extend The Life Of Your Tonneau Cover?
Tonneau covers endure a lot of wear and tear from sun, rain, debris and constant opening/closing. Here are some tips for maximizing the lifespan of your truck bed cover:
- Keep it clean by regularly wiping down vinyl and hosing off dirt buildup. Avoid harsh cleaners.
- Apply UV protectant to vinyl surfaces 1-2 times per year to prevent sun damage.
- Lubricate snaps, hinges, clamps and rollers with silicone spray lube every few months.
- Check for ripped seams or grommets and immediately repair holes or tears.
- Don’t drive with the cover rolled up or folded open for prolonged periods.
- Open cover slowly and avoid letting it slam shut when closing.
- Use support bows across the cover to prevent sagging in the middle over time.
- Don’t load extremely heavy cargo that could dent panels or tear vinyl.
- Fasten down the cover or remove it fully when hauling oversized loads.
With proper care and maintenance, quality tonneau covers should last 5-10 years. Keeping yours in top shape maximizes its security and cargo protection.
Is It Worth Repairing A Damaged Tonneau Cover?
It depends on the cover’s age, extent of damage and repair cost. Minor repairs are often worthwhile, especially on newer covers, but consider replacing your tonneau if:
- Multiple panels, seams or hardware components are broken. Total repair costs exceed 50% of a new cover.
- The cover is over 10 years old and worn out overall. Repairs will only offer a temporary fix.
- Replacement parts are no longer available for your cover brand or truck model.
- Damage prevents the cover from properly sealing, folding or rolling up. Functionality is impaired.
- Visible repairs will be unsightly and won’t match due to faded or changed vinyl color.
- The cover lacks features you want like a retractable opening and upgrading is preferred.
Carefully assess whether investing time and money into tonneau repairs makes sense versus installing a new cover. Repairs often suffice for minor rips, holes or seam issues. But extensive damage, safety/functionality concerns or old age mean replacement is the wiser option.
Can You Customize Your Tonneau Cover?
One benefit of tonneau covers is you can customize them to match your truck’s color and style:
- Vinyl decals or wraps adhered to the cover surface
- Stripes, tribal patterns, racing stripes, etc.
- Match existing truck graphics or complement paint color
- Order a tonneau in truck body color for an integrated look
- Soft covers can be professionally sprayed to color match
- Or choose a coordinating gray, tan, black or white cover
Upgrade With Accessories
- Add perimeter seals for enhanced weatherproofing
- Install lock rods or tailgate locks to improve security
- Include a bed rug, divider or rack system to increase function
- LED light strips attached to the underside or rails
- Illuminate bed area and create custom glow
- Use rocker switches to control lights
Tonneau covers are a blank canvas for truck styling and personalization. Get creative matching or contrasting the color while adding cool graphics, lighting or accessories.
What Are The Main Benefits Of Installing A Tonneau Cover?
Tonneau covers offer truck owners a variety of valuable benefits:
1. Security – Locking hard or soft covers protect cargo from theft or damage.
2. Weatherproofing – Keeps truck bed and belongings dry in rain/snow.
3. Protects Cargo – Shielded from dust, debris and UV rays.
4. Improves Gas Mileage – Reduces wind resistance for increased MPG.
5. Storage Versatility – Many types open partially or fully for hauling flexibility.
6. Styling – Sleek, integrated look upgrades truck appearance.
7. Resale Value – Quality tonneau cover retains value and appeals to buyers.
8. Cargo Accessibility – Quick and easy opening and closing.
9. Camper Cap Alternative – Less expensive but still enclosed storage space.
10. All Weather Use – Hard covers allow hauling larger items year-round.
With benefits from security to savings at the pump, it’s easy to justify investing in a tonneau cover for your truck. The right one improves functionality and adds value.
Tonneau Cover Shopping Tips
Ready to shop for a replacement or upgrade tonneau cover? Keep these tips in mind:
- Measure truck bed length and width accurately.
- Research top brands known for quality and durability.
- Consider your needs: budget, access, materials, mounting, etc.
- Read reviews and ask truck owner friends for recommendations.
- Check warranties – better covers offer 5-year or lifetime warranties.
- Buy from a manufacturer or authorized retailer for better service.
- Price match with other sellers if the same cover is cheaper.
- Inspect closely upon delivery before installing to confirm fit.
- Use guides and installation videos from the manufacturer.
- Register your warranty and keep receipts in case issues arise.
Take time to find the ideal tonneau cover for your truck’s year, make and model. Investing in a high-quality product and proper installation will ensure you get many years of extra protection and function from your pickup’s bed cover.