Opening your truck bed to find water pooled on top of your tonneau cover can be frustrating. But what causes this water accumulation, and what can you do about it? This article explores the common reasons water pools on tonneau covers and provides solutions to keep your truck bed dry.
What Are The Main Causes Of Water Pooling On Tonneau Covers?
There are a few key reasons that water tends to collect on top of tonneau covers:
Loose Or Improperly Tensioned Cover
If your tonneau cover sits loosely over the truck bed, this can allow water to seep underneath and accumulate on top. Soft roll-up covers and folding covers often have tensioning systems that need to be properly tightened.
Gaps Or Tears In The Cover
Over time, tonneau covers can develop small gaps, cracks, or tears from wear and tear. These openings allow water to drip down into the truck bed and pool on top of the cover.
Leaking Seals Or Weather Stripping
Leaks often occur where the tonneau cover meets the side rails or tailgate. Inadequate sealing and weather stripping in these areas enables water to enter the truck bed.
Some water pooling issues arise from improper tonneau cover installation. Gaps left between crossbars or side rails during the install process can let in water.
In some cases, the tonneau cover itself may have design flaws that contribute to water pooling. For example, certain models may have inadequate drainage systems or be prone to bending and sagging over time.
Solutions For Preventing Water From Pooling On Tonneau Covers
If you’re finding standing water on top of your tonneau cover, there are ways to address the issue:
Adjust The Tension
For soft roll-up and folding covers, make sure to tighten the tensioning system according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This will remove any slack and create a taut cover surface for water to run off.
Inspect And Replace Seals
Examine all the seals around the cover’s perimeter and replace any that are cracked, damaged, or misaligned. Pay special attention to the tailgate seal which is prone to leakage. Adding additional weather stripping can help.
Check For Cover Damage
Thoroughly inspect your tonneau cover for any small gaps, tears, or perforations that could be letting in water. Repair any minor damage or look into replacing the cover if it is beyond repair.
Re-Install The Cover
A faulty original install is often the culprit. Remove the tonneau cover and re-install from scratch, carefully following all the manufacturer’s directions and using shims to ensure a tight seal.
Upgrade Your Cover
If your current tonneau cover seems fundamentally flawed, upgrading to a higher quality model can be the solution. Research options to find covers with superior sealing and weather resistance.
Use drainage tubes in the bed rails or install drainage holes to allow any accumulated water to escape. This prevents “bathtubbing” and reduces water weight on the cover.
Preventative Measures To Stop Water From Pooling On Tonneau Covers
Besides addressing existing water leaks, there are also some preventative steps you can take:
Treating vinyl tonneau covers with UV protectants and conditioners keeps the material supple and less prone to cracking or tearing over time.
Park In Covered Areas
Limiting your truck’s exposure to rain, snow, and other wet conditions reduces the chances for water intrusion and leakage.
Clean And Inspect Covers
Routinely wash your tonneau cover and check for any developing gaps or damage that could lead to leaks. Catching problems early is key.
Ensure Proper Use
Open and close your cover gently, keep it free of debris, and don’t overload the truck bed. Careful use extends the life of your cover and seals.
Consider Hard Covers
Hard folding and retractable tonneau covers provide increased durability and weather resistance. Upgrading to one of these models can minimize water pooling issues.
FAQs About Water Pooling On Tonneau Covers
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about water accumulation on tonneau covers:
How do I find and fix leaks in my tonneau cover?
Thoroughly inspect seals, seams, and mounting points for any gaps or damage. Use a hose to pinpoint leak sources. Replace damaged seals and hardware and add weather stripping where needed.
Why does my vinyl tonneau cover pool water even when new?
Some vinyl covers are prone to minor stretching, twisting, and distortion which can lead to water intrusion even when brand new. Upgrading to a higher quality vinyl cover may help.
What is the best way to seal my folding tonneau cover?
Use rubber seal conditioner on the folding seam gaskets. Apply weather stripping tape or silicone sealant on the inside of the bulkhead. Keep hinges lubricated for proper closure.
How do I improve drainage on my roll-up tonneau?
Install drain tubes in the front and back rails to allow water to exit. You can also drill small weep holes strategically along the rails if they don’t have pre-existing drain channels.
Should I cover the zipper on my soft tonneau cover?
Yes, using an aluminum cover plate or weather guard on the zipper will prevent leaks. Make sure to lubricate the zipper teeth regularly as well.
Water pooling on your tonneau cover can happen due to loose tensioning, leaks, gaps, improper installation, or just inferior design. Inspecting covers and seals thoroughly, adjusting tension systems, adding weather stripping, upgrading problematic covers, and improving drainage are all great ways to solve and prevent water accumulation issues. With some diligent troubleshooting and preventative care, you can keep your truck bed cover and cargo high and dry.