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Form vs. Function: Which is the Right Tonneau Cover

Tonneau covers hide what’s in your truck bed, secure your gear, and can even help improve your MPG. Some have better form, others have better function.
Views: 1.243 Created 06/21/2008

Tonneau covers are extremely handy for any truck owner who occasionally hauls stuff that vertically extends out of the truck bed.  A tonneau cover can hide your stuff that is below the top of the truck bed, giving you more confidence to maximize the utility of your truck.  Tonneau covers also help improve the aerodynamics of your truck, which means improved fuel efficiency, higher MPG’s and lower total-fuel costs.  There are many different kinds of tonneau covers and choosing the right one can be difficult to determine, but with a little guidance you will be able to quickly make a decision.  The main types of truck bed tonneau covers are hard, roll up, and retractable tonneau covers.  Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. 

Roll ups, sometimes also referred to as roll top tonneau covers, offer the most convenience as they are light-weight, easy to adjust and also quite easy to remove.  But because they roll up, these tonneau covers offer the least amount of security because they are made of a Kevlar-like material.  The material is extremely difficult to tear which implies durability, but a knife can still easily cut through it. 

Hard tonneau covers come in a two flavors: folding and hinged.  They are both constructed of aluminum and usually wrapped in that same Kevlar-like material, which makes them very sturdy, durable, and secure.  But with metal comes weight, so these covers are heavier than the roll top tonneau covers.  This isn’t really a problem until you need to remove it, which can be an awkward process for some people.  How often you need to remove the tonneau cover depends on how often you really use the truck bed for hauling.  A folding tonneau cover folds back in sections, so you can easily get access to 2/3’s or more of your truck bed.  Moving that five foot tall dresser is a snap with a folding truck bed cover.  A hinged tonneau cover, on the other hand, opens up like the hood of your car which severely limits the height of anything you load into the truck.  You would have to remove it entirely to haul that same dresser. 

Retractable tonneau covers are the Cadillac’s of truck bed covers.  They are also made of aluminum and are sometimes covered in the Kevlar-like material for a nice fit and finish.  They retract by rolling up inside a housing that rests inside the truck bed by the back window.  Some retract by you pushing them into the housing and others can be remote controlled.  The nice thing about retractable tonneau covers is that you get maximum access to the truck bed: three-quarters or more can be available for you to use at the push of a button.  They are very secure and often lighter-weight than the hinged or folding types.  This makes them one of the most versatile tonneau covers available, the perfect blend of function and form.


Resources:
For more information about truck bed tonneau covers, please click on the following links: Roll N Lock, Roll N Lock Tonneau Cover, Retractable Tonneau Cover, and Gas Saving Devices.

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