Tonneau Cover Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Tonneau Covers are one of the most widely used and important accessories you can add to your truck, keeping cargo protected from theft and harsh weather conditions, increasing fuel mileage and adding a streamlined look to the truck bed. Whether you own a hard, soft, retractable, folding, or roll-up Tonneau cover, taking care of it will ensure that it doesn't crack, tear or deteriorate - keeping it secure and capable of withstanding the elements, as well as looking good for years on end.

Regular maintenance of your Tonneau cover is easy, inexpensive, and requires only about 20 minutes of your time – an investment well worth what it will save you in money to replace it. In addition, giving your Tonneau cover the appropriate care will be sure to sustain the manufactures warranty - an important consideration in the event that something beyond your control happens to your Tonneau Cover.

To maintain and clean your Tonneau cover, follow these simple steps:

1. First, check for any scratches, bumps, rubbishes, corrosion or any other conditions that might become worsened by scrubbing or soap.

2. Tightly secure all clamps, bolts and mounting hardware in place to prevent them from breaking away and scratching the Tonneau cover during cleaning.

3. Check the side rails to make sure the cover latches open and close easily. If they are stuck or are hard to move, adding a very small amount of common mineral oil will help loosen them up and prevent any further sticking.

4. If you are washing by hand, use cold water and a mild soap such as Simple Green, or a specialty Tonneau cover cleaner, and gently scrub the Tonneau cover from the cab to the bed with a soft bristle car wash brush. Never use vinyl cleaners, such as those made for cleaning the dashboard, as they contain grease and solvents that will accelerate deterioration or fade the color. ONLY if you have a vinyl cover should you use a vinyl cleaner to keep it looking new and working properly. Rinse the cover with cold water again, and dry it with soft cotton cloths or sponges.

5. If you have one of the types of Tonneau covers listed below, the following additional care may also be needed

Soft Tonneau Covers – Out of all the Tonneau cover types, soft Tonneau covers are by far the most vulnerable to wear and tear. When cleaning a soft Tonneau cover, take additional care along the edges as well as areas where the arch supports meet the fabric. These areas are the most prone to wear, tear and fraying.

Folding Tonneau Covers – A problematic spot for these types of covers are the contours between panels where the folds occur. If not properly cared for, they can start to deteriorate and corrode rather quickly, causing leakage. Though it may sound like a pain, opening all the panels every time you use the Tonneau cover can prevent this occurrence as the hinges are self-lubricating. This is especially important, since most manufactures do not cover this kind of damage under warranty. Additionally, it is a good measure to inspect under the cover for any water on the truck bed after cleaning.

Retractable Tonneau Covers These need extra care due to the cover moving on the rails installed on the sides of the truck bed. Just like folding Tonneau covers, the mechanism that opens and closes the cover is self-lubricated. To keep it operating smoothly, open and close it on a regular basis, as this will help keep the rails clean and dirt free.

6. As a precautionary rule of thumb, do not leave heavy gear on your Tonneau cover for prolonged periods of time. Doing this can cause sagging and/or permanent damage. Always refer to the manual that came with the tonneau cover for weight ratings, and if it is absolutely necessary to stack items, spread them out as evenly as possible.

By engaging in regular maintenance and keeping your Tonneau cover clean, it should withstand the ravages of time and remain as a valued accessory on your truck.

To learn more about Tonneau covers, check out our other articles or visit our blog, as well as our Facebook page.

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Posted on January 4th, 2013

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