Tonneau Cover Maintenance and Cleaning Guide

5 Proven Maintenance Tips for Truck Bed Tonneau Cover To Last

Cleaning the Tonneau Cover

Owning a tonneau cover comes with the responsibility to maintain it. If uncared for, these covers can become damaged in many ways. A neglected tonneau cover will develop dents, scratches, or even lose appeal due to a buildup of dirt.

Observing good care practices prevents a lot of these damages. In some instances, it can even help restore tonneau cover look or extend its lifespan. But that depends on the kind of maintenance rules applied. The wrong approach could cause more harm than bring good results.

Misusing tonneau cover care products, for example, could result in a damaged cover. It can also be vehicle care practices that do not take into account the presence of the cover, such as washing a truck with tonneau cover and not caring to secure or close the cover first.

As you can see, it does not only matter if you maintain the tonneau cover on your pickup truck. It is also about how you do it. Here, we compiled a list of the things to do so that your tonneau cover remains looking great always.

Important Maintenance Tips for Your Tonneau Cover

Check out these care tips that ensure your truck bed cover maintains its look and condition for a long time.

Tip #1. Regular Inspections

You cannot tell when your Tonneau cover gets torn, dented, or damaged in any other way if you do not check it regularly.

Sometimes, dirt or debris gets lodged in the folds or crevices of the tonneau cover. If these materials are not removed in time, they can cause the affected parts to corrode or scratch.

Inspecting the cover helps you to catch debris and remove it before damage can occur.

You will also know when tonneau cover paint is coming off and take action early enough.

Tip #2. Use the Right Chemicals to Clean it

Used Right Chemicals in Cleaning Tonneau Cover

Washing a tonneau cover regularly is one of the ways to maintain it.

However, using just about any washing chemical that you come across is not recommended.

Most of them can cause damage, sometimes more severe than the dirt itself.

Some corrode the tonneau covers surface, while others cause it to fade. As a rule of the thumb, always research the suitability of a particular chemical to clean your specific tonneau cover.

If unsure about a cleaning solution, always use cold water and mild soap to clean a tonneau cover.

Tip #3. Ensure Every Component is Properly Fastened

Most of the time, tonneau cover damage results from parts that come off loose.

This often happens when you drive on rugged road conditions. Damage can also happen to a tonneau cover through car wash sessions.

Whenever your pickup truck is being washed, always ensure that the tonneau cover is closed. It helps to prevent wearing at the rails or damage as a result or excessive movements.

Check the different parts and have them tightly fastened, too. Do the same when you intend to drive on rough terrain.

Tip #4. No Heavy Objects on the Cover

Avoid Heavy Objects

You have probably seen truck owners who place heavy things on the top of the tonneau covers on their vehicles. You may even have done it yourself. Heavy objects can cause a truck bed cover to sag, dent, and more.

While the cover may look hard and strong, prolonged periods of supporting weights can take a toll on them. If you can, avoid placing things on the cover, especially for extended hours. And if you have to, avoid concentrating them in one place.

Spread the load by spacing the items. Or, avoid placing anything on the truck bed cover whatsoever. It will save you unexpected expenses to fix a damaged cover, especially if we are talking about hard tonneau cover repair costs.

Tip #5. Lubricate the Moving Parts

These include the rails of retractable and similar types of truck bed covers. The locks, too, if the cover comes with one. 

Apart from minimizing wear, lubricating tonneau cover components helps to ensure proper operation.

Use the appropriate lubricant for each part. You can consult the manufacturer’s guideline concerning how to maintain your particular type of cover.

The Right Ways of Cleaning Truck Bed Tonneau Cover Surfaces

Right Ways of Tonneau Cover Cleaning

As we have seen, cleaning your pickup tonneau cover the wrong way can cause it damage. It may corrode or fade to look older than it is, among other forms of damage. To clean a tonneau cover the right way, follow these tips.

1.) Always clean the pickup bed cover in a shade. It can be underneath a tree or in your garage

2.) It is recommended that you use water and soap. The water should be cold and the soap mild. Hot water can damage some tonneau cover materials. The same case with strong soaps

3.) Avoid using chemicals such as bleaches, solvents, cleansers, strong detergents, and more. They can corrode truck bed cover surfaces or cause them to fade

4.) Before starting the cleaning, remove grit that may scratch the surface of the cover by flooding the cover with cold water

5.) Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the cover. Hard bristles can scratch the surface

6.) After you have finished cleaning, hose down the cover to rinse it. Ensure the are no traces of soap. Wash the rest of the vehicle, too. You do not want streaks or stains  caused by soapy water on the truck’s body

7.) You may wipe the cover with a sponge to make it dry faster

8.) Washing the cover regularly helps to make it look great. It also removes debris that may cause damage, saving you tonneau cover repair or replacement costs.

Vinyl Tonneau Covers

If your truck bed cover is vinyl, use a vinyl cleaner to clean it.

This is a cleaning solution that is specifically made for vinyl cover cleaning. You can find it at most auto parts stores.

Vinyl truck bed covers are soft and sensitive. Avoid using brushes to scrub them, instead, a soft sponge.

Alternatively, you can scrub the cover using a soft piece of cotton cloth.

Some tonneau cover materials can be sensitive. Using harsh chemicals and scrubbing materials can cause them irreversible damage.

To avoid regrets, always clean as gently as you can.

If in doubt about how to clean or maintain your pickup truck bed cover, the best thing is to consult the manufacturer instructions.

The guidelines can be found in the manual that came with the cover.

A Simple Tonneau Cover Repair Guide

The Simple Tonneau Cover Repair Guide

A tonneau cover may get damaged due to various reasons, such as wrong fitting, rough or prolonged use, wear, and more. When that happens, the cover cannot serve its function well. It will not improve the look of your truck or secure the truck bed adequately. Use these tonneau cover repair tips to fix the most tonneau cover problems.

Leaks- use a truck bed or tailgate cover seal depending on where water is leaking. If the seal is already there but damaged, replace it. You can also patch the leaking part if caused by a torn cover.

Noise- a noisy truck bed cover indicates loose parts or poor fit. Tighten fasteners that have loosened. Always install a cover that fits the truck bed of your pickup truck perfectly. If the noise is caused by installation problems, you may need to remove it and install it the right way.

Tears- vinyl truck bed covers are prone to tearing. Patch up tears using a tonneau cover repair kit. Make sure the color and texture of the patch match that of the cover.

Sticking- a stuck tonneau cover can be as a result of rust or lubricant that has dried up. Lubricate the sliding parts afresh to restore their function


Manufacturers usually design tonneau covers to withstand different conditions.

But that does not mean the covers are immune to damage.

Neglected, the tonneau cover on your truck can wear out quicker than you had anticipated.

You need to protect it from all causes of damage, or its lifespan will reduce considerably. The maintenance tips discussed here can be of great help in that regard.

With proper care, a tonneau cover will maintain its look and condition for years.

1 comment

    This has a lot of great info that doesn’t apply to my cover. The issue I am having is that the cover is made of a material that looks like a vinal on the underside and canvas texture on the top and just recently I am seeing that the cover appears to be either shrinking or bunching slightly at the first fold making it want to separate from the rail at the last fold.

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