How to Install a Hard Tonneau Cover

hard tonneau cover install

If you own a pickup truck, a hard tonneau cover can be an extremely useful accessory. If compared with other types of tonneau covers (, hard ones have their own advantages. They are rigid, but unlike the hinged covers, they are foldable. It means that you can drive with a folded cover while carrying tall cargo in the bed of your pickup.

You can use a hard folding cover with or without a toolbox or rack system. Some hard covers allow you to open the front section only, while all others are closed. This level of utility is achieved thanks to high-quality materials and elaborate constructions developed as a result of long years of experience.

The main steps describing how to install a hard tonneau cover are listed hereunder:

  • position the side rails on special clamps along the truck bed (the clamps and hardware are included). It’s recommended that you observe proper distances between the clamps and align the side rails according to installation instructions and schemes. If the side rails are higher than a cab rail, apply foam seal to the front lip of the bed;
  • install the bundled panel system into the special place on the side rails, unfold the cover, and make sure that all of its parts are properly aligned. If there are retaining hooks, they have to engage the corresponding pins. If your construction uses knobs and hardware for mounting the cover on the side rails, don’t tighten these knobs too firmly before you first unfold the cover and make sure it’s positioned properly;
  • in some constructions, metal rods securing the cover in the open position must be installed at this stage. However, no rods are needed for designs that use fastening clips for that purpose;
  • you may have to drill some drain holes through the bed’s knockout plugs or bedliner and insert drain hoses;
  • finally, check if all latches of the cover panel have the right contact with the side rails.

An important notice: while driving, a folding hard tonneau cover must be completely flat and closed or, vice versa, completely folded up and secured. Don’t drive with the cover in its partially open position. In some systems, it’s recommended that you always close the cover before closing the tailgate for better sealing, however, other systems require closing the tailgate first. It completely depends on a certain construction, so be careful and read the manufacturer’s installation instructions first.