How Secure Are Used Tonneau Covers?

January 27, 2012

New and used tonneau covers fit over the bed of a pickup truck, adding a measure of style and security. When a tonneau cover is properly installed, it encloses the truck bed, making it less vulnerable/accessible to both thieves and the elements. If you can obtain a used tonneau cover in good condition, it may prove to be a worthwhile investment over time. Modern tonneau covers come in a variety of materials, to satisfy a range of consumer tastes and budgets.

Fiberglass Covers
Fiberglass tonneau covers are quite popular, because they tend to be weather-tight, theft-deterrent and relatively affordable. Moreover, most fiberglass tonneau covers can be styled and painted to match the color of the truck itself--important for style-conscious shoppers.

Aluminum Covers
In recent years, aluminum tonneau covers have captured a larger share of the truck bed top market. They are often lighter and can fit more precisely than fiberglass covers. Because they are usually lighter, the aluminum covers are easier for one person to lift/remove independently--an important feature for truck owners who work alone and are frequently in and out of their beds. However, there are at least three considerations that accompany the purchase of a used aluminum cover:

  • They can cost 20 to 50 percent more than used fiberglass covers
  • Compared to fiberglass covers, there are fewer available models, colors and exterior finishes of aluminum covers
  • Used aluminum covers can also be harder to find

Retractable Covers
Folding, retractable or roll-up tonneau covers are usually lower-cost options than either fiberglass or aluminum one-piece covers. However, potential problems do exist, including tricky moving parts (on both folding and retractable covers) and limited bed security (especially with fabric roll-up covers). Furthermore, water leaks are more likely with these lower-cost options, because both fiberglass and aluminum one-piece tonneau covers generally provide a more weather-tight seal.

Soft Tonneau Covers Keep out Prying Eyes
Soft tonneau covers do offer attractive covers for your truck bed and its cargo contents. They are easy to install and can quickly be removed when not needed. Overall, soft tonneau covers are more versatile and popular for this reason. Many soft tonneau covers roll up for ease of use and quick access to your truck bed. When in use, the cover will shield cargo from sun, rain and the prying eyes of others.

While there are many advantages to using soft tonneau covers, protection and security of cargo in the truck bed is certainly not one of them. In fact, most soft tonneau covers do little more than hide cargo from passersby. Soft tonneau covers offer little in being able to prevent theft of items from your truck bed.

Because the material used to produce soft tonneau covers is usually made from some sort of fabric, leather or plastic, the covers are very pliable and easy to cut. Within a matter of seconds, a thief can easily cut away a soft tonneau cover and remove valuable items from your truck's bed. Locks on soft tonneau covers do very little to discourage criminals and offer no real protection.

Hard Tonneau Covers Offer Maximum Protection
Hard tonneau covers are a little more difficult to work with and can be cumbersome to use or remove if the need arises. They also usually cost a lot more than soft covers. However, they have one significant advantage - they are much more secure. These types of tonneau covers often come with tailgate handle locks that make them hard to defeat or bypass without a key. Some are made from super strong composite materials that are very durable and tough.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Used Tonneau Cover

A brand new tonneau cover can cost hundreds of dollars; so, choosing a used tonneau cover can help you save a lot of money. There are, of course, both advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a used tonneau cover.

Advantages of Used Tonneau Covers

  • Lower cost. Of course, the biggest advantages a used tonneau cover is that it costs a lot less than new one. In fact, if you search for the best deals, you may be able to purchase a used tonneau cover for about 20 to 30 cents on the dollar versus a brand new one. Brand new tonneau covers should be reserved for brand new trucks. Choose a used tonneau cover for your used truck and save hundreds of dollars
  • Quickly adds resale value. A used tonneau cover can quickly add more value to your used truck. Tonneau covers are a popular option among people shopping for trucks, and can help increase the value of your truck by several hundred dollars. Because you're saving a lot of money by purchasing a used tonneau cover, you'll be able to actually earn a profit on the cover if you sell your truck
  • Protects cargo. A used tonneau cover will protect the cargo in your truck bed as effectively as a new one. The used tonneau cover will keep rain from soaking your groceries or other purchased items, and will also help them keep them secure when you lock the cover. Spending the extra money to purchase a brand new tonneau cover will not offer you any additional protection

The Main Drawback of Used Tonneau Covers

One of the biggest drawbacks of purchasing a used tonneau cover is the possibility of purchasing a cover that has broken or missing parts needed to properly install it. For example, when a tonneau cover is removed from a truck, it is not uncommon to lose bolts or screws, hinges or sliding rails need to properly open and close it. While you can physically inspect used tonneau covers purchased in your local area, you may or may not receive everything needed for the installation when you purchase a used tonneau cover on the Internet.

When you purchase a used tonneau cover, it may have damage that is not easily discerned from a picture or a cursory inspection. Overlooking small cracks or chips on the underside of the cover is something that occurs very frequently and often leads to purchasing a low quality cover that will not last very long. If you purchase a used tonneau cover, make sure that you inspect it carefully, that it is not damaged and that it has all the parts needed to properly install it.

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