How to Clean and Maintain a Tonneau Cover for Long Lasting?

​If you are a truck owner, then surely know about tonneau cover. It is such an essential accessory for truck owners that not only helps to carry things with protection, but also provides the vehicle a sleek look.

As it is highly beneficial, the cost of this product is high too. So, you do not want to replace your truck’s tonneau cover twice a year. Therefore, you must take good care of it as it does to your carried items.

Here in this article, you will know how to clean and maintain your trucks tonneau cover that will provide you the service for some additional years.

Preparation Before Cleaning

Before jumping into the cleaning process, you need to prepare the cover first. Follow the instructions below –

  • 1
    Check whether the surface of the tonneau cover has any scratches, rubbishes, bumps, corrosion or any conditions that can trigger more problem while scrubbing with soap and water or cleaning solution.
  • 2
    Keep all the bolts, clamps and mounted hardware securely in a place. Otherwise, you may end up breaking or scratching those objects.
  • 3
    Check on the side rails to ensure whether latches can be opened or closed easily. If they are hard to move, add a small amount of mineral oil to loosen and prevent them from further sticking.

Guidelines For Cleaning a Tonneau Cover

Thankfully, cleaning a tonneau cover is not something that needs an expert’s hand. Anyone can do this straightforward job. But before getting started, go through the cover's manual and see if there are any specific instructions for your model. If you see any, follow the provided steps.

The instructions I'm about to share with you are general guidelines. Just follow given steps below to get the job done.

Things you will need –

  • A bucket filled with warm water
  • Car washing solution
  • A towel and a microfiber scrubber
  • 1
    Make sure you are doing it in a shaded area.
  • 2
    First, clean the cover with water and wipe dust or debris from the surface using a towel or microfiber scrubber.
  • 3
    Now prepare the cleaning solution. Take a bucket filled with warm water and pour car cleaning solution of about half a cup. Let the solution mix with warm water.
  • 4
    Now divide the tonneau cover in two or four part using any marker that is visible. It will make the cleaning process a lot easier for you.
  • 5
    Dip the scrub bar or brush into the solution and start scrubbing the cover in the area that is easily reachable to you.
  • 6
    Make sure you are scrubbing smoothly without giving much pressure.
  • 7
    If you see the dirt is not coming off, then let it soak for 5 minutes. Then repeat the process.
  • 8
    When the cover is soaked, rinse it with clean water and leave until it dries completely.

Cleaning Vinyl Made a Soft Cover

If you have a soft cover for your truck, the cleaning process would require some additional steps to care about the vinyl surface. You will find a vinyl cleaner and tonneau cover cleaner in the market.

Most of these type of solutions are non-toxic. Due to its biodegradable formula and pH balancing benefit, such a solution is safe to spray on paint, chrome, and glasses too.  

Additionally, these special solutions protect your vinyl made soft cover from UV and prevent fading, hardening and cracking. Furthermore, the formula will enhance the appearance of the cover. Also, you will need to apply protectant that will make easier to clean in the future.

Things you will need -

  • A Boar’s hair top brush
  • A wheel brush
  • Microfiber applicator
  • Fire hose nozzle
  • Vinyl or tonneau cover cleaner or any similar cleaner
  • 1
    At first rinse the cover with water using a fire hose to remove any dirt, debris from the surface.
  • 2
    Now, liberally spray the vinyl or tonneau cover cleaner on the entire surface.
  • 3
    Agitate any part of the cover with a bristle brush if there is any necessary.
  • 4
    Brush the entire cover with a boar hair brush. As the brush has a long handle, it will be easier for you to brush the areas that are hard to reach. You can also use a bristle brush as it has great scrubbing ability.
  • 5
    When you are finished cleaning, spray water using a fire hose.
  • 6
    After rinsing, now dry the cover using a microfiber drying towel.
  • 7
    Drive your car to the garage to keep the cover away from direct sunlight and let it cool off as vinyl expands when exposed to heat. Therefore, you will need to dry in indoor condition before applying the protectant.
  • 8
    Now apply tonneau cover protectant on the cover liberally.
  • 9
    Then scrub the cover with a microfiber applicator.
  • 10
    Let the cover dry for about 5 minutes.

Finally, you are done with the cleaning process. Your tonneau cover will look like new. But have you noticed the color difference between the cover and plastic rim around the bed, bumper, and tailgate?

Does not match right?

Thankfully, you can apply protectant in these parts too. Apply the protectant and scrub with a microfiber applicator.

When you are finished with the entire process of cleaning, now it is time to let the truck rest under the sunlight. Your tonneau cover no longer looks dried or faded out.

Tonneau Cover Maintenance Tips

Tonneau covers are expensive. Therefore, they require proper maintenance to avoid spending hundreds of dollars for each replacement. Here are the top tips for maintaining your tonneau cover.

1. Inspect the Cover Periodically

After each ride, examine the tonneau cover. If you check regularly, you will not have to face worse conditions and look for costly solutions. Also, you will be able to detect red flags before it gets worse.

Carefully look for corrosion, debris, looseness, bumps, dents, and scratches. Do not overlook even the smallest one and take the matter lightly.

2. Carry Less Than The Cover is Capable of

You should not overburden the tonneau cover now and then. Placing heavy loads once in a while is okay, but if you do it on a regular basis, it will result in sagging. Also, if you need to carry things for extended periods, do not put things that are heavy.

Some people think that if the cover is made with a quality product, it is okay if you load it with heavy things. They are wrong, and the result will not be something you would like to face.

The best way will be if you read the manual that came with the cover. There, you will read how much the cover is capable of carrying, how to extend you can carry things on it without doing any harm to it.  

3. Make Sure You Are Washing It with Proper Manner

You will find many cleaners or removers for tonneau covers. But choosing an appropriate one will ensure the longevity of your cover. Depending on the cover quality and type, the cleaning kit will be different from one another.

Also, make sure you use microfiber scrub or a soft bristle brush, or towel and sponge for the cleaning process. Do not put too much pressure on the surface. And always, rinse the cover and dry it out before your next drive after cleaning.

4. Fasten Hardware

Besides washing the cover, do not forget about mounting clips and hardware. Before washing, make sure you keep the clips and necessary hardware away in a secure place to prevent them from causing serious damage.

Be sure to slide and close your cover regularly so that it can operate smoothly. Do it even when you are not using your truck that much. If you find the cover is tough to slide, consider lubricating the rails to prevent traction experience and unwanted wear.

5. Use Right Protectant

If your cover is made of soft vinyl, then make sure you apply protectant after washing with a non-toxic cleaning kit and clean it with a microfiber towel or soft cotton cloth.

6. Clean the Cover Periodically

Cleaning the cover for a regular basis will ensure the cover will not crack, become fade or hard.

7. Do not Overexposed Under Direct Sunlight for Too Long

You should not leave your vinyl made soft cover under direct sunlight. If the cover is exposed to high temperatures, it will increase the detrimental impact of foreign contaminants to develop on the surface.

8. Do Not Leave it in The Shade for Most of The Time

As I said earlier to avoid leaving the cover under direct sunlight for too long. That does not mean you will have to keep the cover always in the shade. If your cover stays in the shade more than the sun, then the mist condition will develop mildew and mold on the vinyl surface.

Final Words

Cleaning and maintenance of tonneau covers are essential for long-lasting. The sooner you take the initiative to clean and protect the cover with appropriate cleaners and protectant, the longer it will provide you with its great service.

You cannot do much once any damage occurs.

Therefore, examine your tonneau cover regularly and if you spot anything unusual, take cleaning steps as soon as possible. Smartly balance the weather condition for the cover to stay in.

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