A custom-fit tonneau cover is one of the best upgrades you can give your truck. Besides shielding your cargo from the elements, its sleek look can improve your vehicle’s visual appeal. But truck beds come in all sorts of lengths, and so do truck bed covers. In this handy guide, you’ll find out how to measure a tonneau cover plus other things to consider while you shop.
Truck Model Specs and Tonneau Covers
“Now, wait a minute,” you may think. “Why do I even need to measure the bed? Don’t most manufacturers need a truck’s make, model and year to produce a custom-fit tonneau cover?” Admittedly, this is true. In this aspect, choosing a tonneau cover is similar to buying custom seat covers. But here’s the thing: The retailer may ask for your truck’s submodel. And having your bed length can simplify your selection.
To illustrate how this works, let’s suppose that you’re buying a truck bed cover for a 2019 GMC Sierra. This truck comes in three different submodels: the 1500, the 2500 HD and the 3500 HD. The 1500 also comes in either the Limited or New Body style. These models also have standard, short and long bed lengths.
Knowing your truck’s specs is key, especially with all these factors. For instance, a GMC Sierra 1500 with a long bed will have a bed length of around 8 feet. Standard beds on the same model measure around 6.5 feet. Some manufacturers round their bed sizes up, so there are differences between actual and advertised lengths. That’s why measuring your bed ensures that you select a tonneau cover with the best possible fit.
Finding Your Bed Length
First, there’s the obvious part: You’ll need a retractable measuring tape, preferably one with a locking feature. After all, it’s a pain when you’re struggling to hold the tape in place with one hand and write down measurements with the other. With trusty tape in hand, you can measure your truck bed with a few simple steps:
- Pull your tailgate down.
- Stand at the end of your truck bed and extend your measuring tape up the center.
- Stop when the tape’s end hits your truck’s bulkhead.
- Note the measurement point where your bed stops, just before the tailgate.
Keep in mind that the bed length is a rough guideline. Your new tonneau cover’s length doesn’t have to match your truck bed length exactly – just make sure it’s within a few inches. Also, you do not need to measure the bed width on most trucks. Unless yours has a stepside bed, you won’t even have to think about it.
Getting the Most for Your Money
Some truck mods are practical, while others are aesthetic. Like aftermarket lights or rims, tonneau covers are both. You want a great-looking truck bed cover that fits properly. Knowing your truck’s specs and measuring its bed length can help you choose a cover that fits the best. Think about your needs, look at each cover’s features and shop at a trusted parts and accessories retailer. By following this advice, you can select a tonneau cover you’ll love for years to come.