How to Install Tri-fold Tonneau Cover (DIY Tutorial)

The first and the most important thing that you need to know is what a tri-fold Tonneau cover is and what it is used for, and if you feel the need to have one, then how to install it at home all by yourself. 

What are Tonneau Covers Used For:

Tonneau covers are mostly used for protection and security purposes and can be installed on the back of your trucks. 

With your truck bed open, anything that you might put in, there can be easily damaged due to several factors, including weather, etc. or it can also be stolen or lost. With the tonneau cover, your truck bed is now secure and can be used to store precious items as well.

Several Types of Tonneau Covers

There are many types of tonneau covers each for a specific type of use. They are mostly classified into either soft or hard tonneau covers or tri-fold or push up tonneau covers. 

In this article, we will be talking about tri-fold tonneau covers and how to install them at home.

Installing a Tri-fold Tonneau Cover: A Step by Step Guide

The process of installing a tri-fold tonneau cover with a bed liner on the back of your car’s trunk has three steps. The first is the installation of the bed liner, the second is to install the side rail, and the third step when you will be done with the process is the installation of the tonneau cover.

how to install a tonneau cover

Step 1: Installation of the Bed Liner

The first thing that will ease the installation of the bed liner is to open the tailgate. Tailgate mostly interferes with the installation of the bed liner as it decreases your access to the bed of the truck.

After you have opened the tailgate, the next step is to remove all the screws and the handles inside the bed of the truck. In the compatible trucks, there are holes and caps to fit the screws, but even if you don’t, you can drill to get them out of the truck bed.

Once the bed liner is installed, it can’t be uninstalled each and every day, so it is important to clean the truck bed with alcohol or any other spray that you may find. 

Once you have successfully cleaned the truck bed, dry it with a piece of cloth or with a sponge. You can also let it air dry, but that would waste your time and take longer.

Now put the bed liner inside the truck of the bed. Now through the holes that you made while removing the screws or by drilling, fit the screws. Once you have put in all the screws, the next task is to make it look decent and to secure the screws in place. For that, you can put caps on the screws. 

After you are done installing the bed liner, it is time to put the tailgate back in its place. For that, use the exact same process that you used for installing the bed liner. 

Step 2: Installation of the Side Rails

Once you have installed the bed liner, it is time to install the side rails. For that place, the side rails on the bed rails. Almost all of the bed covers for the truck come with two side rails. 

If yours doesn’t have any, then it will definitely include clamps that are supposed to be attached to the bed floor once the cover is attached.

Assuming yours has side rails, once you have placed them symmetrically, you need to fix them in their right position, which is right next to the cab with the help of clamps. 

There are several types of clamps for this purpose, but the most commonly used ones are of toothed type as they best stabilize the side rails in their respective positions.

After this, add another clamp at an even distance from the first one and tighten them both up, stabilizing the side rail in its position. Repeat the same number of steps for the second side rail.

Step 3: Installation of the Tri-fold Tonneau Covers

Now the last step of the process is to install the tonneau cover. If yours didn’t include a rubber seal, then you can get down to the second task, which is to install the Tonneau cover.

Now position the cover in the right place on the bed rail. The cover might be heavy, so it is preferable to do it with a little help. Place the cover next to the cab area. It should fit perfectly in the rail. But if it’s not fitting, then you might have to exert a little bit of extra force to get it in place. 

Once you have got it in the right place, open it and shut the tailgate. After this, bolt the cover into the side rails. Make sure you have secured all the screws and the clamps etc.

Things to Check after you are done Installing the Tri-fold Tonneau Cover:

  • Make sure all the screws are secure and tight.
  • Do not operate the vehicle with the cover folded or with the locks not in their place.
  • Adjust all the clamps until you are sure that the rails are flat and in place.
  • If there is any gap between the side rails or the truck, you can fill it in with the help of shims. Adding shims also gives an extra stabilization.
  • A waterproof cover mostly comes with a rubber seal. So for that, you will have to first install the rubber seals on both the side rails before installing the cover.

Final Thoughts

So, here’s our guide on how to install a tri-fold tonneau cover. It is an easy task and can be done at home. Most of the tonneau covers come with their manuals, and it is a smart option to read the manual as well, as it is specifically written for your tonneau cover.

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