Installing a tonneau cover involves attaching the mounting rails to the truck bed, verifying the alignment, fastening the hardware, securing the cover and connecting any drainage tubes. The process requires frequent checks and adjustments to ensure a proper fit and may vary by the cover type, existence of a bed liner, and truck and tonneau brand.
Tonneau covers come in soft and hard versions, each of which has unique installation requirements, with soft types allowing a less precise fit. Additional categories represent the method of opening, including roll up, hinged or retractable.
To attach a typical soft tonneau's rails to the truck bed, align the provided clamps along each piece. Place the rail on the bed top on either the driver or passenger side, adjust until level, and tighten the clamps with a sprocket wrench. If clamping is impossible due to an over-the-rail bed liner, cut grooves in the liner top to allow the clamps to grip correctly. Repeat on the other side.
To secure the cover to the rails, place it on top of the bulkhead behind the cab, with the header seal aligned, if provided. Pull back on the retractable header guide, align with the matching side rail, and release the guide into the slot. Verify the guide is locked in place. Repeat on the second rail.
A typical hardcover installation involves clamps, hydraulic struts, and predrilled front and back mounting brackets. Instructions vary based on tonneau manufacturer and model.