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Chevrolet Silverado: Finding the Right Tonneau Cover

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Shop Silverado 1500 Bed Covers

Bed covers are a great modification that improves your Silverado 1500's appearance and functionality. Keep your cargo safe and sound on any job site through any elements.

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Whether you're working construction, HVAC, or just a handyman around the house, you need a truck to carry your tools around. When you’re going to a job site, don't leave your cargo out in the sight of thieves and exposed to the elements. Investing in a tonneau bed cover not only protects your Silverado’s cargo, but it also saves you money on gas and having to replace any stolen or damaged equipment. A customized tonneau cover can also add value to your truck and most come with a five-year to lifetime warranty. The choice is obvious, but finding the right bed cover for your Silverado will depend on many factors. Fortunately, we’re here to help!

Benefits of a Bed Cover 

  • Less wind resistance adding better fuel economy
  • Weather protection
  • Theft protection
  • Customized look

Studies have shown a tonneau cover can provide better fuel economy of up to 5-10%. If you plan on keeping your tonneau cover on every time you drive, this could equate to hundreds of dollars in fuel savings each.

Considering the average cost of an aftermarket bed cover is between $500-$1500, you could receive your money back or a high return on your investment in a few years. 

An aftermarket bed cover also adds style to your truck and can be customized to the paint and trim you desire. With the amount of features a tonneau bed cover adds, most people seek out bed covers when purchasing a truck to create more value for their Silverado. 

Value is the magic word. A bed cover serves as a natural deterrent against pilfering and protects precious cargo and bed liners from snow, rain, dust, and sunlight.

Tools for any job site could total hundreds of dollars and UV light, coupled with moisture, can rust out any tool piece in a very short time. Protect your belongings with a durable tonneau cover and secure strap system. 

How to Choose A Bed Cover For Your Chevy Silverado - The Haul

Bed Cover Considerations

Not all tonneau covers will necessarily fit your Silverado model or your lifestyle. There are many considerations to keep in mind when searching for an aftermarket bed cover, including:

  • Your budget
  • The height of your cargo
  • How often you’ll be accessing the cab
  • Your climate
  • The truck’s height
  • The color
  • The amount of security you require 

The size of the bed cover will depend on the size of your truck. You’ll need to match the bed cover to the length of your bed, the width of your tailgate, and the height of your truck. The height of your truck will ultimately impact convenience, as many newer trucks sit higher than older models.

Next, you’ll need to consider the height of your cargo and whether it extends beyond the height of your truck bed. There are typically five cab styles that will dictate the size of your bed cover.

  • Standard 
  • Side-step 
  • Drop-side
  • Extended cab
  • Crew cab

Silverado Soft Covers 

Pros 

  • Soft cover beds are generally cheaper
  • They’re easier to continually open and close
  • Strap systems make them very secure
  • Soft covers are also guaranteed to be waterproof
  • Some bed covers require the tailgate to open, adding personal security against theft

Cons

  • They typically don't last as long as a hard cover
  • Some soft bed covers don't fair well against snow
  • There are typically less customization options for color and trim.

Most soft tonneau covers are made of durable vinyl materials meant to be long lasting and also provide a tight waterproof seal. Soft covers can be secured with nylon hook and loop straps or velcro for easy access on construction sites. 

Soft covers are generally not recommended for harsher climates. Soft covers have also been known to crack under continual sunlight after a few years.

Soft rollup covers are ultra-lightweight and offer easy cab access. Most soft covers feature a tarp held in place with loop fasteners. Rails run along the width of the bed to allow the cover to fold easily and securely. 

Soft folding covers are typically made with a single piece vinyl tarp and feature an aluminum frame. Choose from tri-fold covers that fold for easy storage and are secured with velcro or nylon straps. Soft folding covers have the least amount of work for install and offer the greatest convenience for opening and closing your bed cover. 

Snap covers are the least expensive on the market, though they offer the lowest protection. Snap covers fit around the flat bed using snaps and are held taught to stretch across the bed with rails.


Soft Roll Up Cover

Silverado Hard Covers 

Pros:

  • Hard covers are manufactured with high-grade materials (fiberglass, aluminum, or ABS plastic), offering greater protection against snow and heavy elements
  • Highly durable and have an incredibly long use-life
  • An added layer of security preventing theft
  • More aerodynamic offering better fuel economy than soft tonneaus

Cons

  • Hard covers are generally more expensive than soft covers
  • They’re more inconvenient to access the cargo and dislodge the bed cover
  • They’re heavier

Hard roll up covers contain aluminum slats that allow it to hold more weight than soft covers. This becomes critical in precarious weather conditions. Hard roll up covers are also less likely to rack under prolonged sun exposure or can't be torn like a soft cover. 

Retractable tonneau covers are composed of multiple aluminum slats that allow your bed cover to retract back into a canister instead of having to be folded or rolled up. You can opt for remotely operated retractable covers that offer a little extra style and value to your Silverado. With such meticulous design, they are able to hold hundreds of pounds without bending or bowing. They are also one of the most expensive bed covers on the market. 

Hard folding tonneau covers operate with the same one-piece design as soft folding covers and are made with with aluminum along with a smooth vinyl cover. Some aftermarket designs use multiple rails to allow truck owners to access the rear of their bed without completely opening the bed cover. 


Hard Roll Up Cover

Silverado Truck Cover Compatibility with Accessories 

A bed cover is generally compatible with bed liners, assuming the bed liners don’t extend over the rails. This brings up more questions of whether your ideal bed cover is compatible with your utility track system or cargo racks.  

Newer trucks generally feature a utility track system built onto the bed frame with sliding cargo cleats. Generally, a bed cover will not interfere with the cargo cleats, though some experts assume a bed cover could interfere with its functionality. Ask a dealer or mechanic if a bed cover will impede your utility track system.

Unfortunately, snap covers are the only bed covers that won’t block your tie down rings. On the same note, many truck racks are not compatible with high profile bed covers. Truck racks are usually installed with the same stake hole pockets you use for your bed cover, although some roll up and retractable bed covers will not impede your access to a truck rack. Most truck racks are generally compatible with most tonneau covers. 

If you have a tool box installed in your cargo bed than you should use a roll-up or folding bed cover that can be positioned behind the tool box. Of course, you can always buy a low profile toolbox that will fit comfortably under the bed cover without damaging or scratching the material underneath. 

Silverado Truck Cover Assembly: A multiple section liner and single piece cover is typically installed using multiple fasteners to secure the cover along the bed frame. Install the front panels of a multi-piece bed cover first, followed by the side panels and then the bottom panels. Line up the bottom panels over the bed of your truck. If any gaps persist then you might have purchased an ill-sized tonneau cover. 

Install single and multi-piece liners by attaching fasteners into the top bed rails with a a pair of pliers. Attach the liner to the joints of every panel and then secure the last panel with bolts. Assembly is fairly straightforward and professional assistance isn’t necessary. 

Maintaining your Bed Cover

Read your manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning your tonneau bed cover. Most tonneau soft covers are cleaned with a vinyl-specific cleaning agent, which give your bed cover added protection against the sun.

Buy a specific bed cover cleaner because vinyl tire cleaners may not be compatible with your tonneau bed cover. A basic cleaning agent should be safe for your tonneau hard cover, although maintenance may need to be performed on hinges or closures for a folding bed cover to prevent rust.


Soft Cover Cleaning Agent
Fitment includes: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Hybrid, LS, LT, LTZ, WT, XFE, Custom, HighCountry