A tonneau cover is a highly useful accessory that can hide what’s under it from the elements and prying eyes. So is the bed liner, whose function is to protect the bed surface from damages and rust. Combining the two may be a problem. Yet, not an unsolvable one.
For beginners, factory bed liners and OE covers fit each other perfectly because, well, they are designed to. You may need to make some DIY modifications and adjustments only if you use custom accessories. There is a big deal of bed liners and a huge variety of tonneau covers offered by the aftermarket industry these days. For that reason, you should search in the manual of your truck’s make and model, and the class/brand of accessories you use. Generalized instructions and useful tips are what you will see below.
Bed liners can be of “under-the-rail” and “over-the-rail” types, which speak for themselves – they either protect the top of the rail or not. Under-the-rail liners create minimum troubles for installing bed accessories and so you may prefer these liners if you’re planning to add a tonneau cover.
With this sort of liners, all you may need to do is:
- trim the liner at the bulkhead in case it interferes with the chosen type of the cover;
- drill 2 or 4 holes if your cover uses mounts going through the bed walls (check out the manual or contact your tonneau cover manufacturer to be sure).
With over-the-rail liner providing more protection to the truck body, it remains a popular option. However, it creates a couple of problems when it comes to the tonneau or any other kind of bed covers, most of which use rails as mounting points.
In addition to the steps described above, what you may need to do in this case is remove the liner from where the cover mounts attach to the bed. It is important in order to ensure a secure installation and sufficient strength of the cover.
Overall, it’s a simple procedure that you normally can get done using nothing but a marker pen and a drill. But again, you should search for more accurate instructions depending on your truck’s make, model, year and the equipment you use to make sure you end up with a safe and lasting upgrade.