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Ask an Expert 2 – Submit your Q!

10 Jul News and Promotions | Comments Off on Ask an Expert 2 – Submit your Q!
Ask an Expert 2 – Submit your Q!

I’ve heard a tonneau cover for a truck bed can save gas, and pay for itself. Is this true?

It is true that a tonneau cover can reduce the drag, or improve the aerodynamic efficiency of your pickup truck. NASCAR racing trucks use tonneau covers with flaps, demonstrating the myth that removing the tail gate reduces drag is untrue. Wind tunnel tests indicate a cover section abutting the tailgate is most effective. This is why newer trucks have a plastic cap or flat tail gate top.

nascar using tonneaus with flaps

However, the improved aerodynamics of a tonneau cover does not translate into a savings in fuel that can pay for a tonneau cover over the normal life of the truck.

For example, a sleek custom painted fibreglass tonneau cover weighs in excess of 100 pounds. This is extra weight that off sets a portion of the aerodynamic fuel saving of a tonneau cover. Lighter weight canvas covers, on the other hand defect or buffet as the turbulence rolls over the truck bed, loosing aerodynamic efficiency. There is a trade-off with every tonneau cover.

Therefore, you should not base the purchase of a tonneua cover on possible fuel savings. You should buy a tonneau cover for other purposes. A tonneau cover closes a truck bed to secure the contents from weather and theft or for safety.

There are three categories of tonneau cover to meet your needs. A custom fit fibreglass cover is the most secure and water tight, and restyles the cosmetic look of the truck. Roll-up hard covers have side rails affixed to top of the truck bed and withdraw into a canister to provide an open truck bed. A wide variety of removable and folding covers are also available at a lower range of costs.

Your selection of a tonneau cover should be based upon your lifestyle and practical needs. Most truck accessory dealers have an in-store display of each type of tonneau cover available for your truck, and can assist you in pricing out the best solutions and options.