How To Install A Tonneau Cover ?

Tonneau covers come in various types and many specific models. These universal instructions will often suffice, but an unusual model or troubleshooting problem may require contacting the manufacturer. Soft covers are much easier to install than hard covers and can usually be installed by a non-expert in about an hour. Hard covers are heavy and difficult to install, so ask a friend or two for help about Tonneau Cover for Honda Ridgeline.

Part one of two: Installing the deck rails

Confirm that the cover is compatible with other parts. Bed liners, bed rail caps, and other additions may be incompatible with some covers. Check with the tonneau cover manufacturer if possible, or follow these general rules:

If a bed liner gets in the way during installation, just cut a notch where you need to put a clamp or other part of the lid.

If the bed liner rolls over the rails and your tarp cover sits between the rails (rather than over them), the two parts may not fit your truck.


Most bed rail covers will not affect installation, but diamond plate tray rail covers will prevent some covers from snapping or forming a tight seal. Open the tailgate. A closed tailgate can interfere with installation.

Place a side rail loosely over the bed rail. Most tonneau covers come with two side rails, which fit the top or side of the truck bed rails. Place a side rail flush with the front of the bed rail, next to the cab. Hold it in place temporarily with a spring clamp, or have an assistant hold it.

If your deck does not come with rails, the deck should have clamps that swing down from the bottom once the deck is in place. These covers are less stable and are not weather resistant, but they are easy to remove and reinstall.

If you have a retractable hopper cover, which comes in a container, you may need to attach it before attaching the rails. Place the container on the edge of the bed rails, next to the cab. Center this perfectly before placing the rails in the container.

Fasten the side bar in place next to the cab. Your installation kit should come with several barbed clamps. Take one of these and place it on the bottom of the side rail, near the cockpit. Align the clamp teeth with the grooves, then hand tighten. Tighten a few times with a wrench or socket wrench, just enough to feel it pressing against the bed rail.

Add shims if necessary. Look at the bottom of the railing. If there is any gap between the truck, place shims evenly along the bed rail to close the gap. These are plastic or rubber spacers that attach directly to the bed rail.

If there is a large gap (more than about ⅜ inches / 10 mm), you may need brackets. Loosen the rail, slide the shim brackets into the end, space them evenly, and replace the rail. [6] Your kit may not include brackets or may have clamps that attach with a slightly different design.

Attach additional clamps. Most installation kits come with eight clamps (four per side), but a short bed may only require 6 (3 per side). Attach these the same way the first clamp did, spacing evenly along the rails.

Some gentle barrel cover instructions recommend skipping this step all the way, so you can make final adjustments more easily. Don’t try this for a hard cover, it needs a signature. Repeat with the second rail. Install the second rail in the same way.

Adjust the rails until they are centered and flat. The two rails should be perfectly parallel to each other, in line with the bed rails, and as far back as possible. If necessary, loosen the clamp slightly and adjust the rails, then reattach. If a rail is tilted, lower or raise the clamp position, or press down on the raised end of the rail while tightening the clamp. Take your time in this step. The cover will not install properly if the rails are out of position.

If there is a gap between the bed rails and the cab, the side rails must not extend into this gap. The rails will not necessarily be level with the closed tailgate.

Tighten all clamps completely. Once you are sure the rails are properly aligned, finish tightening the front clamp on each rail with a wrench. Repeat with the other clamps, moving toward the rear of the truck.

Part Two of Two: Installing the Cover

Install rubber seals if included. Weather resistant covers should come with a rubber seal to fill the space between the cover and the cab. Clean this area with rubbing alcohol to make a good bonding surface. Peel off the backing paper and stick it in the cab between the two side rails, starting from the driver’s side. Cut off excess and discard.

Some tonutos come with additional seals for the sides or tailgate, and / or larger corner plugs to waterproof the rear corners.

Check for additional components. Some installation kits have components that may be easier to install before attaching the cover. Check your kit for the following:

Storage tapes, fed through holes in the cover. Tension adjustment screws, for hand tightening the cap. These generally attach to the side rails and can come pre-installed.

Hinged covers and some hard folded covers include a rod to hold the lid open. This should be snapped or screwed somewhere on one of the side rails, with the other end resting on a small cradle.

Place the cover on the rails. This will be much easier with two or more people, especially if the cover is hard or you lift your truck. Place the rolled or folded cover at the end of the rails, next to the cab. It should fit snugly on the rails, although you may need to push down to snap it into place. This should be perfectly centered and grooved on the side rails before proceeding.

If you cannot center the cover, put it back on the floor and readjust the rails. Hinged hard covers (a solid piece with no creases) are extremely heavy. They cannot be installed safely by one person. Use a forklift or several helpers.

Unroll or unfold the lid. Close the tailgate. Carefully unroll or unfold the cover until it reaches the tailgate, keeping it on the rails for its entire length. Make minor adjustments to cover the positioning until it is flush with the tailgate and cab end of the side rails.

Find a small hand-tightened screw in the rail to adjust the lid tension. It should be lying on your bed, covering it completely.

Screw the cover onto the rails. Depending on your model, the cover may have already hooked onto the rail while you were unfolding it. Most covers also come with riser bolts or other large bolts for additional support. Align the bolt holes in the cover with the bolt holes in the side rails, and securely tighten with the washers and nuts included in your kit.

Some covers have clamps or levers on the bottom, which are lowered to hold the cover against the side of the bed. Tighten all the clamps. Check all clamps on deck rails and tighten securely. Check all other attachment points to make sure the cover is firmly in place and cannot move or come loose.

Install the final components. Some barrel covers come with drain tubes to deflect rain, bumpers to protect your cab from bumps when a hard top is opened, or other optional components. If you have parts that you cannot identify in your installation kit, contact the manufacturer or a mechanic.


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