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Can You Drive With a Tonneau Cover Fully or Partially Open?

When your vehicle has cargo behind it, and you want to keep it safe, your only option is a tonneau cover. The tonneau cover may not be able to be fully closed if the cargo is quite large.

But can you drive with a tonneau cover open? Well, you can actually go with an open tonneau cover. But, for that, you need to follow some steps and understand the condition. 

In this article, I will try to answer the questions you have in your mind. And I will walk you through every step of the process so that you may safely drive with an open tonneau cover on your vehicle.


Can You Drive Your Truck With a Tonneau Cover Open?

You may find it advantageous to have an open tonneau cover for a number of different purposes.

When you need to carry large or tall items, you may be unable to remove the tonneau cover altogether. Just open the tonneau cover and get on your way.

However, you must first choose the type of tonneau cover you want before making a final choice. Based on this, you will be able to determine the maximum speed at which you may go and whether it is secure enough.

This would also impact what restrictions you may face while driving with the tonneau cover open.

There are mainly three types of tonneau covers. They are:


Can You Drive with a Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover Open?

The hardcover is a bit tricky and also gives you multiple choices. As the name suggests, you can fold it up to three times, depending on your situation.

When you fold the first section, you will generally have 18 inches of an open bed. There are two conditions, though. One is that the first section cannot be locked, and another is that you must drive at 35mph or less.

If you fold the second one, then you will have 36 inches of the truck bed. A plastic clip with a nylon strap locks the cover in this position. Finally, you will have no problem driving on the highway.

If you fold the final part, your truck bed will be almost entirely exposed to the sky. There will only be 8 inches of the bed covered.

Unfortunately, there is only one issue: because the cover has completely covered the back window, you won’t be able to view your cargo there.


Can You Drive With a Hinged Tonneau Cover Open?

The straight-cut answer is, No! Do not dare to try. If your tonneau cover is foldable or rolled up, you can only keep it open and drive. 

But if you do it while driving with a hinged or half-open tonneau cover, you are making yourself open to a dangerous level of risks.


Can You Drive With a Fiberglass Tonneau Cover Open?

You can open a large part of your truck bed if you are using fiberglass covers. It is going to give you the chance to free two/third portions of your truck bed.

This means you can easily open 4 feet out of your 6.5 feet truck bed.  However, the material is not load-bearing and can only carry light weights.


Can You Drive With a Tonneau Cover Partially Open?

It is not illegal to drive with an open tonneau cover. But the driver needs to pay attention while securing the load in the bed.

We have talked about other tonneau covers. As for a one-piece cover, remember that it can only be fully closed or fastened from the bottom with a bungee cord strapped to it.

However, you are free to leave it open for a short trip while driving at no more than 25 mph.

Although this tonneau cover is the most secure, the one drawback is that it prevents you from using your truck bed entirety. Because, even if it is fully open, the cover will be inclined, and you cannot carry tall items back of your truck.


Can You Drive With a Soft Tonneau Cover Partially Open?

It is only possible to roll up this sort of cover. Only two possibilities are available. Either it is closed all the way or open all the way. When it is fully opened, a plastic clip and nylon strap can easily lock it.

With this cover fully open, you won’t have a problem driving on the highway. In addition, the cover is rolled up rather than folded so that you can see the back of your truck without problems.


Should You Drive With a Tonneau Cover Open?

No one is stopping you from driving with an open tonneau cover but remember that you are prone to many types of risks out there.

So, before we move to the next segment, let’s discuss what kind of risk you may face for your open tonneau cover:

Losing Items: It is possible that the cargo in the back of your vehicle might fall out of the truck while you are going at full speed or on a bumpy, rough road.

So, if you intend to leave the tonneau cover open, be sure you have taken adequate precautions to safeguard your goods.

No Protection From the Weather: When it comes to Mother Nature, nothing can be predicted. An unexpected shower, hail, or snowfall may ruin your trip in a blink.

Even if you close the tonneau cover to protect your cargo, the harm will be done already.

Lack of Security:

When you are carrying cargo or something valuable, it is mandatory for you to protect it. Your cargo’s safety is in jeopardy when the tonneau cover is open.

Especially if your goods are valuable, they are at significant risk of being stolen.


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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief at F150Lab

Kevin Shaw has a vast knowledge of pickup trucks, especially the Ford F150. He has been doing various DIY fixes, upgrades, and modifications to pickup trucks for more than five years now.

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