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Can You Put a Tonneau Cover on a Truck With Bed Rails?

As a truck owner and a driver, personally, I used to think that installing a tonneau cover with a truck with bed rails was not possible. Naturally, this meant I had to sacrifice the benefits of one to enjoy the other. 

However, that is not the case at all! In fact, you can achieve the maximum benefits by using both a tonneau cover and a truck with bed rails in tandem! 

So, can you put a tonneau cover on a truck with bed rails? Well, yes, you can! In fact, I will walk you through how to install and utilize both these together and get the best of both worlds! We will go through all the processes in detail so that there is no confusion.


Can You Use a Tonneau Cover With Bed Rails?

Yes, you can put a tonneau cover on a truck with bed rails. In fact, it gives you greater benefits and security when it comes to transporting anything on the truck bed.

Moreover, most tonneau covers are compatible with bed rails. Some might need some adjusting to fit properly, but both can be used in tandem.


Do You Need Bed Rails for a Tonneau Cover?

Having bed rails is not a requirement for tonneau cover installation. However, from experience and as a professional suggests, using bed rails can prolong the lifespan of tonneau covers. 

Moreover, having bed rails usually doesn’t interfere with the operations of a tonneau cover if it fits correctly.


How Do Truck Bed Rails Operate?

These metal bars running the length of the truck bed make for excellent upgrades for your trucks. In addition, it’s convenient to have these for long road trips, especially to protect the truck bed when larger objects might extend over the side. 

Moreover, these rails are designed to guard against dents and scratches to the truck bed that could happen during hauling freight.


Uses of Truck Bed Rails

Truck bed rails are widely useful, and coupled with a tonneau cover, it just adds the benefits. Some uses of truck bed rails are: 

Personal: When carrying larger personal objects, such as furniture or larger equipment, as well as sporting and recreational equipment such as kayaks, skis, and so on, truck bed rails come in handy. 

Commercial: Truck bed rails are lifesavers for Contractors who need to move around while tying down equipment such as ladders, machinery as well as supplies such as lumber and pipes.


Do All Tonneau Covers Work With Bed Rails?

Most tonneau covers work with bed rails with little to no interference. With the exceptions of some high-profile covers like the soft-tri folds, surface-mounted and certain roll-ups most of the bed rails are compatible. 

With that being said, the ones that are not compatible can be utilized by getting some modifications and adjustments done.


What Tonneau Covers Work With Truck Bed Rails?

Most tonneau covers work with truck bed rails given that they fit right with the exception of surface mount tonneau covers.

With any of the two types of bed rails, you can use any tonneau cover for your truck and adjust it to your liking. 

The 2 broad types of bed rails that work with most tonneau covers are: 

Heavy Duty Bed Rails: These bed rails work with tonneau covers of almost any design. They have a ledge that runs from the inside edge to the point where the tailgate joins the truck’s body.

In addition to tonneau covers, these bed rails are even compatible with toolboxes as well. Moreover, they are also quite convenient when it comes to storing a large number of accessories. 

Bed Rail Installation Kit: These bed rails perfectly complement any type of inside mount tonneau covers. The rail is simple to use as long as the top side of the cover does not extend more than half an inch over the upper side of the bed rail. 

In instances when an inside mount tonneau covers extend beyond the bed rail, then you can remove the extra metal rim so that it doesn’t get in the way.


Incompatibility With Surface Mount Tonneau Covers

Typically, bed rails are not compatible with surface mount tonneau covers. Therefore, a truck with a surface mount tonneau might need to get some readjustments done by a professional. 

To ensure the security and sturdiness of such tonneau covers, the best option is to mount it directly onto your truck while strictly adhering to the manufacturer’s directions.


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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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