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How to Stretch a Shrunken Vinyl Tonneau Cover? [6 Easy Steps]

Cold weather or time will cause your vinyl tonneau cover to shrink. This can cause some complications as tonneau covers must surround the whole bed of your truck

So, if you ever end up with a shrunken vinyl tonneau cover, you need to stretch it out, and to do that, you need to know how to stretch a shrunken vinyl tonneau cover.

There are two methods of stretching your tonneau cover: using your hands or the machine. Stretching the tonneau cover using your hands is hassle-free but using the machine is easier.

So, it is your choice which method you will apply. Read ahead to find the two techniques you can follow to stretch your shrunken vinyl cover.


How to Stretch a Shrunken Vinyl Tonneau Cover?

Your tonneau cover always needs to be an exact fit with your truck bed. If you see that the center of your cover is sinking, it means your tonneau cover has shrunk and needs stretching. 

When your cover gets shrunk, and you do not stretch it out as soon as possible, then your truck bed will lock in moisture.

Your goods and tools won’t get protection from foul weather or thieves, and if you drive on a rocky road, your merchandise will keep falling out. 

So, you need to know how to stretch out your vinyl cover if it ever becomes shrunken. You can apply either method to stretch out your tonneau cover.

If you think you do not want to spend money on a machine, you can do it by hand. But if you want to finish the stretching process faster, you should use a machine.

I will help you learn how and when to stretch out your shrunken vinyl cover in today’s article.


Method 1: Stretching a Soft Vinyl Tonneau Cover Using Hand

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to stretch your shrunken tonneau cover using your hand.

Step 1: Prep the Area

Clean up all the dirt, dust, and lint from the top of your tonneau cover. You can use a cloth to wipe them down or a dust blower to get rid of them.

Step 2: Clean the Tonneau Cover

Use a sprayer to sprinkle water on your tonneau cover lightly. If you can find a vinyl polisher, you can rub it on the cover instead.

Doing this will make the cover more elastic and supple.

Step 3: Be Careful While You Work

Ensure you do not miss a spot when using the water or the polisher. Otherwise, your vinyl tonneau cover will not stretch properly.

Step 4: Sun Bathe Your Tonneau Cover

Put it down under direct sunlight. The heat from the sunlight will help your cover absorb all the water or the polisher.

As a result, your vinyl tonneau cover will loosen up and become more stretchable.

Step 5: Begin Pulling

Now start from one end of your cover and pull it out. Then go all the way around your vinyl cover and continue the process.

Always be careful not to pull it excessively. Otherwise, your cover will become too big for your truck bed and will not fit anymore.

Too much pulling will also destroy your vinyl cover.

Step 6: Install It

Finally, install your vinyl tonneau cover. You will find that the cover now fits perfectly, and there is no sagging in the middle.


Method 2: Stretching a Soft Vinyl Tonneau Cover Using Machine

Read below for a complete guide on how to stretch your shrunken tonneau cover using the machine.

Step 1: Remove the Tonneau

Remove the tonneau cover and settle it on flat ground.

Step 2: Place It Correctly

Ensure the front of your vinyl tonneau cover is faced upwards, and the back of your vinyl cover is downward.

Step 3: Match the Corners

Position the machine on top of your tonneau cover. Make sure the two corners at the front of the machine are placed exactly on top of the two front corners of the cover.

Step 4: Turn on the Machine

Turn on the machine carefully and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

Step 5: Let It Rotate

Now slowly rotate the machine on top of your vinyl tonneau cover. After a while, your cover will begin to stretch and loosen up.

Step 6: Turn off the Machine

If you have fully stretched out your cover, turn off the machine and take it back to its designated place.

Step 7: Check If It Fits

Place the cover on top of your truck bed to test whether or not the cover fits. If it still does not fit, then keep repeating step 5 until it does.


What Should You Remember When Stretching a Tonneau Cover?

You should not try to stretch out a tonneau cover that is not made out of stretch material such as hard plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass.

Trying to stretch these covers can break them. Only covers made from soft materials such as vinyl should be stretched out.

You should never rush when stretching out your tonneau cover. Go through the process slowly. Otherwise, your cover will crease in places.

Always start your stretching process when you have time on your hand because it can take from one to three hours for the whole stretching process.

So, start early and be patient.


Photo of author

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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