Wondering how to measure the truck bed for a tonneau cover? The good news is that we have got a few quick ways to help you out. But before we dig deeper into the sizing, let us tell you one thing; it’s easy-peasy, not rocket science. After reading this post, you will be ready for buying the tonneau cover for your truck.
Of course, you can check your truck’s manual to see the factory measurements. But you want to wash off any uncertainty of going wrong. And the best way to do so is to do it the old way. We will grab the measuring tape, play with it, and get military-level precision.
Are you ready? Okay. Let’s get started without further ado.
5 Steps to Measure Your Truck Bed for Tonneau Cover
The process of measuring your truck bed for tonneau cover isn’t that long or complex. It’s just that we have divided the process into 5 practical steps to make things easier and quicker.
Use the measuring tape and stretch it from the bulkhead of your truck to the inside edge of the tailgate. Measure the width and depth of your truck bed. And convert inches into feet or centimeters.
Confused? No worries, let’s walk you through the entire process step-by-step.
1. Determine the Length of Your Truck Bed (With Tailgate Closed)
Ask a friend to help in stretching the tape to determine the length of your truck bed. Stretch it from the front left corner to the back-left corner of your truck bed. We should do it on the inside of the truck.
When you measure the length of your truck, the tape should not sag in the middle. It should run in a straight line. Determine the length now and write the measurement on a piece of paper.
2. Measure the Width of Your Truck Bed
Now is the time for you to measure the width of your truck bed so you can get the right tonneau cover. Let your friend hold one end of your tape. Stretch it inside of your truck bed’s front corner. Pull the tape until it reaches the inside of another front corner.
Do we need to tell you once again that the tape should be in a straight line? If the wheel wells are on the inside of the bed, measure the distance between them too. It makes your decision even wiser to go for a particular tonneau cover.
3. Get to know the Depth of Your Truck Bed
We know you will not push the tonneau cover down there. But you really need to determine the depth of your truck bed to have exact sizing. Keep the tape in the parallel direction to make sure it’s a straight line. You have measured the truck bed for the tonneau cover by now.
The next steps and sections will guide you through choosing the right-size tonneau cover. But you might want to dig deeper so you have no confusion at all. Record the measurement as ‘depth’ and move on to the next step.
4. Convert the Feet into Centimeters
You want to measure your truck bed for a tonneau cover, and that’s why you need to measure its infractions. Why? It’s because you want to have precision in the measurement. Get to know its dimensions infractions.
Divide the number of inches by 12 to get something like 6.2 feet measurement. If you would like to go for a metric system, divide the total number of centimeters by 100. There are many suppliers of tonneau covers who round off the measurements.
For example, if your truck bed is 5.4 feet, go for a 5.5-foot tonneau cover.
5. Find Your Truck’s Payload Capacity
And that brings us to the last step of measuring the truck bed and that is; determining the hauling capacity. First, you need to find your truck’s GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating).
It’s the weight your truck can easily carry, including the weight of the truck itself. It also includes the weight of passengers, if any. Determine the weight of your truck separately. You can find it in your user’s manual.
Or you can take it to a local garage or weigh station. But how do you calculate your truck’s payload capacity? Well, there’s a simple formula for that.
Payload Capacity = Truck Weight – GVWR
Yes, all you need is to minus the GVWR from the truck’s weight. And that’s just it. But to make your decision even wiser, have a look at these questions below.
Ask Yourself These Questions to Make Things Easier
These questions will help you measure the truck bed and get the tonneau cover according to your needs.
Why Do You Need A Tonneau Cover?
It’s important to know the primary purpose for adding a tonneau cover to your truck. What exactly are you looking for? Is it versatility or looks? Or you really want to increase your truck’s functionality and security.
These reasons will help you get the right-size tonneau. For example, if you want to go for looks only, you might go for a soft cover and think a little about it. But you still need to measure your truck bed accordingly.
Hard or Soft Tonneau Cover?
The soft tonneau covers are usually made from either vinyl, canvas, or polyester. They’re durable and protect your cargo from UV rays. And yes, they’re affordable, easy to operate and fit well.
Also, they offer a very smooth and uniform look and feel overall. But they’re less secure and durable than hardcovers. On the other hand, hard tonneau covers are usually made from metals, fiberglass, or hard plastics.
They have better security and are heavy-duty. But they’re more expensive than the soft tonneau covers. The good news is that you can customize them to showcase your personality and passion. But they’re heavy and might not fit well until you really calculate your truck bed.
How Often Do You Rush to Your Truck Bed?
Do you really need quick and more access to your truck bed? Both hard and soft tonneau covers are available in folding. They have retracting and hinging designs as well. Most of them offer tailgate access on the go.
We recommend going for softer covers and measuring your truck bed accordingly if you often rush to your truck bed. Hard tonneau covers are really difficult to move fully. The soft tri-fold tonneau covers are perfect to go for if you’re a newbie.
Who Will Install the Tonneau Cover?
You can install the tonneau cover in 30 minutes to 1 hour, even if you have limited mechanical or technical skills. Asking that ‘who will install the cover’ is important because then you don’t have to ensure the right sizing.
A professional person will handle the work for you. But if you are like us, get your hands dirty. And thus you need a tonneau cover with military-level precision.
Will You Use the Top of the Bed Rails?
Why is this question important? It’s because the depth of your truck bed will affect the usage of the tonneau cover. If you have a lifted pickup, you might avoid folding or hanging covers. They’re challenging to use since your truck is tall.
And you will end up getting onto the tailgate to operate the cover. You also need to see the bed liner of your truck to see if you will face some considerable issues managing your cover. Last but not least point is to consider whether you will use the top of the cover for any purpose or not.
Summary of Measuring Truck Bed for Tonneau Cover
Measuring the truck bed for the tonneau cover is not that challenging. But you always want to make sure your decision is wise. And you also don’t want to waste your time and money.
Or do you? That’s why we have given here the quick yet detailed process to do so. Let’s summarize it.
- Determine the length of your truck bed
- Measure its width
- Get deep to its depth
- Convert the measurements into fractions
- Find your truck’s payload
The measurement also needs you to ask yourself a few questions that we have discussed earlier. Don’t worry about the exact measurements. Why? It’s because most trucks are usually 1-2 feet apart from each other. We really hope you know how to measure truck bed for a tonneau cover by now. Ask questions in the comments, if you still have them.