How do I make my roll-up tonneau cover last as long as possible?

A good tonneau cover is an important investment for a truck owner. We want you to get as much out of that investment as possible, which is why we offer these tips to protect your cover and extend your truck bed cover’s life.

  1. Keep your tonneau cover closed when not in use. Roll-up covers are designed to be used in the closed position most of the time but can be rolled open to transport large cargo. Avoid storing your tonneau in the rolled-open position for long periods of time to decrease the possibility of the cover’s interior components being damaged by the sun.
  2. Keep your tonneau tight. Tension matters. A tight tonneau cover will last, but a loose cover will wear out prematurely. Most tonneau covers have tension adjusters for fine-tuning; the vinyl should sound drum-like when tapped on. Also, always finish securing the truck bed cover by sealing the sides with the hook-and-loop system.
  3. Protect your tonneau cover. We treat our vinyl covers against UV damage, but the sun’s rays are relentless. We recommend periodically treating the cover with ACCESS® COVER CARE® Cleaner. This water-based spray conditions, cleans and protects any vinyl, leather or rubber surface but won’t leave an oily mess. Just spray and wipe your vinyl as needed to preserve your tonneau cover’s function and appearance.

Homesteaders enjoy our SNOWSPORT® HD Utility Plow

Last week, YouTuber Starry Hilder teased a little bit about getting our SNOWSPORT® HD Utility Plow for their homestead in the Pacific Northwest. Hilder promised a full review to come.

Over the weekend, Hilder uploaded this complete review of the plow with plenty of action by her husband, Mr. Hilder, on their 1/4-mile driveway. Watch and see what the homesteaders said.

Hit us with your questions about this GMC Canyon.

Thoughts?

I’ve seen folks asking online if anyone has a Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon, and what the new mid-size trucks are like.

Well, we have one. We also have tonneau covers for them.

If you want to know anything about our GMC Canyon, ask us in the comments section. We’ll do our best to get you an answer.

Check out the ACI Off-Road LED Lights lineup

These are the new ACI Off-Road LED Lights from Agri-Cover, Inc. If you need more light for nighttime work or travel off the beaten path, these lights are the solution.

All our LED lights are super-bright, are waterproof and feature aluminum housings and stainless-steel mounting brackets. They can be mounted on all sorts of vehicles, including ATVs, trucks, Jeeps, skid-steers and tractors.

LEDs are great for putting more light around a work or off-road vehicle for several reasons. They are more efficient than other lights, using a fraction of the power needed by incandescent lights. LEDs are also far more shock-resistant because they don’t use the fragile materials used in other lighting systems. Also, they last for a very long time, so you don’t have to worry about a bulb fizzling out when you’re a long way from home.

Before I start going into detail about these lights, there are a few terms  you’ll need to know:

Lumen: This gives you an objective number for just how much light something produces so you can compare it to other products.  For comparison, a 60-watt incandescent bulb puts out roughly 800 lumens of light, while your average basic car headlight puts out about 1,200 lumens.

Heatsink: LEDs do not like heat. That’s why any high-powered LED system will have metal fins and ridges on the back to pull the waste heat out of the LEDs and release it to the air.

Spot and Flood beams: These terms describe the shape of the beam formed by a light. A spot beam will focus the light tightly into a narrow shape for lighting things farther away, while a flood beam spreads the light out into a wide shape to light an area closer to you.

Now, let’s look at these lights.

 18-watt LED Lights

These lights have six 3-watt LEDs in a single row. They produce 1,200 lumens per light. You can get them with a 90-degree flood beam or a 25-degree spot beam.

The narrow shape makes it easy to install these lights in tight spaces. See how well they fit the front of this ATV, for example:

We put a pair of the 18-watt lights on this Polaris Ace and went for a drive. Take a look and see how much of a difference there is between the stock headlights and when we turn on the LEDs:

 

24-watt LED Lights

These lights have eight 3-watt LEDS arranged in a circle. They produce 1,600 lumens per light. You can get them with a 60-degree flood beam or a 30-degree spot beam.

These LED lights work great for lighting the way ahead, or for doing work around your vehicle. Here are a set of them mounted in a truck’s headache rack, pointed backward, to light up the area behind the truck for working after dark.

 

42-watt LED Lights

These lights are slightly larger than the 24-watt lights, and you’ll notice they have an even thicker heatsink. These lights have 14 3-watt LEDs in a circle and produce 2,800 lumens per light. They come with either a 60-degree flood beam or an 8-degree spot beam.

These lights are considerably more powerful than your average vehicle’s headlights, and a set of them would easily light the way for a trail ride. Check out how well they fit on this Jeep’s bumper.

 

90-watt LED Lights

These lights feature nine 10-watt LEDs in a 3×3 grid, and they produce 8,100 lumens per light.

Let’s put that number in perspective:  If you put two of these lights on your vehicle, they’ll draw as much power as three 60-watt bulbs, but they’ll put out more light than if you had twenty 60-watt bulbs.

You can order these lights with a 90-degree flood beam or a 10-degree spot beam. You’ll also notice they have huge heatsinks, and the mounting brackets have built-in rubber shock absorbers to handle rough travel.

These lights perform well when you need to get work done at night. They come in really handy on skid-steers and on agricultural equipment.

Here are the 90-watt lights on a skid-steer, for example.

And here is the view from the cab of an agricultural sprayer that has the 90-watt lights pointed at the ground and the boom.

For more information, check out our website. We have technical specifications, wiring information and more.

Can I install a tonneau cover on a Ram truck with the RamBox package?

Ram Trucks has offered its RamBox Cargo Management System with its trucks since the 2009 model year. This package turns the area over the wheelwells into locking storage for smaller items. The system also adds a cargo rail system and bed divider to the main portion of the bed.

Many truck buyers will want to add a tonneau cover to protect larger pieces of cargo in the main bed, and there’s no reason they can’t have it.

We make versions of the ACCESS® Original, LITERIDER, LORADO and LIMITED Roll-Up Covers for RamBox beds (both 5’7” and 6’4” beds). Because of the cargo rail system, installing one of these covers on a RamBox-equipped Ram truck requires some special steps. This is why we have special instructions for these trucks. You’ll want to use these instructions in conjunction with the owner’s manual to your cover (All our owner’s manuals and special instructions are available for download on this page).

As you can see in this video, the installation isn’t too complicated.

You just remove the cargo rails and replace the bolts with longer ones that also add clamps and nylon spacers in certain locations. You can see each step in detail in this video.

The cover in this particular video is our ACCESS® Limited Roll-Up Cover, but the steps work for any cover made for trucks with the RamBox system.

There are many other truck bed accessories you can add to a truck with the RamBox system. For example, this truck was also outfitted with our ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat. It also has our ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light, which comes included for free with the Limited Roll-Up Cover.

For more information or to find a dealer near you, go to http://www.accesscover.com.

Can I put a tonneau cover on a leased truck? Yes. Here’s why

We recently heard from a pickup driver who wanted a tonneau cover from us but was afraid to get one because the customer’s vehicle is a leased truck. The customer feared adding any sort of accessories to the truck would violate the lease agreement.

I contacted two local experts on leasing pickups and other vehicles, and they both said people who lease trucks would be fine adding a tonneau cover like our ACCESS® Original Roll-Up Cover.

There are several reasons a driver might want to lease a pickup instead of buying one, according to James Morris, finance and lease manager at R.M. Stoudt, and Steve Jaskoviak, finance manager at Don Wilhelm, Inc., which are both dealerships here in Jamestown, North Dakota.

Morris said people and companies who lease pickups instead of purchasing them can get more truck for the money. This is because the monthly payment for leasing a particular vehicle is usually much less than the monthly loan payment for buying the same make and model.

Jaskoviak said that when you lease a truck, you also can trade it in every two or three years and then lease a brand-new pickup with new, upgraded technology.  It also means that if a pickup develops problems that make it less desirable as a long-term work truck or personal truck, a lessee can walk away from it at the end of the lease contract’s term.

When choosing accessories for a truck, it’s important to choose ones that can be completely uninstalled and don’t require permanently altering the vehicle.

“Alterations in suspension, engine will affect a leased vehicle,” Jaskoviak said. “Since the leasing company is the actual owner they do not let a lessee do dramatic alterations to the core of the vehicle.”

With the exception of some specialized applications, ACCESS® Roll-Up Covers do not require any permanent modification of a truck. They attach to a truck’s bed rails using TITE BITE™ clamps that attach to the bed without drilling and maintain a superior grip between the truck bed cover and the bed.

“I lease my truck now and have a tonneau,” Morris said. “I will probably put it on my next truck. It is a none-issue as I have leased a lot of trucks with tonneau covers.”

Make sure that you take all the correct steps if you’re installing a tonneau cover yourself. Take your time; a rushed install could lead to mistakes that damage the truck, your cover, or you (or all of the above). Here is a video that shows all the steps to installing an ACCESS® Brand Roll-Up Cover:

Here’s a review of our tonneau covers from one customer who leased his truck, Ken P. in British Columbia, Canada:

Just wanted to write a review about the quality and how well suited your tonneau cover it is for people needing quick access to the box. I have just ordered my third cover as I lease my trucks for 3 years. One Long box Ford, one short box Chevy and now a tiny box Toyota. At first I was skeptical that a Roll-up cover would stand up to our harsh Northern BC winter climate but I wanted something that I could easily get out of the way when throwing the sled or garbage cans in the back. The Access cover is fast, easy and always tight. After 3 years in our harsh weather they still look great. I have been very happy with the Access tonneau cover. 

But even if an accessory requires some sort of modification to the vehicle, or if you still feel anxious about an accessory for a lease truck, you always have the option of speaking with the leasing company and asking if a particular accessory would cause any problems for you down the line.

It will be the easiest if you do this while negotiating the terms of the lease. If you have the company’s blessing in writing, then you know for certain that an accessory won’t hurt you when the time comes to turn the lease pickup back in.

Also, if you choose to buy the leased truck after the term ends, you don’t have to worry about your accessories or modifications.

Lastly, you might want to look at accessories that could protect the truck from costly damage in the long term. One suggestion is our ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat.

If you’re leasing your truck to carry materials that could scratch or dent the bed — like gravel or tools with sharp edges — you risk damaging your work truck’s bed and paying for the damage when you turn the truck in.

The ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat is a thick carpet is made from 100% recycled soda and water bottles. It installs easily in a few minutes and adds durability to any bed, cushioning the force of dropped cargo and keeping materials from shifting around. If it gets dirty, just spray it off with a power washer.

If you do install this carpet on a lease truck, make certain you use the adhesive snaps included with the kit and not the drill-in snaps, which could affect your lease.

When it comes time to turn in the leased truck, use the flat end of a flathead screwdriver placed just under the edge of the snap and a small wood shim to pry against. The snap will pop off either taking the adhesive with it or leaving the adhesive on the truck. In the latter case, just use your thumb to roll it off.

How did the polar vortex affect our tonneau covers?

Pretty much the entire U.S. has been bathed in cold air this week thanks to a blast of arctic air coming south from way up north.

Here at our factory in Jamestown, North Dakota, it was 15 degrees below zero Monday afternoon when I filmed this spot:

You see, our tonneau covers are made with vinyl that’s made to remain flexible down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold days like today are normal days for our covers.

This cold isn’t so normal for electronics, however. I recorded this with a tablet that had a full battery when I went outside but, after I came back indoors, the battery was failing!

Two SnowSport customers show off their plow rigs

We’ve heard from a pair of SnowSport® owners this week. They shared shots of their plow rigs and told us about how they’re using their SnowSport® HD Utility Plows.

First up is Mike W. in Michigan. Check it out.

Photo courtesy of Mike W. in Michigan

Mike says:

“Not a lot of snow in Michigan, but the rubber cutting edge lets ya plow the yard so the kids can play!”

Second up is Bobby C. in Massachusetts.  After seven years of clearing snow with snowblowers, Bobby got a SnowSport HD Utility Plow to clear his 200-foot driveway. Here is the plow on his Jeep:

Photo courtesy of Bobby C. in Massachusetts

Here’s what Bobby had to say:

“Today was our first winter storm of six heavy inches of snow. My snow removal has normally taken about three hours with my two snow blowers running, I got a 7′ Snowsport for my ’06 Jeep Wrangler this year and I plowed out in under an hour while in my Jeep with heated seats and listening to the Acoustic Sunrise on the radio. Totally warm and relaxed. This plow worked unreal. I should have got the plow seven years ago. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! It was no strain on the Jeep.”

If your trailer is worth protecting, consider these mud flaps

So you’ve got a trailer, huh? What is it, a boat? Camper? Toy hauler? Something else?

Whatever it is, I bet it wasn’t cheap.

If you’re lucky, you’ve been spared any serious rock damage. If you’re not lucky, you’ve got some dings and marks in your trailer’s finish, or maybe a few repair bills.

Maybe you’re really unlucky like a member of my family who was towing his classic camper a couple of years ago when his tire threw a rock into the camper’s front window, shattering it. Worse, the force of the wind blowing through the new hole was enough to bust the camper’s side door open, warping the door frame.

In any case, I imagine you’d like to prevent any future rock damage to your trailer or cargo.

Here’s your solution: You need some solid mud flaps, like these:

These are the ROCKSTAR™ hitch-mounted mud flaps. We make them here at Agri-Cover, Inc., in Jamestown, N.D.

These mud flaps mount to a 2” receiver hitch. They install in very little time and require no drilling. The flaps are thick with half an inch of rubber standing guard between your trailer and rock damage. The rubber has a smooth finish to resist mud and ice buildup.

The custom frame’s shape contours to the curves of a pickup’s bumper. It comes in smooth, mill-finish aluminum or bright diamond plate. Either way, the frame will never rust.

The frame also features a built-in stabilizer plate that keeps the ROCKSTAR™ mud flaps level with the truck’s bumper. It has openings for access to pins and wiring for trailer lights and brakes.

Here is a video that details how to install a set on your pickup:

We’ve got more information and photos about these mud flaps here on our website. You can also place an order for some ROCKSTAR™ hitch-mounted mud flaps and have a set coming your direction right away.

Visit our website to Buy Now

Read what a customer in Washington state has to say about our ACCESS® VANISH® Roll-Up Cover

Todd A. in Washington

Todd A. in Washington state sent us these photos of his 2000 GMC Sierra equipped with an ACCESS® VANISH® Roll-Up Cover.

Here’s what Todd said about his experience with this tonneau cover:

“This is the best upgrade I’ve done to my truck. Purchased in 2009. I’ve had 8 inches of snow and zero leaks. I can roll up in an instant to load large items with ease and place under the cover and not worry because this cover keeps the elements out. I live in the Pacific North West and I have tested this throughly. I will always own an ACCESS cover because they are the best.  It is nice to be driving around town and if I want to stop at the gravel or topsoil/ bark pit I can just pull up and roll up and the loader can dump in and off I go. Thank you.”

Normally, we blur out the license plate when sharing customers' photos. Todd, however, had a better idea.