Truck Bed Liners: 7 Tips For Buying The Right One
Bed liners might be the most popular truck accessory of all time. Truck owners love them for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is their role in protecting the shiny factory finish inside the truck bed. If you’re a new truck owner thinking about getting a bed liner, here are 7 truck bed liner buying tips for you:
1. It’s all about what you’re hauling. If you own an antique furniture business and you’re putting a bed liner in your delivery truck, a rug liner probably makes a lot of sense. It’s going to protect your cargo (furniture) while also protecting your truck. On the other hand, if you’re hauling drums of toxic waste, a spray-in bed liner with corrosion guarantee is the only way to go. In other words, the best liner for your truck is the best liner for your typical cargo.
2. Beware the do-it-yourself bed liner. From trim-to-fit rubber mats to truck bed liner “paints,” there are quite a few inexpensive do-it-yourself options. Some of these options are better than others, but the take-away here is that these home remedies often underwhelm…many of them are cheap for a reason. UPDATE: As Mickey commented below, he has had success with Herculiner. While we can’t vouch either way for Herculiner or any other do-it-yourself bed liner coating, it’s important to factor prep and installation time into the final cost. For example if your time is worth $30 an hour and it takes 4 hours to install a do-it-yourself bed liner, the total cost is higher than the initial $70 price.
3. Consider surface texture. There are five types of bed liners that are often used – plywood, rubber mats, molded plastic, carpet or “rug” mats, and a liner that’s a sort of thick, plasticized paint (like Linex or Rhino liners). Each type of liner has it’s own texture, and the differences can be important. Plastic liners, for example, are easy to slide across. If you do a lot of loading on your own, you might want a slippery surface to make your life a little easier. On the other hand, if you want things to stay put in your bed as you drive around, a rough spray-in texture might be better.
4. Every bed liner material has it’s advantages. Rubber absorbs more shock than any other type of liner material. Plastic does a nice job of protecting the truck bed from dents. Wood is cheap. Carpet mats are great for truck camping. Spray-on liners look great and stay out of your way. The bottom line is that every type of liner is worth considering – every material has it’s own strengths.
5. Think about bed liner cost as a long-term investment. Often times truck owners buy the bed liner that offers the lowest up-front cost. However, up-front cost should be weighed against long-term value. A spray-on bedliner, for example, is all but guaranteed to add $100-$300 value to your truck when it’s time to sell or trade it. A rubber mat, on the other hand, might actually hurt the value of your truck if rust has accumulated underneath.
6. Think about maintenance. Unless you opt for a spray-on bed liner, you’re probably going to want to pull your plastic liner / rubber mat / carpet liner / piece of plywood out of your truck once or twice a year and clean. If not, dirt and moisture can accumulate underneath and cause your bed to rust.
7. Talk to your local new car dealer. Often times you can get a deal on a bed liner (especially a spray-in liner) by asking your local dealership for a referral. Call the new truck manager at your favorite Toyota dealership (or Ford or Chevy or whatever) and ask them who they recommend. If you’re nice about it, you can sometimes find out what the dealer’s price is for the liner. If nothing else, you’ll find out the name of a local company that sells a lot of bed liners…which means they probably know what they’re doing.
Filed Under: Tundra Bed Liner