Truck bed maintenance isn’t something you necessarily think about on a daily basis, but if you happen to haul with your pickup regularly, your truck bed takes a lot of abuse from the gear, cargo and general use—not to mention the fact that it may be exposed to year-round elements. Putting a little effort into keeping it in great shape can extend the life of your truck and help preserve value over time.
Consider a Bed Liner
One of the easiest truck bed maintenance tips is to have a bed liner installed. A bed liner fits over your truck’s steel bed and provides a direct layer of protection in the form of plastic, vinyl, or other polymers that act like a second skin. Some bed liners come preformed to the contours of your pickup, while others spray in and then harden so that they perfectly match your truck’s shape. As with most protective coverings, proper installation is the key. Make sure there’s no way for dirt or moisture to get under the cover once it’s in there.
Don’t Forget the Underside
Truck-bed maintenance doesn’t just mean taking care of the shiny side. The underside of your truck bed is exposed to an entirely different set of potential hazards, most notably the presence of corrosive elements like water and road salt, especially mixed together. Over time this can seriously rust out not just the bed panels themselves but also the bed supports that link it to your pickup’s frame. If you live in an area where winter weather means salt on the road, an undercoating or other water-displacing films should be added underneath your vehicle’s bed and chassis.
Cover It Up
Don’t want to get a bed liner? Looking for an all-weather hauling solution? A truck cap or tonneau cover can keep moisture out of your truck bed and protect not just your pickup, but also whatever you’re hauling. A cap is a large plastic or fiberglass “bubble” that fits over your truck bed, while a tonneau cover lies flat and can be made of vinyl or plastic, with one or several locking compartments built into it. The one you choose will be linked to the type of hauling you do with your truck and how much is in your budget to spend on a cap or tonneau.
Your truck bed takes a lot of abuse. Isn’t it worth protecting with the right maintenance?
Check out all the truck accessory products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on truck-bed maintenance, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.