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How to Do a Bed Liner Installation

Back view of a red pickup truck parked near the ocean

Bed liner can protect your truck’s cargo area from the punishing effects of environmental hazards like harsh sunlight and corrosion. In so doing, it can keep your truck looking like new and help preserve its value. One way to simplify bed liner installation is to use the roll-on variety.

Installing roll-on bed liner is a straightforward process, but it can be tedious. It can take an hour or more, depending on the condition of your truck bed. You’ll need the following items:

  • bed liner kit (make sure this contains a scuffing pad, a paintbrush, a roller and bed liner).
  • Pressure washer.
  • Cleaning solvent.
  • Washcloth.
  • Automotive degreaser.
  • Towel.
  • Painter’s tape.
  • Newspaper.

Step 1: Clear Away Dirt and Grime With a Pressure Washer

Use a pressure washer to blast the truck bed with water, paying attention to every groove and cranny. Remove as much debris and grease as you possibly can.

Step 2: Clean the Truck Bed

Start cleaning your truck bed with a solvent and washcloth. If the bed has portions that are caked with grease, use an automotive degreaser to loosen the grime. This step can be a chore, so you might be tempted to skip it, but doing so would be a bad idea. Cleaning the truck bed is an essential part of the process. If portions of the bed aren’t properly cleaned before you apply the liner, it will prevent the product from adhering in a consistent way across the entire surface. This could eventually cause the liner to peel.

Step 3: Sand the Bed

Use a scuffing pad to sand the bed’s surface. Scratching the surface area in this way will make it easier for the liner to bind to the truck bed. Be aggressive in your efforts, but don’t go so far as to wear down the bed in a way that changes its basic shape.

Step 4: Clean the Truck Bed a Second Time

The sanding will leave debris on the truck bed. Use the cleaning solvent and washcloth to clear this grime. Don’t skip this process either, as it may compromise the liner’s ability to stick to the truck bed.

Step 5: Dry the Bed

Use a towel to dry all moisture from the truck bed.

Step 6: Apply Painter’s Tape and Lay Down Newspaper

Use painter’s tape to cover all areas of the truck bed that you don’t wish to paint. For larger areas, use newspaper to protect the bed from paint.

Step 7: Install the Bed Liner

Use a roller and paintbrush to install the bed liner. Since you’ve cleaned and sanded the bed, this step should be a breeze. Try to apply the liner in one direction using long strokes. Don’t get too obsessive about roll and brush marks, since these will typically fade once the paint dries.

A truck bed withstands lots of abuse over its lifetime. By installing a bed liner, you can help prevent your truck’s cargo area from rusting, warping and cracking.

Check out all the bed liner products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on bed liner installation, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.


Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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