Truck owners invest in a truck bed liner for multiple reasons. Truck bed liners protect the truck bed from rust and deterioration as well as from physical damage due to hauling heavy gear and abrasive materials that can cut and scrape the truck bed. Truck bed liners also provide surface grip, which can keep people and items from sliding around in the back of your truck.
Scratches and scrapes may not be a big deal when the primary use of a truck is for hauling heavy material around. What can be detrimental, however, are punctures. If your truck bed gets punctured and there are holes in the truck bed, you’ve got problems. Now you’re transporting sand or dirt and you’re leaving a trail behind you as you’re moving down the highway. You also have to worry about materials falling through the truck bed and ending up somewhere they don’t belong, possibly damaging your truck in other areas. As you can see, truck bed liners are paramount, and choosing the right one for your truck is a crucial decision in which a little research can go a long way. Spending slightly more money up front could end up saving you a great deal of money in repairs down the road.
Know Your Options
There are two different styles of truck bed liners. There is a spray-on version, which is a polymer spray that adds a layer of protection to your truck bed. There is also a drop-in version, which is typically a hard shell of plastic that is shaped to fit perfectly in the bed of the truck. Each option has drawbacks and perks. The spray-on liners have become the more popular choice in recent years as truck owners trade in their pickups more frequently than ever, so a permanent installation is not as much of a commitment as it used to be.
Drop-in liners may seem like the right choice. The hard plastic shell looks tough and durable. It is easy to install. All you need are a few bolts and you’re ready to roll. The problem is that most drop-in liners do not have an airtight seal. This can become a problem when dirt, sand and other materials build up between the liner and the truck bed, possibly causing corrosion and permanent damage to your truck bed.
The spray-on version is preferred by many truck owners. Not only does the spray-on version offer an airtight seal, it also makes the clean-up process after a hard day’s work (simply hose down the truck bed after use) a cinch. Carpet liners are hard to keep clean and start to mildew and deteriorate over time. You would think that the thinness of a spray-on liner wouldn’t do much in the form of protection from scratches, scrapes, dents, and punctures, but the polymer spray coat is actually very durable and hard to penetrate. The spray-on liners also do not slide around as you’re trying to load in or load out. These liners do not need bolts, so no holes need to be drilled into the truck bed to install the liner. They are available in a wide range of colors to customize the look of your truck bed. The only downside to spray-on liners is that once you’ve sprayed it on, there’s no taking it off or replacing it; you’re stuck with the liner you chose. Since most spray-on liners are super durable, that shouldn’t be too big of an issue. However, the liners can stain. One big paint spill and your truck bed liner is permanently pink.
Rhino Lining is one of the most popular brands in the industry, touting nearly 30 years’ experience and expertise. Rhino Lining makes corrosion resistant polymer spray-on liners that protect against hazardous spills and surface damage. They are impact and abrasion resistant, so even if you’ve got to haul a truck full of rocks and are worried about your truck bed taking a hit, Rhino Lining’s spray-on truck bed liner can take a licking and keep on kicking.
Another quality brand with great reviews is Husky Liners. Their truck bed liners are not spray-on or drop-in liners, but an installable polymer lining that attaches to your truck bed with Velcro. The material it’s made out of is called Ultra-Fiber ™ and is said to be ultra-soft to the touch but incredibly durable and sturdy to protect your truck bed from scratches and dents. Husky guarantees that their liners will protect your truck bed from the most corrosive of materials, from battery acid to bleach. The Ultra-Fiber ™ liner is also water resistant, so you can just hose off the bed after a long day of dirty work to get your truck bed looking as good as new again.
Husky and Rhino are just two of the top brands that make truck bed liners. BedRug makes a truck bed liner that is a custom carpet mold. WeatherTech makes a drop-in liner that is custom fit for different size truck beds. Black Armour makes a heavy duty bed mat that weighs 100 pounds. If you are hauling heavy building materials such as stone or brick, that could easily put major dents in your truck bed, Black Armour’s bed liner may be right for you.
Choosing the Right Liner
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when deciding what kind of truck bed liner is right for you. What kind of materials are you going to be hauling? How often are you going to clean out your truck bed? Do you use a covered awning, carport or garage, or is your truck going to be exposed to the elements more often than not? How important is an airtight seal to you and the way you are going to use your truck? What kind of budget are you working with for your bed liner? Are you going to be happy with your truck bed liner in a few years, or wish you had made a different choice?
If you are unsure of the answer to those questions or if you need help deciding between drop-in and spray-on truck bed liners, you should consult the help of a technician. There are pros and cons to every truck bed liner option.