Bed Liner

It’s a great feeling driving a shiny new or gently used pickup truck off the vehicle lot and imagining all the materials you will haul in it. You might wonder how you will maximize the cubic feet of the bed and tackle all sorts of demanding projects. But, an untreated truck bed won’t look pristine for long as it’s susceptible to scuffs, scratches, and dents.  A bed liner is an aftermarket solution that helps protect your investment. These protective products come in three primary forms: mats, drop-in, and spray-on liners. Each option has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s crucial to understand how each one works, the level of protection it provides, and its overall cost. Another factor to consider is hiring a professional or installing the bed liner yourself to save money. This largely depends on the bed liner you choose, your budget, and how you plan to use your truck bed.

Mat, drop-in, or spray-on liner?

When examining the different options for bed liners, the first one to consider is a mat. These mats are comprised of rubber or carpet and lay across the bed’s floor. You’ll want to purchase one created specifically for your truck so it fits snugly around the wheel wells. The advantage of the mat bed liner is its lower cost, with options under $100, ease of removal, and ability to prevent cargo from sliding around. However, not all mats protect your tailgate, and the side walls of your truck bed remain vulnerable.

Drop-in liners are made from either rubber or rugged plastic and consist of two pieces: one for the tailgate and the other for the entirety of the bed. You can purchase a drop-in specifically molded to your truck model or utilize a universal version that fits most truck beds. Drop-in liners provide complete protection, including the side walls, from getting damaged during hauling, but the plastic material can cause items to slide during transport. This type of liner is more expensive than the mats, with options in the $200 to $300 range depending on features such as cutouts for lights and under vs. over-the-rail variations.

Spray-on liners are a more permanent solution that usually involves removing the original layers of paint from the bed and then coating the bed with a thick and coarse material designed to safeguard it. The spray-on layer is an excellent way to help prevent scratches, rust, and other surface damage from deteriorating the back of your truck. However, it is by far the costliest, coming in anywhere from the mid $300s to over $700, depending on your vehicle and the crew installing it.

Are bed liners only for protecting the truck bed from damage?

No, bed liners also help prevent cargo from shifting during transit, reducing the risk of damage to both the cargo and the truck bed. Additionally, they improve the appearance of the truck bed and can increase resale value by preserving its condition.

Can bed liners be customized or personalized?

Yes, some bed liners can be customized with colors, logos, and graphics to reflect personal style or brand identity. This option is particularly popular for spray-on bed liners, which offer endless possibilities for customization.

How do I maintain and clean my truck bed liner?

Maintenance and cleaning requirements vary depending on the type of bed liner. Spray-on liners require minimal maintenance but can be rinsed with water and mild soap if necessary. Drop-in liners and bed mats should be removed periodically for thorough cleaning to prevent debris buildup and potential damage to the truck bed.

Are bed liners compatible with other truck accessories, such as tonneau covers and toolboxes?

Yes, bed liners can be installed alongside other truck accessories such as tonneau covers, toolboxes, and bed extenders without any compatibility issues. In fact, they often complement each other by providing additional protection and functionality for the truck bed.

Can drop-in bed liners cause damage to the truck bed?

Drop-in bed liners have the potential to trap moisture and debris between the liner and the truck bed, leading to corrosion and abrasion over time. Proper maintenance and periodic removal for cleaning are recommended to prevent damage.

How is a spray-on bed liner applied?

A spray-on bed liner is typically applied by trained professionals using a specialized spray gun and protective equipment. The process involves cleaning and preparing the truck bed surface, masking off areas not to be coated, and applying multiple layers of the protective coating for optimal coverage and adhesion.