Customizing Your Truck: Installing Pickup Truck Accessories For Truck Beds

How to install bed accessories to personalize your truck.

In recent years many people have purchased pickup trucks. But, once you have a truck, you begin to realize you need to personalize it, make it more useful. There are many accessories for your truck bed to do just that. Some of the most popular are Bed Liners, Bed Rails and Bed Covers, as well as cargo nets and the such. Many of these are easy to install in your own driveway with a minimum of tools or knowledge.

Bed Liners

A bed liner will protect the bed of your truck from the scratches and mars that can turn to rust and shorten the life of your truck. Also a bed liner will protect your cargo from slipping around and being damaged.

There are two types of bed liners: Spray on and Drop in.

Generally, the spray on type is best if a professional applies it. This way you are assured of the quality of the product and the installation.

The drop in type, on the other hand, is very easy to install and will last a very long time, even under harsh conditions. These are made of a hard molded plastic. The liners are specifically designed to fit your year and model of truck. It comes in one piece and is attached to your truck by compression fasteners. Begin by placing the liner in the bed of the truck. Then match up the holes along the top of the bed liner with the square holes along the bed of the truck. Place the plastic fasteners in the holes and gently tap them in place. Secure them with the plastic screws to prevent slippage and you're done.

If you are unable to find a molded bed liner or you just don't want one for your truck, then you may want to opt for a soft rubber mat. These are like a heavy-duty bath mat and are very durable. To install, just unroll it into the bed of your truck.

Bed Rails

Bed rails are used to tie down items in the back as well as to protect the top of the bed. They are usually attached using the square holes on the side of the bed, with either compression fasteners or bolts and washers. Position the rails along the top of the bed to test the fit. Make sure the attaching points match up with the square holes.

If you are using the compression fasteners, for say the plastic bed rails, then line up the holes and gently tap the fasteners to attach them. Secure them with the plastic screws provided.

If you are using bolts and washers, be sure the rails fit over the square holes because it is always best to keep from drilling too many holes in your truck. The more holes you make, the more opportunities for rust to get in. Place the rails on the top, with the attaching points over the holes. Place the washer inside the square hole from the bottom and line up the bolt holes. Attach the bolts, down from the top. Secure them using the appropriate wrench.

Bed Covers

Bed covers come in two styles, the hard fiberglass trunk lid type or the soft canvas tonneau cover. Both are particularly useful when you want to carry items that you don't want damaged by the weather in your truck.

Fiberglass Trunk Lid

For the fiberglass trunk lid type of cover, you will need to drill holes in your truck. Review the instructions that accompany your lid for the appropriate size drill bit, proper placement and other important information. Always remember measure twice drill once.

Begin by attaching the hinges at the front of the bed with sheet metal screws, top to bottom. Then place the cover on the hinges, perpendicular to the truck and attach using sheet metal screws. Leave the cover up.

Attach the lifters to the cover first. A press fitting is usually used. Lower the cover. Check the placement of the lifters, inside the truck, usually inside the rail. Mark the screw holes.

Detach the lifters from the cover and return it to its perpendicular position.

Measure the screw holes again, just to make sure, and drill. Attach the lifters at the bottom using sheet metal screws.

Lower the cover and attach the lifters.

Close the cover and verify proper operation of the lock and hinges.

Canvas Tonneau Cover

The soft tonneau covers are a very good choice if you plan to carry large items that require more room, or if a trunk lid type is not available. Many of these are attached with thumbscrews and do not require drilling.

Generally, the soft covers require a frame to provide support for the cover as well as an attaching point. The frame is assembled and attached to the truck in the front and along both sides, with sheet metal screws. Be sure to measure the position of each screw carefully to avoid mistakes. The back of the frame is attached permanently to the cover.

Stretch the cover tight across the frame and attach it using either the heavy-duty Velcro or snaps provided.

Miscellaneous Truck Bed Items

Many people find that they need to tie things down inside their truck. They will use cargo nets, straps, rope, or whatever, so an anchor point would be a great help.

To add anchor points to the bed of your truck, select a large heavy gauge eye bolt with a short shank.

Determine where you want your anchor on the inside of the bed. Then crawl under the truck and verify that this placement will not interfere with electrical, gas, or drive lines. Above all make sure you won't be drilling into the gas tank.

Drill the appropriate size hole and place the bolt in the hole and the nut under the truck. Use a lock washer to prevent the nut from working loose.

Place as many of these as you would like, the more anchor points, the better.

There are many other accessories that you can add to your truck bed to increase its functionality and beauty. Whatever you choose, make your truck, your own.

© High Speed Ventures 2011