How to Choose the Right Liner for Your Truck

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How to Choose the Right Liner for Your Truck

Part of the joy of owning a truck is the ability to transport virtually anything, anywhere. Whether for commercial or personal purposes, pickups are the workhorses of the vehicle world, hauling lumber, bricks, furniture, heavy machinery, and much more on a daily basis. But doing so can take its toll on the bed of a truck: all that labour can leave its traces in the form of corrosion and scratches, dings and dents. Installing a truck bed liner is an excellent way to help protect a truck bed from damage. These liners, which come in various types and sizes, add a tough layer of protective material that can stand up to rough, heavy, and corrosive materials.

When choosing a bed liner, consumers need to weigh several factors, including available finances, product type and quality, style considerations, and whether they want a permanent or removable liner. Informing themselves of their choices and researching individual products helps them find the perfect bed liner for their truck.

Setting a Budget

Truck liners come in a range of prices, from basic, affordable versions to costlier, deluxe liners. While the quality of the liner is something that is a worthwhile investment, extra features may be choices that those on a more limited budget can do without. Researching the current price range for truck bed liners in advance helps consumers get a realistic picture of what they can expect to pay, and also help them set a reasonable price range for their particular truck liner. Installation costs are another factor for certain types of liners. Buyers should keep in mind that spending a bit more on a protective, durable liner may also mean fewer repair and replacement costs in the future.

Types of Truck Liners

There are several different options when choosing a truck bed liner. They vary in thickness, material, size, and price, as well as installation. No matter which type buyers eventually opt for, reading customer and expert reviews of individual products helps them find a liner that delivers the best quality for the price.

Drop-In Liners

A removable liner covers the entire bed, plus the sides, and sometimes the rails. These liners are generally quite rigid and durable, and can stand up to tough or destructive materials loaded into the truck bed. Furthermore, they are easy to clean. There are a few different options with drop-in liners, as outlined in the chart below.

Drop-In Liner Option

Description

Under-Rail Bed Liner

Covers the bed and the inner sides, but does not lip over the rail; ideal for pickups that may be fitted with a tonneau cover or hardtop

Over-Rail Bed Liner

Fits over the rails for complete protection; not suitable for trucks with tonneau cover or hardtop

Plastic Bed Liner

Heavy-duty plastic material; less expensive than aluminum; more contouring than aluminum means that user can maximise load space; less likely to scuff paint than aluminum liner

Aluminum Bed Liner

More durable than plastic liners; preferred type for heavy-duty users; made to fit the exact dimensions of a specific vehicle

Carpet Bed Liner

Made from flexible material with flexibility, look, and comfort of a carpet, plus tough durability of plastic; protects knees when loading materials, and non-skid surface keeps objects in place

Zip-In Bed Liner

Multi-piece liner of flexible fabric that zips into place; skid resistant and gentle on knees when loading and unloading

Choosing a drop-in liner depends partly on budget, but also on what one plans to haul, and how frequently. Whatever kind one opts for, it is important to get a good fit. If debris or sand gets underneath a drop-in liner, it can scratch the original paint. In addition, rigid liners can sometimes scratch the truck bed. The liner should also be watertight, to prevent rust and mould from forming underneath.

Spray-On Liners

Spray-on bed liners form a permanent, protective, non-skid surface along the lining of the truck bed. Most need to be applied by a professional, with a high-pressure sprayer. Spray-on liners form a permanent bond with the truck's metal surface, and top-quality liners provide protection from corrosion, impact, chemicals, and fire. However, not all spray-on liners are textured against slippage.

They are available in a number of different colours, and are a sleeker in appearance than drop-in liners. Overexposure to some spray-on liners during application has been known to cause serious asthmatic reactions and, in some cases, even death, so consumers should follow instructions carefully and never attempt to apply liners that require professional application.

Brush-On or Roll-On Liners

Similar to spray-on liners, brush-on or roll-on liners add a permanent layer of protection to a truck bed. These liners are available in do-it-yourself kits, and are brushed on or rolled on and left to dry. The result is a durable, protective coating that is textured to help prevent objects from skidding about during transport. And since they can be applied at home, they are a more affordable alternative to spray-on liners.

Brush-on liners can be tinted to customise the look; because they cannot be removed, consumers should carefully decide what colour they want the liner to be. DIY kits may vary in required application equipment: always read the directions thoroughly and follow them carefully to prevent unwanted effects.

Bed Mats

Bed mats cover the floor and tailgate only. Made from plastic, carpeting, or rubber, bed mats provide a non-skid surface to keep objects in place during transport, and also protect the bed floor, whilst providing a gentler surface for knees during loading and unloading. They can be easily removed for cleaning or when not in use, and may be used in combination with a spray-on or drop-in liner.

Finding the Right Size for Drop-In Liners and Bed Mats

A properly-fitting truck liner is essential to ensuring optimal use of space, as well as preventing gaps where debris and water can enter, which can cause damage to the truck bed surface. Consumers interested in a drop-in liner or bed mat need to make sure they are buying the right size for the make, model, and year of their pickup. Therefore, they should have this information on hand when purchasing their liner. Liners are customised according to the specifications of each particular vehicle; buying a liner intended for a different model is not recommended.

Where to Shop for a Truck Liner

Pickup owners have several options when it comes to shopping for a bed liner. Some places offer more guidance and direct assistance, which can be a real advantage when buying a liner for the first time. On the other hand, better pricing may be available where less assistance is provided.

Local truck liner dealers that specialise in truck liners can often assist in the selection and sizing process, and may offer installation services, as well. These dealers can also provide customer service should any issues arise with the product. On the other hand, auto parts shops should feature a few different choices for liners. Customers should do comparison shopping in advance, however, since these shops may not always have an extensive range of choices, nor competitive pricing.

For those who prefer to do their shopping online, there is a wide range of choices. Because there is minimal assistance when shopping for a truck liner online, buyers should inform themselves about their options as much as possible before making their purchase. They can research different liners and companies by reading customer reviews; this helps them compare their options and focus on the best products in their price range. Online stores may have local centres that offer installation and customer service, while others may simply sell the products, leaving installation up to the buyer.

How to Buy a Truck Liner on eBay

If you are looking for a truck liner online, eBay Motors has a solid selection of new and used products, often at competitive prices. To begin, start on the website's home page and locate the search bar. Enter keywords for the item you are looking for; for example, "Nissan Navara bed liner". Keeping the terms general helps give you the maximum number of search results, so you can compare several different listings.

Comparing the Listings

As you compare different items of interest, be sure to read their full listings thoroughly. Make sure they are intended for the make, model, and year of your pickup. Check the condition of the liner (new or used), and inspect photos posted by the seller. Postage can be another important factor for bulky items like truck liners. See whether there are additional postage fees, or whether local pick-up is possible. Also, be sure you understand the payment requirements.

Researching the Seller

Getting to know a bit more about the seller helps you make your eBay purchase with confidence. Look at their feedback score, and read through comments from past buyers who purchased similar items. If you have a question for the seller, you can contact them through eBay.

Conclusion 

Truck bed liners help are an excellent addition to pickups used for transporting heavy, sharp, or abrasive materials. A liner protects the truck bed from dents, scratches, and corrosion, and many liners provide a non-slip surface to keep objects in place during transit. To help ease the burden on loaders' knees, some liners offer a cushioned layer for added comfort.

Buying a truck liner involves deciding which kind of liner offers the durability and protection desired within one's price range. DIY brush-on liners and professionally-applied spray-on liners add a permanent protective layer, whilst drop-in liners are a removeable solution that is tough enough to withstand heavy-duty materials and protect against major dents. Bed mats can be used in combination with another liner or alone for a cushioned, non-slip surface. Drop-in liners and mats need to be sized according to a vehicle's make, model, and year. By informing themselves of their choices and researching individual products, pickup owners can find the right bed liner for their needs.

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