How Tonneau Covers Affect Toyota Tacoma Deck Rails

So, you want to put a tonneau cover on your Tacoma. Smart move! However, you might have noticed that the venerable Taco is cut from a different cloth than most trucks with its lipless bed rails and prominent Deck Rail system. This doesn’t mean you can’t install a tonneau cover, but it does mean that installation will differ from most trucks on the road. We’ve installed several different tonneau covers on Tacomas throughout the years, and we’re here to show you what those installations look like and how they impact your deck rail system.

Keep Your Deck Rails, Cleats, and Bulkhead Tie Downs (2016-Current)

If you want the security of a tonneau cover and the convenience of an intact deck rail system, BAKFlip hard folding tonneau covers are an excellent choice. During installation you will have to temporarily remove the Deck Rails, but they will be reinstalled using drop brackets. This means your Tacoma can have the best of both worlds. The same holds true for BAK’s selection of hard roll-up truck bed covers. You’ll also need to temporarily remove the bulkhead rail to add foam pads to either end for improved weather resistance.

The BAKFlip mounting brackets drop the Deck Rails.

The Revolver X2 and X4 also let you keep full use of your Deck Rails.

Keep Deck Rails, Minimal Cleat Interference (2005-Current)

Retractable tonneau covers offer excellent security and weather protection. They’re also very easy to use; just slide it open to access your bed and pull it shut to secure your cargo. Retrax and GatorTrax offer even more utility by allowing you to close the cover in any position between open and shut. When installing one of these covers on a Tacoma, you’ll need to remove and reinstall the bulkhead bar to add foam pads just as you would with a BAK cover. However, you’ll also have to permanently remove the bulkhead tie downs in in order for the canister to fit. The brackets that hold the cover in place install into your deck rails, so you won’t lose the rails during installation, but the movement of your cargo cleats will be slightly limited.

Soft folding covers such as the Gator SFX and American Tri-Fold use hanger brackets, which are installed into your Deck Rail system. They won’t impact the movement of your cargo cleats very much, and you will be able to keep your bulkhead tie downs.

GatorTrax and Retrax covers use small brackets that insert into the Deck Rail.

Most soft folding covers use a small hanger bracket to attach the cover to the Deck Rails.

Keep Deck Rails and Bulkhead Tie Downs, Slightly Limited Cleat Movement (2005-Current)

Soft roll-up covers such as TruXedo’s TruxPort and Lo Pro are popular choices thanks to their weather resistance, affordability, and ease of bed access. When installing one of these two covers on a Tacoma, it will be necessary to install some large brackets into the deck rail system. This is also true of Truxedo’s hard roll-up covers, the Sentry and Sentry CT. You’ll still be able to move your cleats back and forth, just not quite as much as a lower-profile bracket would allow.

The larger bracket supports the rails of the TruXedo tonneau cover.

There is still room to move your cargo cleats back and forth.

Tacoma Tonneau Cover Installation Videos

GatorTrax Retractable Tonneau Cover

TruXedo Lo Pro Soft Roll-Up Tonneau Cover

BAKFlip F1 Hard Folding Tonneau Cover

BAK Revolver X2 Hard Rolling Tonneau Cover

Gator SFX Tri-Fold

GatorTrax Retractable Tonneau Cover