Bed liners are a crucial piece of equipment for working trucks. They shield the inner side of a truck’s bed from damage, keep it clean, and also provide a skid-resistant surface for cargo.
Most trucks come with a bed liner in place, but if yours doesn’t, or you just want to replace the liner with something else, here are some important considerations to make.
What options do you have?
When shopping for a liner, the first decision you’ll need to make is whether to buy from an aftermarket retailer or directly from the manufacturer.
Aftermarket liners include everything, from rubbery sheets to outdoor carpeting. They may be a great option, especially if you’re on a budget, but they’re also relatively ineffective. Manufacturers’ bed liners, on the other hand, come in two main forms: drop-in and spray-in. Both offer a far better fit and protection than aftermarket liners, but they each have their benefits and drawbacks.
Credits: Drop-in liner
Drop-in liners are made from a form-fitted plastic sheet, which as the name implies, is “dropped” in the bed. Since they come from the manufacturer, everything, including the bolts, should fit precisely in place.
Drop-in liners come in a myriad of options. You can opt for either a floor-and-sides liner or cover just the floor of the bed. And, depending on what you plan to add to the truck, your liner can be under or over the rail.
Comparatively, drop-in liners are much cheaper than spray-in liners. They may not be as tough, but the force required to break a good-quality sheet is quite significant. They’re also easy to replace if needed and can be a quick solution if you want to hide the current damage to the truck bed.
Credits: Bedliner Installation
On the downside, drop-in liners allow water to sip between the plastic and the bed, which can gradually cause rust. They also become loose over time and will, therefore, need replacing.
While drop-in liners are bought ready-made for a truck, spray-in liners are created by spraying bed liner paint directly on the bed. Because they completely coat the truck, these liners do not leave space for water or dirt to sip between them and the bed. They also can’t break, fall out or get loose over time, which means they provide a far more durable solution than drop-in liners.
Credits: Spray-on Liner
Truck bed liner paint is typically gritty in texture and therefore prevents cargo from sliding around. On the other hand, loading items can be challenging because your goods won’t slide easily.
When adequate preparation to the truck bed’s surface is done, spray-in liners can be far more aesthetically appealing than drop-in liners. The drawback is, of course, the price, which can be too much if you’re just looking for a simple, budget-friendly solution. Spray-in liners are also much harder to replace than drop-in liners.
So, which is the best bed liner?
Choosing a bed liner for your truck may seem like a small decision, but the option you pick will determine how you’ll use the bed, and how the truck will look for years to come.
So, which liner should you choose? Well, the answer depends on your plans for the vehicle. If you’re looking for long-term service, go for a spray-in liner. But if you want easy loading, affordability, and the freedom to revamp your bed whenever you want, then a drop-in liner is the best choice for you.
Whichever option you pick, a liner is an important addition to your truck, and you should install one as soon as possible.