The soft tonneau covers are mostly made of vinyl and can become loose and flap in the wind and make a lot of noise if installed incorrectly.
If they are installed correctly, there is little to no noise at all.
What causes a tonneau cover to flap in the wind?
There are two reasons;
1. Tonneau covers stretch and shrink due to temperature changes, or the weight of snow and ice can also cause the tonneau cover to stretch; this will loosen the tension and cause the tonneau cover to flap as you drive.
2. If it was installed incorrectly. For example, if a vinyl flap comes from the end of the head rail, if you have it outside the truck bed facing towards the cap instead of tucked under the head rail.
So, what is happening as you’re driving down the road? The wind is going around the cab. It’s lifting the vinyl tarp up and down. It is pressurizing and de-pressurizing the bed, causing air to be forced out, which will make the flap that wasn’t tucked under the head rail to move up and down rapidly, causing a loud flapping noise.
How can you stop a tonneau cover from flapping?
1. Tightening the tonneau cover correctly can prevent it from flapping in most cases. However, there is also a limit to how much a tonneau cover can be tightened, and if the vinyl stretches beyond that point, it will always be loose, and the tonneau cover will need to be replaced.
Get the tension just right, and your cover will be quiet. Get the tension wrong, and it’s going to sag and flap in the wind or stretch beyond repair.
Some tonneau covers come with an extra set of tensioner knobs. You can place these tensioner knobs in strategic locations to combat the loose parts of the vinyl, eventually making the truck bed cover taut.
2. Fold the flap under the head rail. The fix is straightforward.
You get up under the tonneau cover and take out the long bolt that holds the tension adjuster to the head rail on both sides.
Then you can rotate the head rail back and tuck the vinyl flap underneath.
Rotate the head rail back into position, making sure the vinyl flap is tucked under.
Then reinstall the bolts that hold the tension adjuster to the head rail.
Now, make sure to adjust the tension properly, as described earlier.
Unfortunately, if the tonneau cover flaps in the wind frequently, it will wear out the tonneau cover prematurely, and if you pass the point of no return, it will flap in the wind indefinitely and get worse and worse over time, even if you have it sealed properly.
Tight or loose, soft covers tend to wear out over the years. Also, the wind from driving on the highway a lot will wear out tonneau covers faster than normal. So if you’re on the highway a lot, a solid tonneau cover is a better option for you.
Most top brands of tonneau covers offer lifetime warranties on their hard covers making the investment worthwhile.
I’ve reviewed Bakflip’s hard tonneau covers; if you’re interested in reading the article, here it is Bakflip Tonneau Cover Review.
I hope you enjoyed the article and I hope I answered your question “Do tonneau covers make noise”. Please, leave a comment if you have any questions or concerns.