Are Tonneau Covers Universal – Can You Swap Them Out?

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Sorry, but the answer is no. For instance, you can’t swap tonneau covers between different year Silverados.

However, some tonneau covers will fit on more than just one truck, but it will be difficult to know if a used one will fit for sure until you try. 

Will Any Tonneau Cover I Buy Work?

A tonneau cover will NOT fit just any truck. Truck beds are not all the same size and each truck will need a tonneau cover that was designed to match its dimensions.

You could try entering the year make and model of the donor into a vehicle fitment guide on a site that sells tonneau covers and then cross-reference it to the truck you’re trying to fit it on. But, it can prove to be a lot of work and most of the time you won’t find a fit.

You might get lucky and be able to use your old tonneau cover for the new truck, but then will it be secure and water-tight? Chances are you’ll probably have to modify it by cutting the rails to fit in the bed or even trim the cover itself, in which case it won’t look right. 

Buying A Used Tonneau Cover

If you decide to buy a used truck bed cover or swap one from your old pickup truck, break out the tape measure, and measure the tonneau cover and the truck bed to be sure it will fit. 

There are some very specific things you should look for in a tonneau cover… such as the quality of the material, the size of the opening, the type of fasteners used, the warranty, and how easy it is to install.

how to measure a tonneau cover

How to measure a tonneau cover

The only time you need to measure the truck bed from side to side is if you have a flare or step-side – (the trucks with the exterior step in front of the rear wheel). In this case, you’re going to need a specific tonneau cover designed just for that style of truck bed.

Keep in mind truck beds will be of different lengths depending on the year, make, and model of the pickup truck. In addition, some models differ from one year to the next, making swapping tonneau covers very challenging.

Is It Impossible To Swap Tonneau Covers?

The truth is it’s not impossible; I’ve seen tonneau covers from a Chevy Colorado fit on a Jeep Gladiator. But, at the same time, a tonneau cover from a 2018 Chevy Silverado will NOT fit on a 2019 Chevy Silverado’s truck bed. 

Also, Dodge Rams with the Rambox (where the built-in toolbox is above the wheel well) and trucks like the Chevy Avalanch or Honda Ridgeline with uniquely shaped truck beds and need specific tonneau covers.

It’s never going to be easy to swap a tonneau cover from truck to truck because tonneau covers are designed for the pickup truck it was intended for. However, soft roll-up tonneau covers will be the easiest to swap because they attach using velcro and don’t require rails or clips. And, hard covers are the most difficult to fit on trucks that they aren’t designed for.

In most cases, tonneau covers are not compatible with other trucks. I mean, you can always try, but chances are slim, and you risk wasting time and money trying to fit it on.

Some heavy-duty tarps or super-duty cargo nets are made of fabric or possibly vinyl and look nice, but they tie down with bungee cords and could damage your paint. Not a big deal if it’s a work truck that’s already beaten.

You can always keep an eye out for a used tonneau cover on craigslist or marketplace that came off the exact truck you need it for, you could get lucky, or it could take forever.

Are tonneare covers interchangeable

Will a Chevy Tonneau Cover Fit a Ford

The short answer is no. A Chevy tonneau cover will not fit a Ford. The long answer is a maybe. There is a slight chance you will get luck and the right year make, and the model will match, but it’s very unlikely. Again, take measurements and give it a shot. maybe you can make some modifications and get a good fit. there’s only one way to find out.

Bottom line

If you have access to a free or extremely cheap tonneau cover and you took your measurements correctly, then why not try. But, if you’re only going to save a few bucks, why not get a new one that doesn’t have any damage yet. Here is a guide that will help you find the best tonneau cover for your money.

If you’re impatient like me, there are new, inexpensive options out there. And, if you buy a new tonneau cover, it will be guaranteed to fit and come with a warranty. 

When it’s time to trade in the truck, you could put the tonneau cover up on craigslist and get most of your money back. And, at the same time, make another truck owner very happy to find such a good deal on a tonneau cover that’s in great shape.

Read more: Best tonneau covers for Silverados.

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