Did you know that in the U.S., the average price of light vehicles was $37,169 in July 2019? That represents a staggering 3.5% price increase (about $1,246) from the year before!
What’s more, trucks were the biggest players in this considerable price jump. New mid- and full-size models ticked the average vehicle price up by 3%.
That said, it’s no wonder that new pick-up trucks now cost more than the BMW 3 Series!
With that kind of money on the line, you’d want your new truck to stay as pristine and badass for as long as possible.
Installing a pickup bed liner is one way to make this possible. This can help you protect not only your truck bed but also the stuff that you’ll load on it.
Now the big question is, how exactly do you pick the best bed liner for your ride? What are your options, and which one will best suit your needs?
We’ll give you the answers you’re looking for in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
A Primer on Truck Bed Liners
Since a truck’s bed holds the most “cargo”, it’s also the most prone to wear, tear, and abuse. Sports gear, equipment, and heavy machines will damage an unprotected bed. They can skid around and leave dents, dings, and scratches on a bare pickup truck bed.
It’ll be even worse if there’s no bed cover, as this means direct exposure to the elements, such as the sun’s UV rays.
All these (and more) is exactly what a bed liner protects your ride’s sleek finish from. It acts as a barrier against these surface damages, as well as bubbling and rippling. It also safeguards the paint job from corrosion due to environmental factors.
Some types of bed liners are inserts, while others are of the “spray-on” type. Either way, they all do the job of protecting the bed’s surface from becoming ruined.
However, some of these products have the added benefit of boosting surface grip. This helps prevent the cargo from slipping and sliding everywhere.
This improved “grip” is very useful for fragile and sensitive cargo, such as glass or furniture. It helps keep your pricey equipment and gear from getting damaged too.
Breaking Down Your Pickup Bed Liner Options
There are two main types of bed liners: the “drop-in” and the “spray-on”. Let’s take a closer look at how the two differ and so you can figure out what the best truck bed liner for you is.
Drop-in liners are a type of hard plastic molded to fit snugly against the truck bed. The word “drop” in their name refers to how they’re installed — you simply “drop” and bolt them down to secure them in place. They’re like a hard, plastic shell that covers the bed and are easy to install.
This is why most drop-in liners classify as the insert-type. Some pickup truck models also come equipped with these bed liners. They can also be cheaper than the more permanent spray-on liners.
Drop-in liners are thick and durable enough to withstand regular or everyday objects. They’re a good choice for basic projects like moving or transporting furniture. That’s why they’re a good match for folks who usually carry out DIY home improvement projects.
Also, these liners are good shock absorbers. They can withstand the sudden weight of heavy loads that you drop on them. These include common construction materials, such as wood, bricks, and sheet metal.
These liners, however, can be pretty bland when it comes to looks. This may not help enhance your truck’s badass appearance, so be sure to consider this factor.
Also, it’s important to ensure a snug fit when installing a drop-in liner. A poor fit can create gaps between the liner and the truck bed. These gaps can then let water, dirt, and debris seep in and settle under the cover.
If this happens, those contaminants can give rise to rusting and corrosion. Now, keep in mind that rust repair, on average, can range from $500 to $1,000. And, the longer it takes you to get rusty parts fixed, the higher your repair bill would be.
Spray-on Bed Liners
A spray-on bed liner, also known as spray in bedliner, is the toughest, most durable option you have. That makes them a bit pricier than the drop-in kind, but their durability lets you save more in the long run.
Spray in liners, as their name suggests, are directly sprayed or applied on the truck bed. The material adheres straight to the surface, which eliminates the possibility of gaps. Meaning, you can worry less about rusting and corrosion, since water or debris won’t get past the liner.
Moreover, the best spray in bedliner has a rougher, rubber-like texture. This increases surface grip, so it serves as skid prevention too. This further helps protect your truck bed from damages that slipping loads can cause.
The same “gripping” effect also protects the loads, since they’re less likely to slide and tip over. The reduced skidding keeps them from bumping into the sides of your truck, which can damage both of them. So, it’s a win-win for you, your ride, and your haul.
To top it off, spray-in liners come in more styles and colors than their drop-in counterparts. This gives you more customization options, so you can match your liner with your truck.
Get the Best Liner for Your Truck Bed Now
There you have it, the ultimate guide on your pickup bed liner options and what makes them different. Now that you know the pros and cons of the drop-in and spray-on kinds, you can make an informed decision on which one to get.
If budget is a big factor and you don’t haul heavy loads every day, a drop-in liner may be a good choice. If you want the best and longest-lasting protection though, you should go with a spray-in liner. The latter may be pricier, but its durability and added benefits make it a better investment.
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