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How Truck Bed Covers Handle Ice and Snow in the Winter

How Truck Bed Covers Handle Ice and Snow in the Winter

Generally speaking, the hard folding tonneau cover is the best option for winter conditions because it’s more durable than a soft cover and is easiest to open and close if it has some snow on it. The most common problem is that the tonneau covers freeze to the tailgate, making it hard to open the tailgate, and you will have to either melt or break the ice to gain access to your truck’s bed. There are many types of truck bed covers, and they all react differently to winter conditions. This article explains how each style of truck bed cover handles ice and snow and the ins and outs of opening frozen tonneau covers. 

Soft Roll-Up Covers

Your soft roll-up tonneau cover, caked with snow, is a pretty sight but is also concerning because soft roll-up tonneau covers can’t handle as much weight as hard roll-up tonneau covers.

Of course, if it’s just fluffy snow that doesn’t have much weight, there is no need for concern. But the heavy snow might cause damage by stretching the material. 

Moisture gets in the edges and freezes the tonneau cover to the truck’s bed, making it impossible to access the bed of a pickup truck. 

If you’ve never had to deal with roll-up a tonneau cover that’s frozen, it’s like opening your truck door after an ice storm.

Pouring warm water on the seams will make it easier to open, but if it’s still cold out, it will just freeze over again, and you’ll have to repeat the process.

Hard Roll-Up Covers

Hard roll-up tonneau covers are much more sturdy than soft roll-up tonneau covers and can withstand the weight of heavy snow and ice, so that’s not a big concern, tho they have their limits too. 

But as the snow and ice build up on the hard cover, it makes opening it a challenge. Of course, it’s not the snow that presents the challenge because you can seep the snow off the tonneau cover. But the ice acts like glue on all the seams and grooves, which makes opening the hard cover stiff and holding the tonneau cover shut.

We don’t recommend forcing the hard roll-up truck bed cover when it’s frozen shut. If the ice has a good hold on it, you risk damaging the seams, and then your tonneau cover might leak in the future.

You’ll need to clear the snow and ice from the tonneau cover first, but how?

You can take a broom and brush the snow off of the tonneau cover. Then, using a jug, pour warm water on the seams to melt the ice. You can then easily roll up your tonneau cover. But, again, the problem with this is if it’s still below freezing, the tonneau cover will freeze up again.

Soft Folding Covers

Again, with soft tonneau covers in general, the concern is the weight of the snow and ice stretching and bending the materials. Therefore, it’s best to remove the snow as soon as possible so that it doesn’t have a chance to gain any weight.

As mentioned before, after removing snow, pouring warm water onto the seams to melt the ice will prevent damage from occurring as you open it. Unfortunately, if you’re still experiencing freezing winter conditions, the soft-folding tonneau cover will freeze up again. 

You can try to use Windex in the seams, it won’t hurt your paint as it drips down, but the danger is that the ammonia in Windex is terrible for the vinyl and will weaken the vinyl and tarnish the appearance of your soft tonneau cover.

Hard Folding Covers

It is recommended to use something like plastic, such as a spatula or credit card, to pry the cover off the tailgate to reduce the chance of scratching anything. The petroleum didn’t work to keep the tailgate from freezing to the tonneau cover and was a mess to deal with because it can get on your clothes as you use the bed of your truck.

One option we found was to use ski wax, but be sure to check the rated temperature for the wax because some wax is only suitable for certain temperatures; for example, Swix waxes can be used for snow temperatures between 1 C and -4 C (34 F to 25 F). The 7 Series is for temperatures from -2 C to -8 C, (28˚F to 18˚F).

So, depending on your environment, this may work for you. Hard fold tonneau covers are not only strong, but they are also secure.


Many conditions come into play when choosing the best truck bed cover for winter, such as the tonneau cover’s design, the temperature, and the amount of precipitation.
Spraying Windex on the seams of a frozen tonneau cover and giving it a minute to melt the ice is a good option because Windex will freeze but at a much lower temperature than water.
As mentioned before, you must be careful not to get any on the vinyl, or you risk weakening and tarnishing the material.

1 comment

  • Just use commercial de-icer spray (any brand will do) and spray all along the perimeter of your cover to free it up. I have a hard folding one that freezes up in the winter and spray de-icer on it and wait. Opens right up. Usually don’t fold it all the way open anyway in the winter. Imagine all covers freeze up at some point ot pickup bed given the right conditions.

    - AK Fish

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