Does Tonneau Cover Improve Mileage


Pickup trucks do not give a good mileage; however, we can increase the gas mileage by taking care of certain aspects. If you are talking about gas mileage, then tonneau covers can help in increasing the same. In this article, we have discussed all the aspects about improving gas mileage of your truck bed and how tonneau covers can be one of the reasons of it.So, lets find out does tonneau cover improve mileage.

Now, you may ask can truck bed covers increase gas mileage? Well, “With the tailgate down, the truck will give the lowest mileage. With the tailgate up, it gives usual mileage as promised by the manufacturer. With a soft tonneau cover, the truck can give more mileage compared to the hard covers like fibreglass. .

How Much Gas Mileage Can You Get with Truck Bed Cover?

If you use a soft tonneau cover, it will give noticeably better mileage. However, it depends on a lot of factors. If you have installed a soft cover in your truck bed like a vinyl cover, roll-up covers, or fleet-side cover, then you can get an extra mileage of 10-12%.

If you have installed a hard top such as a fibreglass lid, it will not give any extra mileage. Even if it helps to reduce the drag, the weight of the lid counteracts the additional mileage.

Your truck will give the usual mileage as claimed by the manufacturer, if the tailgate is up and you have not installed tonneau cover. But with the tailgate down, it actually reduces gas mileage of your truck. If you have camper shells, then it will give the worst mileage because of the weight.

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How Does a Tonneau Cover increase Mileage?

A pickup truck cannot be called an ideal aerodynamic vehicle. The tailgate of your truck serves as the primary reason of drag because of the cab. When the air hits the top of the cab and reaches the end of the cab top, the air is forced down. It would simply glide out without the truck bed or tailgate. But, it creates a type of resistance thereby causing your pickup to burn more fuel to overcome that drag. 

The truck cab can cut through the air drag but the empty bed creates an air pocket as soon as the air hits the back of the tuck. The air forces out the tailgate, thereby creating a drag that would hamper your gas mileage.

You can simply put down the tailgate to get rid of this problem, but on the contrary, it would use up more gas. A closed tailgate can create air bubbles that slowly help to circulate air on the bed; some of it hits the tailgate and some just glide out freely.

So, if you put the tailgate down, it creates even more drag as it pushes the air around the bed wall creating a pressure on the bed, which further causes decrease in your truck’s gas mileage. If you open the tailgate, then it will break that air bubble for which the air that rushes over the cab, thereby forcing down the bed, which creates a lot of turbulence and creates more drag.

So, installing the tonneau cover helps to ease out the drag. If you install a tonneau cover, then it will not allow creating air pockets or won’t be pushed by the tailgate. Hence, the airtight design enables air to glide over the cover instead of creating a drag, which increases gas mileage by 10-12%.

Tips to improve gas mileage of your truck

Pickup trucks were known to use a lot of fuel earlier; however, the new age trucks provide good fuel economy with their modern fuel management features and improved fuel injection systems. There are different ways you can improve your truck’s mileage. Let us discuss all of them.

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Your fuel injectors should be clean —

A clogged fuel injector is not good for your truck and hence it will not help in saving mileage of your truck. If you find it heavily clogged, you need to contact a professional; whereas for a minor clogging, you can clean it with Fuel System Cleaner. If the fuel injector is clean, then it will spray a very fine mist of fuel that helps to ignite thereby increasing your truck’s mileage.

Always make sure forget to keep your air filter clean —

You need to keep your air filter clean so that you can get more airflow, which ultimately helps increase your truck’s mileage. Moreover, you can change the factory air filter with a cold air intake, which will increase fuel mileage to nearly half a mile per gallon of gas.

Your tire pressure needs to be at right level —

You will get less gas mileage even with a minor decrease in tire pressure. Hence, you need to check the tires if they have the required pressure you need on them. Always make sure the tire pressure is exactly 40 pounds. Usually, the tire pressure is kept a little low during summer as the air expands in heat. Likewise, you need to add a little more air pressure during winters.

Slow down the speed of your truck to save mileage — 

You can stop speeding and drive at a good pace which will help save mileage. Slow down from 70 to 60 miles per gallon so that you can save a lot on gas mileage. The mileage decreases because of the drag that your truck faces at higher speeds.

You can use a Programmer — 

A programmer helps to increase horsepower and fuel mileage. They help to decrease speed, adjust torque, prevent downshifting, etc.

Try not to lift your truck and not to use high-grade tires

You can lose more mileage in both of the cases. If you put oversized off-road tires and rims, then they will kill your truck’s mileage. These types of tires cause extra drag thereby resulting in low mileage. If you lift your truck, then also it will create enough drag to lose your truck’s mileage.

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Related Queries

Does all tonneau covers help increase mileage?

Ans: The answer is no. You can save mileage with only tri-fold, roll up, and sliding tonneau covers. Hard top or fiberglass lid will not save any mileage. These types of tonneau covers prevent the drag; their weight is reason why they fail tom save mileage.

Can a loaded truck bed with a tonneau cover increase mileage?

Ans: The answer will be no. Tonneau cover can save mileage when the truck bed is empty, which is good for you as your truck bed remains empty most of the time. However, if you are travelling with a loaded bed, then the tonneau cover will not help in improving mileage. It can save mileage if you have the tonneau cover on with little cargo.

Does tonneau cover improve gas mileage in bad weather?

Ans: In a storm or bad weather conditions, your tonneau cover cannot do much. If you are driving during a rainy weather, the weight of the rainwater may decrease your mileage points. This is also the same with snow. Rather try to keep yourself safe if you are driving during storm, heavy rain, or heavy snow fall.


In this article, we have discussed about different ways to improve your truck’s mileage. So, from all the above discussions, you can understand now that a truck cover does help increase gas mileage by 10-12%. However, if you are hauling a heavy cargo, then the gas mileage will be pretty much same without the tonneau cover. If you are driving an empty truck with the cover on, you will notice increase in the mileage that can save you around $250 per year.Last but not the least, by now it is  clear that does tonneau cover improve mileage.

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