How to Open a Locked Tonneau Cover?

Some truck owners don’t use their tonneau cover frequently, and the lock on the tonneau cover gets stuck. As if it is determined not to open. This is a common problem among many truck owners, so I’ve done some research to find a way you can open that locked tonneau cover.

How to Open a Locked Tonneau Cover? For locked tonneau cover, you should drip some penetrating oil such as wd40 or PB B’laster, let it sit for a while and unlock. If it didn’t work, try putting pressure on the lock and then try to unlock the tonneau cover.

Some tonneau covers such as trifold covers, and roll-up covers come with clamps. Which are easy to install and operate. But to open such covers you have to open your tailgate first. But many want to be able to open the tonneau cover without putting down the tailgate. So, to keep your truck bed secure the manufacturers use key-operated locks, which physically locks with the bed tailgate. This means you can’t open the tailgate with your cover shut and locked. Now, if the cover doesn’t unlock, you lose complete access to your truck bed. Now things get really depressing when you can’t use your own truck bed and there seem to be no way out of it.

Opening a Locked Tonneau Cover

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Step 1 – If you can’t push your key through the keyhole flap, spray some penetrating oil on it. Wipe the excess oil and let it sit for 3 minutes. Some good penetrating oil options are wd40 and PB B’laster.

Step 2 – After letting the penetrating oil sit for some time, try pushing the key into the lock. If it doesn’t, hammer the key gently to open the flap and push through the keyhole.

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Step 3 – Slide the key back and forth a few times and let it sit for a minute.

Step 4 – Bring the key halfway into the lock to find an opening into the lock. Spray some penetrating oil and slide the key a few times more. Then again let it sit for a minute.

Step 5 – Now try to turn the key. If it doesn’t open, use the pliers to forcefully turn the lock. Give short slow bursts of force and bring it back to the original position. Repeat a few time and by now you would be able to turn the key. However, if it’s too stiff, don’t force to turn the key as you may snap the key altogether and make things complicated.

Step 6 – By now, you should be able to open the lock. Then apply some dielectric grease to prevent rust and stop the lock from accumulating dirt. Some good dielectric grease options are Mission Automotive or Permatex.

If the above process didn’t work, try putting some pressure on the cover near the lock so that you can free it from being stuck to the tailgate. Then unlock the cover.

If all fails and the cover is rather new, try taking it to your dealer and see if they can figure it out. Or you can take a locksmith who can open it up without damaging the tailgate or the cover.

Sometimes water gets into the lock and it freezes up. So, you could heat the lock with a propane torch. Just give it a couple of short bursts and you should be good to go.

Sometimes it may be necessary to break open the cover itself. If it’s a soft cover tonneau then your locksmith can do it easily. However, if it’s a fiberglass lid, you should take it to the dealer or call the manufacturer to help you out.

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Other Tonneau Cover Problems and How to Prevent It?

Tonneau covers are not completely damage-proof, even if it’s from a reliable manufacturer. It may last longer something will always go wrong. So, you have to take care of your tonneau cover and check for maintenance from time to time.

When the tonneau cover is leaking: All tonneau covers are watertight and keep your cargo dry even in the heaviest rain. But, if you find it leaking water and your truck bed all wet, you know something is wrong. You should check the seals and see if they are in their place, intact and tight. Seals are prone to damage and often times they just come off. So, check your seal from time to time and replace when you see it is nearly loose.

Flapping tonneau cover while driving: All tonneau cover should fit snugly to the bed of your truck. And it should not make any noise. So, if you are driving down the road and hear your tonneau cover is flapping in the wind, you have to take care of it immediately before making further damage. The cover is loose because the latch included with the cover has come off. You have to double check that you have purchased the right size cover for your truck. If you see that the cover fits and locks perfectly, yet the cover is flapping, then you should check if the seal is broken. Because with a broken seal, air can get under the cover which will allow the cover to flap in the breeze.

The tonneau cover doesn’t fit right: You should find a tonneau cover that fits your truck specifically. So, you have to make sure you have got the right size cover for your truck. If you have the right size cover, just make sure it is installed correctly. Then check the seal and the hardware to see if something has come off or broken.

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The seal has come off: Your truck bed cover isn’t going to last forever. The seal on your tonneau cover is the most vulnerable part, make sure it is not defective or has come off. It ensures that the cover fits correctly and is installed properly. If the cover doesn’t fit well, it will cause water damage and affect the longevity of the seal. We suggest you replace the seal immediately when you find it damaged.

Sometimes the roll-on tonneau gets stuck after frequent use. Usually, it will get stuck on one side of the bed. Then you have to take it to the dealer. If the latch won’t open using some lubricant to undo it. What if the release cable gets undone, or the lock falls off, then you have to take it to the dealer or call the manufacturer.

Can I replace tonneau cover locks?

Yes, you can replace your old tonneau cover locks with locks available from aftermarket brands or use genuine manufacturer products.

How much does tonneau cover locks cost?

Based on the type and brand of the lock, a tonneau cover lock typically costs between $15 to $40.


We advise you to buy high-quality bed covers from reliable manufacturers. A good tonneau cover would slide as smooth as butter when you are operating. If you have bought a good cover still having a problem, check the hardware. See if something may be rusted and needs to be oiled or needs to be completely replaced. You can easily prevent most of the issues by getting a high-quality tonneau cover and keeping it well-maintained. Decide if you need a fiberglass lid or a folding cover or a soft trifold cover, based on why you are going to use the bed and the weather you have in your state.

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