How to remove a tonneau cover

If you want to remove your tonneau cover, then you must be wandering how to remove a tonneau cover? Well, different tonneau covers need different types of ways to get removed from the truck bed. In this article, we have discussed about removing common types of tonneau covers.

However, before knowing how to remove the tonneau, first you need to know why you need to to remove your tonneau from your truck bed. Let us discuss the possible conditions that you may need to remove your tonneau.

Why do you need to remove your tonneau cover? 

There are different reasons why you need to remove your truck bed cover. Some common reasons can be discussed here:

If you need to carry large cargo, you may need to remove the cover. It depends on your tonneau. You can remove your cover temporarily if you need to carry large cargo. Some tonneau covers can roll up or fold out of the way to carry big cargo, while others need to be taken off completely before hauling large cargo like a couch or kayak. However, sawtooth tonneau covers can expand to protect large and tall cargo unlike other types of covers.

If you are planning to install different truck accessories, you may need to remove the cover: If you have purchased a new accessory for your truck like a cargo management system or truck bed roll bars, then you have to remove your truck bed cover.  However, you have to read the user guide properly to check if the tonneau-cover needs to be taken off to install certain accessories. In this case, you have to consider your tonneau cover type before buying new truck accessories.

If your tonneau is looking shabby, you may need to remove it. You should remove an old tonneau that shows wear and tear. The old cover looks bad on your truck. It also fails to sustain the weather conditions to protect your cargo and the bed.  So, you need to remove and replace the cover immediately. 

Required Tools For Removing The Tonneau Cover

You will require different types of tools for different types of tonneau covers. Basically you will require the same tools that you have used to install your cover. You can go through the manufacturer’s instructions that explain how to remove your specific tonneau cover. The user manual will let you know which tools to use. Always remember that you have adequate space to move the cover out of the way and to store it after removing it from your truck bed.

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Let us discuss the tools for removing most tonneau covers:

  • wrench
  • screwdriver
  • protective sunglasses

However, you have to read the user manual thoroughly to know the required tools for the specific tonneau cover you have. Unlike other types of tonneau covers, the Sawtooth tonneau covers do not use any tools to remove.

How To Remove Different Types of Tonneau Covers?

If you are searching on internet the articles about removing different types of tonneau covers, then you are at the right place. Here, we have discussed about how to remove different types of tonneau covers with proper guide. You can follow the instructions to take off some common types of tonneau covers.

Removing the Sawtooth Tonneau Covers

The Sawtooth tonneau cover is one of the easiest truck bed covers to remove. They are adjustable and you can remove them by yourself within 5 minutes. Moreover, you can remove the tonneau and rails easily without using any tools; you do not need to lift off the cover and detach the rails separately. Let us discuss the steps:

To start with the procedure, first unhook the J-hooks from the tailgate corners and roll up the tonneau towards the cab. Now secure the tonneau cover with attached buckles.

Now you need to remove the bows from between the side rails if there any. You can apply some pressure to pull them out of the slots where they sit.

Then pull tailgate rail backwards to remove it from the two side rails. The tailgate rail will help keep the corner connectors attached to it.

You can now loosen and remove all side clamps to detach tonneau side rails from your truck bed rails. You have to now lift the side rails from the bed rails and pull from cab rail applying some upward pressure.

Now you can remove the cab rail with the attached Sawtooth tonneau cover. Lastly store all parts securely until you re-install the tonneau cover.

Removing a tri-fold or quad-fold tonneau cover

To begin with the procedure, you have to fold the cover all the way up next to the bed. After folding the cover, just secure it with provided buckles.

Then remove the bolts that secure the hinges to the C-clamps using a wrench.

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Then, you can take the help of a friend to lift the folded cover and move it off the truck. If you want to do it yourself, you can stand in the bed of the truck and lift the cover off from there.

If your folding tonneau has rails, it will leave the rails attached. So, leave the tonneau cover rails on if you are planning to put the cover back on soon, which will make it easy to reattach the cover to the rails.

If you are planning to remove the cover permanently, you can take the tonneau cover rails off.

Removing a hard top fiberglass tonneau covers:

To remove a fiberglass tonneau cover, just sit in the truck bed and remove the lid clamps. You can use a wrench to loosen the bolt on the clamp.

You need to continue loosening the bolt by your hands until the clamp is completely detached from the truck body.

Then move down the side of the truck bed to remove all clamps on both sides. Ensure that your tonneau cover is laying flat as it can come crashing down on you.

When you are done with detaching the lid fully, you can take the help of 2 or 3 people to lift the cover and move it off the truck bed.

Place the cover on a stand to avoid damaging the fiberglass cover.

Removing Tonneau Cover Rails:

You can remove most of the flat tonneau covers while still keeping the rails in place. If you do not remove the rails, then it makes much easier to re-install the tonneau later. Moreover, this could serve as a great option if you are just removing a flat tonneau to carry large items.

However, you can remove the bed rails, if you are not thinking to re-install your tonneau cover. Let us discuss some of the tips that you can apply to some hard top tonneau models like folding covers. You can apply this method to remove some soft tonneau covers like retractable models.

First of all use a wrench to loosen the bolts that is used to secure the C-clamps to the truck bed rails.

When you are done with loosening the C-clamps, you can remove the rails. You need tp lift each rail carefully so that you can avoid scratching any part of your truck.

You have to peel off the seals that are installed along the bulkhead and tailgate. You can also use isopropyl alcohol to clean up any sticky residue left from the seals.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it really hard to remove a tonneau cover?

Ans: Actually it depends on what type of tonneau cover you are using. The hard tonneau covers like hinged fiberglass models are the most difficult ones to remove. You may require multiple people, a forklift, or even a small overhead crane to remove fiberglass covers. Whereas soft truck bed covers are much easier to remove and can easily be removed in just 15 minutes.

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If you are removing just the cover itself or the side rails, then it may be easier for you. So, it is the fastest option to remove just the textile cover if you want to use it again soon. In this case, you can leave the side rails in place. 

Can I remove a tonneau cover by myself?

Ans: Most of the soft tonneau covers can be removed by you. You can follow the same process that you have used during the installation process of your tonneau cover. If you can install the cover alone then you can remove it alone too.

However, with a hard tonneau like a tri-fold or quad-fold model, you need to be careful so that you do not scratch your bed rails. You may take the help of a friend or two while removing a hard tonneau cover.

What about my Truck make/model ?

No matter what kind of truck you drive, it should be the same process to remove your tonneau. Your truck make and model won’t affect how to take off the tonneau. The most important thing is to check your user guide that came with your tonneau cover.

If it doesn’t explain how to remove your tonneau, you can follow the installation instructions—just backwards!

We hope this was a helpful summary of how to remove your tonneau cover. Whether you need to install your tonneau cover, choose the best tonneau for your truck, or pick between a hard or soft tonneau cover, we’re always here to help.


We hope this was a useful description of how to strip your tonneau cover. If you need to add a tonneau cover, pick the right tonneau for your vehicle, or choose between a hard or soft tonneau cover, we’re still here to support.The process to remove your tonneau cover is same for all types of truck beds; your truck model does not affect how to take off the tonneau. You need to check the user guide that comes with your tonneau cover. If it does not explain how to remove your tonneau, you can follow the instructions backwards that you have followed during the installation process of the cover.

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