Car News

To Drop In or Spray On: The Truck Bed Liner Dilemma

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Autotrader August 2008

At some point, virtually every truck owner stands at a crossroads — whether to drop in or spray on a bed liner. This seemingly small decision will determine how your truck ages, how you are able to use the bed and how the vehicle will look for years to come.

A spray-on liner is a watertight, airtight sealant (often made of urethane) that is applied to the truck bed. A drop-in liner is like a protective case for an MP3 player. It is typically a strong, rigid cover that attaches to the truck bed. You can add each of the two types of liners to a truck yourself, or have them professionally installed.

The Internet is full of articles that dissect the pros and cons of each option, but it's much more difficult to find a piece that helps you choose by lifestyle. That's why we created a list of five "I" statements to help you think about what you really need. Read through them to learn which option might best fit your truck and your life.

1. "I plan to sell my truck in a few years."

Consider: Drop-In

A spray-on liner is a bigger commitment than a drop-in. The person you sell the truck to might want the freedom to make up his own mind about the bed liner. If you use a drop-in, you can remove it when you're ready to sell the vehicle.

2. "I go to the beach all the time."

Consider: Spray-On

Sand and water can get into the tiny gap between your truck and the drop-in liner. Sand may grind away the paint underneath. Water can gather and possibly lead to corrosion. A spray-on liner prevents this problem by forming a virtually impenetrable bond with your truck. Sand and water won't have anywhere to hide.

 3. "I often transport heavy or sharp objects in my truck."

Consider: Drop-In

Spray-on liners are extremely tough, but they tend to be thinner than drop-in options. Heavy or sharp objects can cause gouges or scratches in your liner that might be better protected by the thicker drop-in option. Keep in mind, it's possible to break a drop-in bed liner, but the force required is significant.

4. "I want to add a liner without adding extra weight or noise to my truck."

Consider: Spray-On

Spray-on bed liners tend to be lighter than drop-ins, especially models that are thick. And, since a drop-in is something you attach, it's possible to hear it vibrate against the truck body when you drive. It's a minimal amount of potential noise, but it will be louder than a spray-on bed liner.

5. "I want something that's easy to install."

Consider: Drop-In

Although "easy" is a subjective term, opponents of spray-on bed liners make a good case against this option. Although it can be sprayed, brushed or rolled on, it takes longer to prepare the surface of the truck for spray-on versions. If you apply it incorrectly, it might peel. And, if you spill it in the wrong area, the spray-on liner's ability to firmly stick to your truck can turn into a negative. Although they require some manual labor, drop-ins don't have the same issues and can be easier to install.

Ultimately, you're the best judge of what works for you. With the advances in spray-on technology, the playing field is pretty level when it comes to truck bed liners, and we encourage you to research both options. One easy way to take a look at the different options is to search for a truck using "bed liner" as a keyword. And if a bed liner is only one of the ways you want to upgrade your truck, check out "Truck Tips for the Do-It-Yourselfer."

© 2008 AutoTrader.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"AutoTrader.com" is a registered trademark of TPI Holdings, Inc. used under exclusive license.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
To Drop In or Spray On: The Truck Bed Liner Dilemma - Autotrader