Can A Tonneau Cover Be Shortened To Fit The Truck Bed?

Last Updated on
Photo of author
Written By Waylon Joe

Hey, It’s Waylon “Joe” Kite here. I am a West Virginia native and a die-hard pickup truck fan. My story with trucks started with my dad’s 1989 Ford F-150, and it's still going on. I'll share all my trucking experiences (both great and gross ones) with you. I have a garage full of tools to fix and renovate trucks and a freezer full of ales. Do you want to join me?

Tonneau covers are an excellent accessory for your truck as long as they fit perfectly. What if you got a cover that is not fitting on your truck bed? Is there any way you can make it fit?

Can a tonneau cover be shortened to fit your truck bed?

You can easily cut the soft vinyl cover short to fit the truck bed precisely. All you need is expert hands to measure, adjust, trim and re-stitch the cover. Proper installation and some finishing touch will make the process flawless.

I, therefore, invite you to look further into the details of the matter. This is to figure out how to shorten the cover in a well-fashioned approach. 

Can You Always Find The Right Sized Tonneau Cover?

Tonneau covers come in all shapes and sizes. But specific soft covers may not be the right size for your truck. You will need some customization to make the cover fit on the shorter truck bed.

For this reason, shortening the tonneau cover becomes necessary.

Soft covers provide you with the advantage of better portability and flexibility. So, the good news is that you can shorten the cover easily without much hassle.

Following proper guidelines will help you not damage the material while cutting it. You can always take expert hands for the process.

Other than that, know how the shortening process usually works. 

Tonneau Cover Be Shortened To Fit The Truck Bed

Can A Tonneau Cover Be Shortened: Tonneau Cover Modification

The upholstery shop may come in for your assistance with the modification. The auto shops can do the work more professionally than a DIY scenario. 

You have to spend a little more money, though! 

You should not negotiate much when you are dealing with quality. A professional modification will ensure better durability. 

However, there are a few things you can do on your own even though you haven’t done them before.

Let’s look at the tonneau cover shortening processes.


Initially, you have to measure the size you need to cut. If the cover is on the truck bed, see how far the cover is stretching out. It can be anywhere around 1 to 2 feet. 

Use a measuring tape to measure the precise extension. You also have to mark the space with proper alignment. Mark out the angles of the edges as well.

The proper degrees of angle calculation will help in the later stages of working with the safety features. The soft vinyl cover latches have to fit perfectly with the modified ends. 

This is where the limitations of DIY projects show up. You cannot do the job with 100% precision without professional help. 

What To Expect From The Auto Shop

Auto body shop professionals do this almost every day. On the other hand, you are either a novice or a mid-level expert. So, I can guess the difference in efficiency.. 

It’s recommended to leave that out to the experts, who would not do any damage to the materials.

Adjustments With The Bed Rails

The measurement should precisely fit where the edges meet the bed rails. This is where you will be attaching the covers through the side-angled frames.  

You may carry the option of not having the bed rails. However, it is recommended that you install bed rails for organized and more load carrying.

This should not hamper the quality of the cover, the frames, and the bed rails. 

The work must be done so that you can easily fold the soft vinyl cover. Make sure not to tear out from the bed rails when the rolling up is done.

What Experts Will Do

It is good that the bed rails are also adjusted. This is so that it fits sufficiently with the back of the pickup truck. 

The experts will ensure that the vinyl cover finds enough space when the material is rolled over for some definite purposes. 

Trimming And Re-Stitching

As you wonder how the tonneau cover is shortened, efficient trimming is the answer! The cut needs to be precise and perfect so that it is not offset from the angles marked and measured.

Figure out whether you are comfortable using specific tools for cutting or trimming. Working with a drill or saw can be tricky if you are a newbie.

Do not risk injuring yourself if you are not confident. Seek expert help.

How Professionals Maintain Quality Standards

It’s all about efficiency and precision. Auto body shop professionals or tonneau cover dealers know the exact tool for the job.

So no wonder the outcome will be more polished and good-looking.

Installing Security Features

Security is the most important factor behind choosing a tonneau cover. It helps the cargo load protected from elements and theft. 

So, what can you do to ensure maximum security? And how is it related to the shortening of the tonneau cover?

Usually, with a soft vinyl cover, attracting the best locking mechanism is complicated. It can be more difficult when the cover is shortened. It is hard to find suitable latches for the modified product.

You will need some expert hands for this.

Expert Hands Removing The Worries

The auto shops know how to solve this problem. They can provide you with a standard and customized locking mechanism. 

These locks will be easy to attach but challenging to break. And you can be less worried.

Also, ensure you get a flexible mechanism lock to move and carry the vinyl cover from time to time. 


A shortening process is a messy event. All the cutting and trimming may leave out a mass that needs some clearing. Failure to do so will leave marks on the surface.

The dirt accumulation will be tough to remove in the future. Get on it as soon as the cutting, trimming, and re-stitching are completed. The exterior should look completely fresh and polished. 

The service providers can get the job done for you sufficiently. 

Cleaning Like A Pro

To maintain the exterior quality, some layers of cleaning are essential. It involves the removal of simple dust alongside spraying protectants. 

Some alcohol-based cleaning solution does the job quite nicely. It will ensure that the cover doesn’t shrink in the future. The shortening process should not leave any damage to the exterior.

It should look as good as new after the whole process is completed. 

Read Also: 5 Common Retrax Bed Cover Problems

How Not To Damage The Tonneau Cover Material

The main concern for you would be if the cover will remain firmly attached. This is for as long as possible. The modification should not leave out areas to make the fastened cover come off. 

If such an occurrence happens, there will be damage to the cover material. See what you can do to prevent any damage from occurring:

  • Regularly check if the latches are having any issues
  • Do not wash excessively; it may shrink the cover
  • Do not overload the top of the surface with heavy cargo
  • Spray protectants more regularly
  • Thoroughly clean the frames, bed rails, latches, and other accessories
  • Follow the guidelines and tips provided by people at the auto shop

A drive to the service centers regularly will keep you worry-free. Check the cover each time you go for any regular maintenance.

Be careful when you are driving long distances as well. Always take the safest route so that your belongings are safe. 


Will shortening the tonneau cover cause any climate resistance issues?

Primarily, the shortening process will not impact how the cover has been before. Most soft covers carry resistance features to rain, snow, or humidity. As long as you are using protectants, the surface will remain smooth. 

Are soft tonneau covers theft-proof?

The soft covers are easy to cut through; this may help some ill intentions. Bad people can damage your cover and steal your stuff. For this reason, hardcovers are better. 

What happens if I don’t add bed rails?

It is not necessary to add bed rails with soft tonneau covers. However, with bed rails, you can improvise on enhancing security standards. Some supporting accessories are suitable for you to have. 

Final Verdict

The tonneau covers can easily be shortened to fit the size of the truck bed. As you can imagine, you cannot do it with hard covers. 

Although the soft covers fall short of security standards, you can work with the tailgate. This is to ensure maximum safety for the cargo storage. 

I hope this platform has answered your question the right way.

By wishing you all the best; it is time to go.

Bye for now!

Read also: How To Keep Dust Out Of Tonneau Cover?

Save Upto 15% on Your Tonneau Cover Order!

As we know in this era tonneau cover is a must-have tool for every truck owner, that's why we came up with up to 15% discount for our readers on Amazon. If you click on the button below, we will take you to their exclusive discount page!