Reasons Why Tonneau Cover Won’t Release [Easy Solutions!]

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 fantastic products that provide significant benefits to the owners. If you own one, you have allowed yourself to enjoy the fabulous-looking cargo storage deals.  

However, some issues may just hurt you from ensuring extended operational ideas. 

Here, you will reason why the tonneau cover won’t release itself from the lock

The tonneau cover won’t release easily on three separate occasions. Extreme weather, problems with the locking system, and tailgate issues can make releasing a lock difficult. Lubricating the cover, fixing the troubled lock parts, or replacing the lock are the most common solutions.

Throughout the article, I Will be with you to underline some easy ways of solving the lock issue. The tonneau cover will release smoothly if you promise to stay with me.

What do you think? Want to give it a try?

Why The Tonneau Cover Won’t Release

When the tonneau cover is stuck, and there is no sign of quick release, the problem can be anything. So, It’s better to inspect thoroughly.

A detailed inspection will help you to fathom the problem and the possible solutions. And, of course, how much you may end up paying to solve it. 

Let’s find out the reasons first. 

Extreme Weather

Heavy snow accumulation can change the texture of the surface and make it quite rough. It may get stuck with the frames over time. This is when the real problem arises.

It is not happening smoothly when you are trying to open the cover. Let’s not put too much force into opening the cover when you face the issue.

You don’t want to damage the exterior of the surface, something that can happen easily. This is because the material is stuck shut due to frost. Some frozen parts may come off if you try too hard to open it too hard. 

Replacing the parts is a whole new gamble: an expensive option you must avoid. 

Silicone Lubrication Solution

The solution is quite simple, a silicon lubrication solution. You have to grease out or lubricate the material. This will clear all the roughness, so the fabric is settled to return to how it was before. 

Applying the solution can wait for the weather to get a little warmer. Well, if you think there is a possibility of the weather getting better soon.

On the other hand, you can install a heating system in the garage. This will improve your vehicle, including all the supporting accessories. 

Right after the snow melts, you can start applying the solution.

Use a silicone lubrication product to spray it onto a good-quality shop towel. Make sure the fluid accumulation is evenly dense on the towel. It should be wet enough to be applied to the tonneau cover material. 

By applying the lubrication sufficiently, you will get rid of the frost. You will realize that the cover looks better and can easily be removed at any point. 

Something Wrong With The Locking System

Over time the latches that lock the cover may get rusted or corroded. This means you will face difficulty releasing the cover from the locking mechanism. 

Again, it is suggested not to put excess force when the problem arises. You have to check how the locking system is working first. Inspect closely, as those steel frameworks may lose their integrity with time.

The easy solution would be to replace the latches; however, you can perhaps work with how to release the cover first. Before any expert hands arrive, you can do a few things first.

Fixing The Latches

You have to make the latches look flexible first. You can do this by applying some good penetrating oil to the material. This will easily clear the rustiness of the system. 

You can pour just a small amount of oil through the keyhole flap. This is in the case where the keyhole is not working. After applying the oil, see if pushing the key is working.

If the problem remains, go a bit further. 

Let the penetrating oil go through the lock’s areas connected to the cover framework. This means you will make it look smoother to unscrew the latch.

You need to polish the lock after removing the latch. After the polish is done, you will screw the latch back to how it was before. You should fix the problem now; if not, call the experts!

problems with the locking system

Tailgate Issues

Most of the time, you need to open the tailgate to remove the cover. A few problems with the tailgate can be a significant reason behind the cover not releasing. 

There are a few scenarios you need to look at with the tailgate:

  • Improper placement of cargo can make the tailgate get stuck
  • The tailgate handle may be broken
  • Broken wires or extreme friction can make the tailgate lose its operational capability.

So, how can you solve the matter? Most importantly, how can you place the cargo properly without opening the system? 

Something you have done while driving may have moved the cargo to settle in the wrong positions. 

You should apply some steps to secure the cargo from moving. Do work on it after the matter is resolved. 

Let me help you with the possible tailgate solutions first.

Replacing The Tailgate 

Replacing the tailgate is a little expensive. It should be your last option when all the other alternatives fail. The people there may suggest this option if taken to a service center. 

However, let’s look at the prospect of releasing the cover and how you can do it without causing damage to the tailgate.

In the case of a broken handle, you can replace it. But will you be damaging the tailgate in the process? If you do it alone, you may just do it. 

I will advise you of the option of completely changing the tailgate. This is because the overall quality may deteriorate even if you have replaced the parts alongside the latches. 

You can add suitable supporting accessories, so the cargo doesn’t move around. Installing racks, boxes, and net coverings is a good idea. 

This is to keep the surrounding frameworks from getting damaged. 

Prevent The Tonneau Cover From Getting Stuck

Read also: How To Patch A Hole In A Tonneau Cover?

Tips & Tricks To Prevent The Tonneau Cover From Getting Stuck

Working with the tonneau cover security means you are not damaging the material quality with the process. For this reason, being careful is a good idea.

See what measures you can take to prevent the major issues from occurring:

  • Make sure the mounting hardware is fixed in its place at all times. It should not move around.
  • Be alert with the frames and locking system so that there is no corrosion intrusion at any point in time.
  • Install bed rails for enhanced cargo protection
  • Clean your tonneau cover more regularly with good-quality soap and a sufficient amount of water
  • When you are washing the vehicle, keep the cover away.
  • Do not lubricate if it is not required
  • Do not put heavily loaded cargo on top of the tonneau cover
  • Follow all the guidelines provided by the service providers

The most crucial point of the whole process is to keep the tonneau cover looking fresh and new. This will keep the surface from getting damaged or losing its shape. 

Remember, a problem occurring in one area can cause issues in other areas as well. For example, a firmly stuck tonneau cover may start shrinking. 

This is if you have not applied any solutions soon enough. So, always be prompt with your actions!

Read also: Bakflip Mx4 Problems


How tight should a tonneau cover be?

The tonneau cover should be tight enough to secure the cargo inside. You should adjust the tightening with the locking mechanism. Overtightening, however, may damage the tonneau cover quality. 

How do you stretch a vinyl tonneau cover?

To stretch the material, you have to warm the exterior. You can apply any warm water solution alongside a not-so-cold lubrication method. Also, you can keep the cover in a hot environment to make the stretch happen. 

Can the stretched tonneau cover release the material?

Yes, it can easily prevent the tonneau cover from staying stuck. You can get rid of the surface roughness with the proper stretching method. This means all the supporting accessories will work as they used to before. 

Also read: How To Open Truck Bed Cover Without Key? Answered!

Final Verdict

The last words should involve the best wishes scenario as we have arrived after the matter. This means I hope you won’t regret the knowledge you have acquired by reading this article.

You should be working with your tonneau cover in the best ways possible so that no genuine problems arise in the future.

It is time for me to go; I will see you next time.

Bye for now!

Read Also: 5 Common Retrax Bed Cover Problems

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!