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While shopping for a truck cap keep these items in mind:

  1. Molded and Rolled Fiberglass Base Rails
    1. There are multiple rail styles used in today’s truck cap industry.
      1. Aluminum/glued
        1. Aluminum rails that are glued to a fiberglass cap have a chance of disconnecting from the cap over a period of time. Some are reinforced with tacks, rivets, or screws but that means those fasteners are showing somewhere or covered up with a painted trim piece.
      2. Steel/aluminum “reinforced” fiberglass
        1. These rails have a glassed over metal product for rails. These are better than aluminum rails but can cause cracking in the fiberglass. Fiberglass that is used for truck caps is a flexing product that allows more movement than steal or aluminum. When you clamp to the rail the thin layers of fiberglass can crack against the steal/aluminum “reinforcement”
      3. Fiberglass/glued
        1. This is a fiberglass product that is molded in a separate mold and then adhered to the fiberglass shell. Like the aluminum rails these fiberglass rails have a chance of separating from the fiberglass cap over time. They are also less slightly at the rail/cap connecting point.
      4. Molded and Rolled Fiberglass Base Rails
        1. hese rails are thick fiberglass base rails that are sprayed onto the shell and hand rolled for the strongest and best looking connection to the cap. They will flex with the clamps to allow a true connection to the bed and promote a great seal.
  2. Framed Front Window
    1. Some cap companies will put framed windows around the outside of the truck cap and leave a rubber mount front window. Even on deluxe models, some manufacturers will put an inexpensive “roped in” front picture window. The problem with these windows is that the rubber frame around the glass will expand and contract over time and temperature changes. Sometimes this rubber will become weathered and harden leaving the cap susceptible to leaks. Ranch Fiberglass offers a free front sliding window upgrade on all models excluding the Echo.
  3. Trimless finished edges
    1. The edges on your truck don’t have a rubber piece of trim on them and neither should your truck cap. Granted, the edges of any painted surface are more vulnerable than the planes but once your truck cap is installed it typically only comes off a couple times per year. If you plan to either leave your topper uninstalled for a long period of time or take if off frequently than painted trim might be for you. (And is available through Ranch Fiberglass upon request) However, if you typically leave the truck cap on your truck, trimless edges enhance the overall appearance of the transition between your canopy and truck bed.
  4. Honeycomb Tri-Cel Reinforced Roof
    1. Honeycomb Tri-Cel and other honeycomb reinforcement is a vital part to a well-built truck topper. This cardboard type material is shaped in a honeycomb or triangular pattern. Matted between two layers of fiberglass and resin mix, it increases the truck cap’s strength close to 10X. The secret to this increased strength is in the thousands of little “pillars” of resin that are formed as it drips from the upper layer of fiberglass to the lower layer through the Honeycomb Tri-Cel. Some fiberglass truck cap manufacturers use a layer of plain cardboard, which doesn’t produce the same results. Others don’t use any reinforcement at all.
  5. Quick Disconnect Wire Harness
    1. Most states require a replacement third brake light if the OEM center brake light is covered by the fiberglass truck canopy. Ranch Fiberglass truck caps come standard with a 12v hardwired dome light. The wire harness is designed for quick release and reconnection of the wires when removing or installing the truck cap.
  6. VIN Paint Variant System
    1. Due to the multiple variants each paint code has it’s virtually impossible to guarantee a perfect paint match without painting the truck and truck cap at the same time, the VIN Paint Variant System makes it a little easier to get as close as possible. Some of the larger OEM paint suppliers take multiple paint chips around to produced trucks and match them to a variant. That variant code is then tagged to the Truck’s VIN and is accessible through the VIN Paint Variant System otherwise known as a Vindicator. The Vindicator will tell the truck cap painter which variant to make the painted fiberglass topper.
  7. Standard Dual “T” handled rear door
    1. There are currently only two options used in aluminum framed topper doors. While convenient the single “T” handled rear door is noisier and lacks security when compared to a Dual “T”. The cams on a Dual “T” door are short and thick and very difficult to bend while the rods on the Single “T” handled rear door run from the center of the cap to the outside frame of the door. The leverage from the center “T” handle makes it easier to bend the long rods than the short cams on the Dual “T” handle.
  8. Don’t fall for the gimmicks
    1. There are a lot of coupons floating around on the Internet. Sometimes these are just priced in discounts. Make sure you are looking at the bottom dollar and not the amount off. If you compare standard features and out-the-door pricing and with the discount or coupon you’re at the same bottom line or still paying more the coupon is nothing more than a gimmick designed to build false value in the truck cap. 
  9. Optional Features
    1. Check the options. Some dual line dealers will sell one product as if it’s superior to the other by stating that it comes standard with features (such as interior headliner) that actually might be available through the other line and often cheaper.
    2. Truck Caps are available with many options. Be sure to ask about the features that are available. There are many, storage, power, and cleaning convenience options available that may be worth the investment.

While shopping for a truck lid keep these items in mind:

  1. 1200lb Tested Rotary Latches (30,000 cycle min.)
    1. Most fiberglass tonneau covers use rotary latches but be aware of their strength and cycle testing if security is important to you.
    2. Some lids use rods or cams. Be sure that they are strong enough and supported with heavy gage aluminum or galvanized steal and not plastic. The rods may be thick and strong but the security is only as good as the supports that hold them to the fiberglass. Many tonneau cams or rods will bend with a fairly minimal amount of upward force on the tonneau.
  2. Steel Cable and Crimp Combo
    1. Fiberglass lids with rotary latches are often activated with a steal cable connected to a center handle or actuator. Most cables are extremely strong and minimize the force needed for the handle to activate the rotary latches. Generally speaking, rotary latches designed for use with a cable actuating system are made to bite and seize to steel. The cables have a plastic coating over them that need to be stripped back at the attaching point to avoid slippage and the need for constant readjustment. To be sure that the cables are in the right place and tight a crimp should be added to the outside ends of the cable. This also keeps the cable from completely slipping through the rotary latch making it extremely difficult to open the tonneau cover.
  3. Trimless finished edges
    1. The edges on your truck don’t have a rubber piece of trim on them and neither should your tonneau cover. Granted, the edges of any painted surface are more vulnerable than the planes but once your painted fiberglass lid is installed it typically only comes off a couple times per year. If you plan to either leave your cover uninstalled for a long period of time or take if off frequently than painted trim might be for you. (And is available through Ranch Fiberglass upon request) However, if you typically leave the tonneau on your truck, trimless edges enhance the overall appearance of the transition between your lid and truck bed.
  4. Standard Lift Assisted Gas Props
    1. These are designed to assist the gas props in opening and closing the tonneau cover. Assist arms also limit the ware on the front hinge increasing its overall life.
  5. Style choice
    1. Painted fiberglass tonneau covers come in many different styles. Some have style lines and others have a low profile smooth look. Be sure that you aren’t sacrificing quality for style. You shouldn’t have to downgrade your product to get the styling you like.