By definition, a truck bed liner is a protective coating or material that covers your truck bed and keeps it from being damaged. It’s interesting when you dig into some of the problems with spray-on truck bed liners, drop-ins, and bed mats. Let’s look at a few below.
Truck Bed Mats
Bed mats were the beginning of truck bed protection. Rubber mats are nice for a few different reasons. One is that they are not permanent. You can easily put them in and take them out at any time. There is no installation required, you just buy the right size, throw it in and go. The only shortfall is on their own, bed mats only protect the trucks bed, your sidewalls, load guard and tailgate are still wide open for damage.
Drop-In Truck Bed Liners
These are usually a molded hard plastic one piece tub, the slides into your trucks bed and bolts in with factory hardware. They offer a lot of dent protection and overall they look nice. The key performance issue with this design is that it has to fit right. The industry as a whole has always treated the drop-ins as a one size fits all design, trying to make bed liners that fit in an array of the different truck makes and models. If the drop-in does not fit right, you will have the following problems:
1. Noise: If the drop in allows air to flow between the truck bed liner and the truck bed, you can have anything from a whistle to a howl when driving down the highway. You can also develop a tapping noise if the air is able to push the bed liner up and down.
2. Damage: If there is any way for the bed liner to move around or shift you will having scratching, or rubbing away of the factory paint that you are trying to protect. If you pull your drop in out after a couple of years you will see exposed metal, and/or rust and then you really have a problem.
3. Trapped water: If there is any way that water can be trapped underneath the bed liner it will oxidize the metal of your truck eventually.
Drop-ins also have one other common bed liner problem. The hard plastic design is nice for dent protection but cargo has a tendency to slide around in the bed of your truck. This can cause anything from an annoying thud when you apply the brakes, to damage of your cargo or truck when the cargo smashes into the load guard, rear windshield or the tailgate.
Spray-On Truck Bed Liners
Spray on or spray in truck bed liners as they are sometimes called are one of the newer additions to the truck bed protection market. They are 100% permanent by design and can be installed by a Do It Yourselfer, or by a certified installer. Another one of the problems with spray-on bed liners is they are by far the most expensive way to protect your truck’s bed and really do have numerous bed liner problems.
The spray-on is installed by scuff sanding the truck’s paint and adhering a compound that keeps the truck’s metal from being damaged. This, in most situations, will void your truck’s factory paint warranty. The fact that spray ins are permanent is actually their biggest downfall. If you start to have any damage, cracking or peeling, or sun fade, you will have to go back to the dealer for another expensive coat. One of the other real problems with a spray-on bed liner is that your cargo will slide all over the place similar to the way it does in a drop in.
DualLiner Truck Bed Liners
Recently DualLiner developed a 5 piece hybrid truck bed liner that is basically a mixture of a drop in and a rubber mat and solves all the problems with spray-on bed liners, as well as drop-ins, and bed mats alone. The 4 hard plastic UV treated sidewalls, load guard, and tailgate protectors fit tightly against the truck’s bed, utilizing both the factory hardware and the trucks tie-downs, so you will not have the noise problems of a drop-in. The Zero Skid rubber mat is 3/8 of an inch thick and protects the truck’s bed from damage while keeping your cargo in place. The rubber mat also has a nippled design on the bottom to keep the rainwater from being trapped. Dual Liner got rid of all of the normal problems associated with truck bed liners and truly revolutionized the truck bed protection industry.