How to Install a Retractable Tonneau Cover?

Installing a retractable tonneau cover on your truck is a practical and rewarding DIY project. This guide is designed to provide a casual, yet comprehensive, walk-through of the installation process, making it accessible even to those who are new to DIY automotive tasks.

RetraxOne MX Tonneau Cover
Retractable Tonneau Cover by Retrax

Our instructions are clear, easy to follow, and designed to make the process as straightforward as possible. By following these instructions, you can install your lover in 30 minutes.

If you’re also looking to buy a hard tonneau cover for your truck, check out my installation guide on it. Click here.

Before you start, it’s important to gather all the necessary things to ensure a smooth and successful installation.

Necessary Tools and Materials

To install a retractable tonneau cover, you will need the following tools and materials:

  • 3/8″ Socket wrench set
  • Screwdriver set
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors/utility Knife
  • Drill (and drill bits, if required)
  • Level (to ensure even installation)
  • Rubber mallet (for certain installations)
  • Torque wrench
  • Masking tape
  • Shims (in case the rails do not properly fit)
  • Retractable tonneau cover along with (weather stripping, foam tape, clamps, screws bolts and washers)

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Before you start, you can ask for someone’s help to speed up the installation process. Let’s start.

Prepare Your Truck Bed

Firstly, thoroughly clean your truck bed. Remove all dirt, debris, and any loose objects.

A clean and debris-free surface is crucial for a secure installation.

Inspect the truck bed for any irregularities or damages that might affect the fit of the tonneau cover.

Measure Rails

Accurately measure the length and width of your truck bed using a tape measure.

Consider any unique truck bed features, such as bed liners or tie-downs, as they can affect the fit of the cover.

Adjust the length of the side rails accordingly for a custom fit to your truck model.

Assemble and Position the Canister

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the canister, ensuring the retractable mechanism is correctly set.

Place the canister at the front of your truck bed, centering and leveling it.

Use a level to check the horizontal alignment of the canister for smooth operation of the retractable cover.

Install the Side Rails

Align the side rails along your truck bed, ensuring they are in line with the canister. Temporarily clamp the rails in place.

If drilling is required, mark the drilling points and proceed cautiously to avoid bed damage.

Secure the rails with provided screws or bolts, ensuring they are tightly fixed.

Mount the Cover

Carefully place the retractable cover onto the installed side rails. Ensure it is aligned for smooth operation along the rails.

Check the alignment and make adjustments if necessary. It’s crucial that the cover rolls evenly and without any obstruction.

Final Adjustments and Testing

After mounting the cover, roll it open and close several times to test its operation.

Ensure that the cover operates smoothly and make any necessary adjustments for proper alignment and functionality.

This step is vital to ensure the cover operates correctly and securely.

Secure the Installation

Once satisfied with the alignment and operation, tighten all the hardware securely.

This step ensures the tonneau cover is properly attached and functional, providing the necessary security and protection for your truck bed.

Test the Cover and Toolbox Combination

Retractable Tonneau Cover installed successfullay
Retractable Tonneau Cover installed

If you have a toolbox, it’s important to ensure there’s sufficient clearance between the tonneau cover and the toolbox.

Ensure both can operate without interference and that the cover does not obstruct the toolbox’s accessibility.

Open and close the tonneau cover several times to ensure it moves freely without hitting the toolbox.

Both should operate smoothly without impacting each other.

This detailed guide should assist you in installing a retractable tonneau cover on your truck. Remember to take your time and ensure each step is done correctly for the best results.

Additional Tips and Maintenance

  • Consider professional installation if unsure about the DIY process.
  • Regular maintenance, including cleaning and lubrication, is essential for the longevity of the cover.
  • Be mindful of wear and tear over time and conduct regular inspections and maintenance to mitigate risks.
  • If at any point you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to refer back to the manufacturer’s instructions or consider professional assistance for optimal installation.
  • Be sure to test the cover a few times before hitting the road.


Installing a retractable tonneau cover is a manageable task with the right preparation and attention to detail. This addition not only enhances the functionality of your truck but also adds to its aesthetic appeal.