Everything you ever wanted to know about Truck Bed Liners
Protecting your Truck Bed
Whether you’re rocking an aluminum alloy or full steel, protecting your truck’s bed is essential to everything from resale value to curb appeal. The first time you drop something heavier than your Aunt Maisey into your truck bed from considerable height, you’re going to do two things, in this order: cringe, then wish you’d purchased a Truck Bed Liner. Let’s go ahead and get rid of both of those reactions by being proactive in our truck bed protection. You’ve been grilled time and time again about protection, right? Why not wrap up that truck bed too with a liner that will not just keep her safe from dings and dents but also make using your truck bed more enjoyable with padding...and ridges & grooves.
What is a truck bed liner?
What exactly is a truck bed liner?
A truck bed liner is a protective layer of material, typically a rubber, thermoplastic, and/or marine grade carpet, that covers your entire pickup truck bed. While there are many styles, a full and true truck bed liner will also cover your truck’s rail walls and often times even your tailgate.
Man-Crush Truck Bed Love
Do you love your truck more than just about anything in this world? I mean, except for your mother, right? Then why don’t you have that truck bed wrapped in a protective layer of rubberized or thermoplastic material? You wouldn’t risk damaging your rig each and every time you throw something in the bed, would ya? I didn’t think so. Then it is time for you to get on it and purchase a truck bed mat or liner. And we’ve got a variety of excellent options here at Midwest Aftermarket.
Why do I need a Truck Bed Mat or Liner?
What are the main reasons to install a truck bed mat or liner?
Two reasons, broseph: corrosion & scratches. Yeah. No matter how careful you are, without the proper protective layer, scratches, dents, and dings are going to occur. And even if your Steel truck bed is galvanized, once you slice through that top layer, corrosion can occur.
Mats and Liners prevent any damage from ever happening, since the protective layer separates your gear and equipment from your metal truck bed. But if you really want full protection, you are going to need a liner that protects the bed floor but also the sidewalls and bulkhead. This will make sure that anything sliding around in your truck bed isn’t going to damage the walls either.
One of the biggest reasons why resale value goes down is damage to your truck bed. While scuffs and scrapes won’t impair the function of your truck’s bed or your ability to haul anything, they do significantly lower your truck’s value. So basically you need a mat or liner to protect your truck’s resale value and to make your truck look sweet. One bad scratch and you’ll regret not using protection. Go ahead and say it. (“That’s what she said.”)
What’s the difference between a truck bed liner and a truck bed mat?
How different are truck bed mats from liners?
The main difference between a mat and a liner is that the mat only covers the floor of your truck bed, while a full liner covers the truck bed rails or walls and typically even your tailgate. Most mats cost a little less, but then they provide less protection.
Also, since mats just cover the bed surface, your paint on your bed walls will be exposed to the elements and visible. Some customers don’t like the distinction in color, for instance. Say you have a black truck bed mat but your visible side walls are fire engine red. Kinda clashes a bit, Dad! Yeah, that one’s just for my dad and his old Ford XLT Lariat. Get a full liner, man! Come on! You can even use your son’s discount. Maybe...
Pure Function: Truck Bed Mats
Still if you are looking to go with the economy option (Dad!), look no further than Truck Bed Mats. Whether you’re shopping WeatherTech TechLiner & Underliner (huge fan, btw!), BedRug Impact (rugged or affordable? Both please!), or Access Bed Mats (durable and custom fit at affordable pricing), you are going to get added protection from dents and dings in your truck bed.
Now, I know what they say: “Today’s aluminum truck beds are just as strong if not stronger than yesteryears’ steel beds.” And while I haven’t had any chemistry since my high school days, I can’t help but be a bit of a skeptic. Regardless, if you’re rockin’ old school steel or brand new aluminum alloy, these Bed Mats will prevent any scuffs or scraps from ever impacting your truck’s bed.
And even though with an aluminum bed you are less concerned with scratching your paint job when it comes to oxidation or rust, the truth is the scratch itself is enough to lower the resale value, unless if you feel like paying somebody to paint your bed before sale (which can be expensive) or plan on doing it yourself (which can be a hassle, especially if you decide to leave the camper shell on and paint yourself back into the truck bed, ending up having to try to crawl through that little window. Man, I have had one screwed up life). Point is, save yourself some hassle. Truck bed mats are very affordable and prevent this kind of damage from ever occurring.
Why should I purchase a truck bed liner over the less expensive mat?
Physics. To be more specific, momentum. If you’ve ever had to slam on the brakes in your pickup, and ever had anything slide around in your truck bed when you slammed on said brakes, then you know exactly why you should have a full truck bed liner: to protect your side walls from damage.
While full liners are a little more bills than simple mats, they are still super easy to install and well worth the investment since they protect the entirety of your truck’s bed, not just the floor.
So which liners should you consider? We have lots to offer, but I’d like to start with one of my personal favs. Good ol’ BedRug Classic.
A Class of Its Own: BedRug “Classic” Custom Fit Truck Bed Liner
While we have a complete breakdown of two excellent Mat offerings from BedRug in our Product Center, the OG Custom Fit Truck Bed Liner from BedRug just has that little something something that makes you take a second look at her. Can’t be sure if it is the feel of the BedRug, especially when you’re up in the truck bed crawling around on all fours, or if it is the way the liner wraps the sidewalls and bulkhead, but the Custom Fit BedRug really is a cut above. If you aren’t worried about those vertical parts, check out the Impact and XLT Bed Mats.
Some customers are skeptical about many of BedRug’s “carpeted” offerings. I get it. This sounds nuts, especially if you don’t have a tonneau cover. By the way, why don’t you have a tonneau cover yet? You should definitely have a truck bed cover. Come on, Man!
Point is, the “carpet” of BedRug’s name is always marine grade. This means you don’t have to worry about the elements. Rain or snow, BedRug can handle it. This is the same quality material that covers the decks of most modern boats larger than your classic John boat, like the one my cousins and I used to take out fishing on Lake Lou. Good times, unless if someone stands up. I’m looking at you Sandra Dee!
Still if BedRug isn’t your cup o’ tea, then keep looking cause we got plenty more. Moving away from carpeted goodness. Don’t worry. Read on.
A Complete Liner: DualLiner
Looking for a full liner that you can install yourself? Not into the carpet thing? DualLiner offers an excellent option for Do it yourselfers that is custom cut for your truck’s bed. The best of both worlds, the DualLiner has a mat to protect your truck bed’s floor and sidewall pieces, as well as a tailgate protector. The whole kit and caboodle can be installed without any drilling (or minimal drilling if you want to secure the tailgate piece for some heavy duty loading and off-loading).
In fact, DualLiner is so simple to install, apparently a couple kids installed one in like 15 minutes flat. Don’t believe me? Google that sh@t! It’s pretty fun. I love it when people exploit child labor to prove a point, don’t you? Just kiddin’.
But seriously, if you don’t like either of those options, you may have come here in search of something else entirely. Let me tell you about two additional options that we don’t recommend and hence don’t carry. That’s actually a big part of the Midwest Aftermarket core belief system (or Core BS, if you’re into the whole brevity thing). If we don’t believe in a product, we don’t sell it.
Let’s start with the classic spray-in truck bed liners. First, they look great (when first installed). And we get it, they have a visual and tactile appeal. But there are some serious issues with this style of liner.
Why are spray in liners a thing of the past?
Why don’t we recommend spray in liners anymore?
There are six main reasons we no longer recommend spray in liners:
- No longer cost effective
- Nigh impossible to DIY Install
- Overspray is a thing
- Custom install is expensive
- Scratches lead to unsightly damage and chipping
- Sunlight causes most spray-in liners to fade
The biggest reason that most of our customers opt not to go for a spray in is that most can’t install a spray in liner themselves. It requires special tools and training. That right there put us off of these old school liners. We want to sell products that are easy to install and that are affordable. If you have to locate an authorized installer and then get a quote for install that is separate from us, not only is it a huge hassle for you as the consumer, but sometimes (and we won’t say often, but sometimes) we hear horror stories of customers who paid way too much for spray in liner install and then found out from their buddy that someone in the next county over does it for half the price.
We just don’t like that. When we quote you a price here at Midwest Aftermarket, we want that price to include shipping and if possible DIY install. Since DIY isn’t really an honest option with spray-in, we struggle to get behind them.
While these older style spray-ins look nice and have a cool texture that prevents sliding (much like our DualLiner and BedRug offers, btw), the problem is that a few scratches or dings can lead these spray-ins to start chipping. And once you have a damaged area, it is likely to grow. We find this appalling.
Now I suppose if you took a really sharp knife to a DualLiner or BedRug deliberately, you could cut through it, though it would take some serious effort. But a scratch on a spray-in often comes from regular use, like stowing a tool box or heavy piece of equipment. We like products with clear warranties and protections here. And while some spray-ins are incredibly tough, if during installation anything goes wrong at all, you can end up with a spray-in that will chip or peel.
Speaking of the install, overspray is a thing. This happens when the installer misses a spot or just jerks a bit, then that sticky spray-in material can end up places you don’t want it like your windows or on the side of your truck. We’ve again heard terrible stories about windy days. If an installer is doing it right, they will tape up EVERYTHING and make sure there isn’t even a possibility of overspray.
But I guess that’s the big thing about spray-ins and DIY. I’m the kinda guy who wants the project done right. And if I can’t do it myself, then I’ve got to trust someone else, and I struggle with that. I guess if I’d known the installer for a long time and seen some of his work, maybe I’d risk it. But the added cost and risk of damage from wear and tear to the elements to install accidents just makes me want to avoid these kinds of products.
Now back in the day, before we had affordable and durable truck bed liners like BedRug and DualLiner, spray-in liners were where it was at. They are the most durable and protective and looked cool. But now that we’ve had advances in tech, these other products are just better.
Final word on spray-ins. This happened to my buddy, Fred. He was trying to sell his old F-150. He had a line on a guy, made a good offer. Seemed like a done deal. Guy test drove it and everything. Says he’s gotta go get the loan from the bank, but he’ll be back next weekend with cash in hand. Everything is sounding so great, Fred goes out and buys the new F-150 he’d been planning on getting. He orders it up all custom from the dealership, and it’s literally on the road, being delivered, when the guy buying his old truck calls him up and asks if he can have that crappy old spray-in liner removed before they finish up the sale.
Fred is shocked. The guy had said it was going to be his new work truck. Fred knew that the spray-in was old and had some sun damage and a tear in the one corner. But the guy had seen all that when he test drove her. In a panic, Fred tries to figure out how to remove a spray-in liner to make sure the sale is going to go through. If you thought the install was rough, get ready, cause it is a massive pain in the ass to remove most of these spray-ins. Fred ended up having to pay a local installer to remove it using chemicals. While he still had enough money for the downpayment, let’s just say he and his loving wife weren’t too pleased. Since he ended up putting down less money on the new truck, his monthly payments were higher too. The whole thing was a real fiasco.
Guess how hard it is to remove a BedRug or a DualLiner? You can do it yourself in your garage in about 15 minutes. Now we don’t know how often this kind of thing is going to happen, and frankly we don’t want to. We just don’t want our customers to end up in such a position as my buddy Fred. So we don’t sell spray-ins anymore.
What about hard, one piece, drop-in liners?
Are one piece drop-in liners any good?
One piece liners are okay, but they can be a pain to ship. The main reason to avoid one piece liners is floating vibration. Since they “float” on top of your whole bed, oftentimes one piece liners will vibrate a bit when you’re driving your truck. And this wouldn’t be a big deal unless if the sound annoys you or something, except that sometimes this vibration leads to scratches and scuffs on your truck bed, hurting your paint job.
If one of the main goals is protecting your truck’s bed, then why install a piece of equipment that might damage it? While some one piece drop-ins are great, some of them have this vibration issue. And we have heard too many stories to stand behind this style.
Hence, we go with products we know we can stand behind like BedRug and DualLiner. BedRug is a great alternative to old school spray-ins. And DualLiner is a great alternative to a one-piece drop-in. We feel like these products are superior in every way. So we stand by them.
Durability and Lookability (a.k.a. Badassness)
While protection is a must, the look and feel of your truck bed mat or liner is also very important. As you browse the various top-notch options we offer here at Midwest Aftermarket, keep in mind the aesthetic elements as well. While most of these protects offer great protection, it may come down to which you like most. Do you like the carpet-like feel of the BedRug and XLT? Think having a full liner, like DualLiner offers, makes truck beds look sick? Just want a simple mat that you can toss in and forget, like Access or WeatherTech? You have all the best options when you’re shopping with Midwest Aftermarket.
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Midwest Aftermarket's collection of truck bed liners, mats, truck running boards, and much more includes all the leading styles and brands. Midwest Aftermarket is the #1 online retailer for aftermarket truck and Jeep accessories, selling products at the lowest prices and providing the best customer service in the industry. With the goal to provide the highest quality product with the fastest shipping at affordable prices, look no further for your vehicle’s aftermarket accessories. From UTV’s to Jeep-fanatics to F150’s or Chevy Silverado’s, Midwest Aftermarket will give you the customer support you deserve.