Whether you’ve just bought a new truck or you’re looking to upgrade your old truck to give it a new look, thinking about a truck bed rail system is something you can’t shy away from. You see, when you get a new truck right from the factory, it doesn’t come with all the accessories you’ll wish it to have. Accessories, especially those intended to shield your truck bed, will not be available meaning you have to buy them separately.
Unlike most other vehicles, trucks are important because they have myriad benefits when it comes to transportation. They can be used for transporting commercial goods, farming equipment/supplies, transporting furniture, and transporting kayaks and ATVs for recreational purposes. But, when transporting such cargo, security, and protection are two key factors you can’t gamble. Therefore, having a perfect bed rail system, cargo management system, or utility track system is one factor you must consider to protect your cargo and your dear truck.
What Are Truck Bed Rails?
If you’re new to trucks, then I believe you must be feeling confused when you hear some of these truck accessory terms. Although these accessories are immense, truck bed rails are some of the most important truck parts you can’t miss having around. They’re usually long metal rails that run both on top and at the bottom of your truck’s bed.
They can either be factory installed or custom installed depending on your intentions. Truck bed rails can either be fitted for aesthetic or utilitarian purposes. If you’re fitting them to add some resale value to your truck, then you can consider choosing those chrome polished or powder-coated bed rails. But, if your main intention is to secure your cargo during transit, then you can consider steel made rails as they’re both strong and corrosion-resistant.
What Are They Used For?
Trucks, SUVs, and Jeeps are reliable vehicles that are often considered for off-road travel. Whether you’re using it for commercial, farming, personal or recreational purposes, your truck will always serve one key purpose which is transporting goods and cargo from one place to another. During the transportation process, your cargo is likely to shift around the vehicle whenever you accelerate or encounter road hazards such as bumps and potholes.
If you’re carrying heavy cargo, then it’s likely to shift from one side of the truck bed to the other causing dents, dings, and scratches on your truck. If the cargo is delicate, then the rough shifting will damage the content. So, how do you keep your cargo safe from shifting?
Well, the simple answer is by using truck bed rails. By installing bed rails, you will manage to tie down your cargo to keep it conveniently positioned in one area without shifting. This will guarantee safety both for your truck and your cargo while still protecting your cargo from potential theft. Besides, bed rails increase the carrying capacity of your truck as you can easily load the cargo and tie it up neatly in a way it won’t shift while on transit.
But, as far as the utilitarian factor is concerned, I can’t fail to mention that bed rails are smart add-ons that improve the integrity of your truck. You see, unlike sports cars, which generally have ample decorative options, trucks and other vehicles in the SUV category have limited options when it comes to decorating them.
So, one of the ways you can improve and enhance their looks is by customizing them with chrome polished or powder-coated rails to improve their appearance while still offering them a long-lasting subsistence. One advice I will give, however, is that sometimes it’s better if you consider multi-functional bed rails that can offer protection to your cargo while still maintaining that stylish look.
Why Are Truck Bed Rails Important?
Your truck is a significant investment that’s second to owning a home. Since its one of the biggest commitments you can ever make, proper maintenance should always be guaranteed if you’re looking to maintain its good looks for a long time. And since trucks are designed to tow cargo or passengers from one region to another, they’re susceptible to regular scratches, dings, dents, and chips that can ruin their good shape. So, to prevent that, you need to install bed rails. But, what are the benefits of having truck bed rails in the first place?
- Improves Your Truck’s Looks
Although we’ve already mentioned it several times, truck bed rails do a superb job of restoring some life to your truck. Imagine your truck is fitted with those boring looking stock truck beds? After carrying some cargo and sustaining a few knocks here and there, the paint is likely to peel off leaving the truck bed with dents and dints.
But, imagine you had a truck bed rail system already installed? Your truck’s bed will generally remain in good shape as you’ll only need to secure your cargo on the rails to prevent shifting when driving. This will not only secure your cargo from damage but will also prevent regular wear and tear on your truck’s bed giving it an improved look.
- More Option For Carrying Your Cargo
Loading and securing heavy cargo can be a tricky proposition if you don’t have any bed rails on your truck. This might force you to do a double chore especially if you’re too sensitive with your truck where you don’t want to scratch the body.
But with bed rails on board, this endeavor can be accomplished within the shortest time possible as you only need to slide the cargo over the rails. Now, most bed rails are designed with multiple attachment points throughout the entire length of the bed rail. Some are also designed to withstand heavy weights of up to 500lbs.
Therefore, with such bed rails, securing heavy cargo such as grocery products, snow bikes, ATVs and heavy oversized goods can be quite easy as you need to anchor them on the available hooks at convenient places.
- Easy to Mount
Unlike most truck modifications, bed rails are some of the easiest to install. The process, which usually takes a few minutes to accomplish, involves using a double-sided heavy-duty adhesive tape to attach the rails on your vehicle.
If you’re fitting the bed rails on the factory stake pockets of your truck, then you can use rivets, bolts, and backing plates to secure them tightly.
- Enhance Durability
When it comes to durability, bed rails and bed caps are the ones responsible for handling most of the harsh conditions you may put your truck under. These accessories are made of either plastic composite materials or sheets of metal such as aluminum or stainless steel. Unless you’re mounting bed rails for aesthetic needs, installing them for utilitarian purposes demands that you go for pure steel tubing that’s capable of adding a bit of reinforcement to your anchor points.
This way, securing a heavy load will be quite easy as you won’t have to worry about any damage to the bed rails or the truck bed. Durability will also be guaranteed as there will be reduced wear and tear on your truck’s body.
- Increased Functionality
The last benefit of bed rails is that they can be used on several occasions. One of the factors which we’ve already discussed is securing your cargo to prevent it from shifting during transit. Another function is lessening any chances of denting your truck’s bed or scratching the paint off when loading heavy cargo.
Another function, which we’ve also touched on several times, is improving your truck’s looks and aesthetics. Now, if you’re carrying passengers from one region to another, you’ll need bed rails to provide a firm place for people to hold on. This, therefore, makes it safe to tow passengers without causing any risks.
Different Styles of Bed Rails
When choosing the right bed rails for your truck, most motorists face a bit of a challenge choosing the perfect option due to the different available styles. Since every truck owner has his/her own personal reasons for installing bed rails, third party manufacturers have included three major styles you can choose from which are the half rails, full rails, and truck caps.
- Full Rails: These are the most common types of bed rails you’re likely to find in the market today. They’re designed to stretch throughout the entire length of the truck to offer ample options for securing your cargo during transit.
- Half Rails: Just as their name suggests, half rails are designed to only cover a small portion of the truck, most commonly the front section of the truck bed. In most cases, half rails are used to offer added reinforcement to the cross bed toolbox. They’re easy to install and are moderately priced as compared to their full rail counterparts.
- Truck Caps: Lastly, there are truck caps. Although most people tend to confuse truck caps with bed rails, the two differ greatly in terms of the structural design. Truck bed rails on their part appear raised when mounted. Truck caps on the other hand are trimmed and appear flushed on the surface of your truck’s sides. Rail caps are easy to install and are usually made of UV resistant plastic to last longer while offering structural reinforcement to your truck’s paintwork.
How To Install Truck Bed Rails
The best thing about bed rails is that installation doesn’t demand any drilling. That’s because these rails are customized to fit perfectly on your specific truck depending on its brand and model. Although some truck rails might appear identical (such as Silverado and Ford Ranger truck rails), this is not usually the case when it comes to mounting them.
All in all, whether you’re installing bed rails for a Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Chevrolet Tornado, or Chevrolet Silverado, the process is pretty much the same. To prove it, here are a few steps you can follow.
- Step 1: To start, it’s wise that you first confirm your shipment to ensure that all pieces have been included. These include the rails, the bolts, and all other hardware as stipulated in the manual.
- Step 2: Once you’ve confirmed the rails are designed for your specific truck model, the next step is to start the assembly process. Since most rails come when they’re already disassembled, you’ll need to assemble them first on the rail housing assembly before attaching the entire assembly on your truck’s stock holes.
- Step 3: Once you’ve assembled the entire assembly, pick it, and insert it in your truck’s stock holes. In case your truck doesn’t have any holes, then you can mark the spots using a marker pen then drill the holes using an electric drill.
- Step 4: After drilling the holes, secure the bed rail assembly by inserting screws inside the holes. Make sure the rails are aligned properly and are firmly in place. You can insert bolts and washers on the underside to ensure that they’re mounted tightly.
- Step 5: Lastly, finish up this project by polishing the rails to give them a new look.
Note: During the installation process, some truck bed rails will not demand you to drill any holes. Instead, you’ll only need to use a strong double-sided tape such as the 3M to secure the rails on the truck. However, just to be on the safe side, riveting the rails on the truck’s body will be essential to improve its reinforcement.
Secondly, it’s advisable to place rags near the work area to prevent scratching or denting the truck’s body when drilling or hammering the rails to fit on the stock holes.
In conclusion, whether you own a truck for personal, commercial, recreational, or utilitarian needs, equipping it with truck bed rails is one of the smartest ways you can improve your ride. On one side, you’ll give it a new look, and on the other; you’ll gain the advantage of added protection as you’ll have a reliable place to haul bulky or oversized cargo when getting ready for transit.