Nearly a hundred years ago, most cars had an interior part where the driver and one passenger sat, and then an exterior part where extra passengers would sit. That extra part was called the tonneau and the tonneau covers were the cloth or hard shells that went over these openings to prevent the rain from entering. Since then, almost all of the back seats in cars are now inside, just like the front seats. But in a convertible they still have covered areas called tonneaus and you can get covers that cover everything except the driver of the car. Pickup trucks are another place where these covers are very common. Here are some different types of covers and their materials.
Many of the hard shell covers for pickup trucks will have a hinge up near the cab of the truck. Then, the entire cover can be lifted to access the storage compartment below very easily. This can serve several purposes. For one, anything that can’t be easily seen makes it more difficult for thieves to steal. They can’t just run through the parking lot lifting up all of the covers, that looks suspicious.
Plus, having your cargo covered keeps it relatively dry and safe from the winds caused as you drive down the road. You don’t have to worry about your cargo catching wind and flying off down the road. Finally, having the bed of your truck covered is a good way to lessen your wind resistance and improve your gas mileage. When the air goes over the cab, it hits the cover and is swooped out the back with less turbulence.
The advantage of the foldable tonneau covers is that when they are folded up, passengers or cargo can sit in the back of the truck without interfering with the cover. There are different ways that the covers can fold, some into a very small size, that make using them very convenient. When you need to re-cover the pickup bed, they quickly unfold in mere seconds.
Originally the covers were cloth, probably canvas impregnated with wax, since that was all they had at the time. They could be stored in a bag under the seat and brought out when they needed to be used. As time went on, various other materials were invented that were better suited for covering a tonneau.
Tightly woven nylon is an excellent material to use for covers since it can be made almost completely waterproof. It also doesn’t shrink, mold, mildew, or rot, so it’s great to use out of doors. Another popular material is naugahyde, which is made from polyvinyl chloride and has a woven material backing. It’s not only waterproof, but it resists shrinking, sun damage, and looks a lot like leather as well. When it was first introduced it was considered a miracle material and still is very popular today.
If you have an opening in your car, whether it’s a back seat or pickup bed, that you’d like covered you can get an upholstery shop to make one custom made for you. Or, there are companies online that have them already made to order to fit almost any application you have.
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