Can You Break Into a Tonneau Cover? + 5 Ways to Stay Protected [2023]

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Tonneau covers are marketed as a more secure way of storing and carrying your cargo, and you might believe that by installing one you’re automatically safe from theft and attempted break-ins.

But, is this true?

Whether you’re concerned about theft or simply curious about how secure a tonneau cover is, it’s always important to know their limitations.

So, let’s find out…

Can you Break Into a Tonneau Cover?

If you store valuable gear in your truck bed and are contemplating a tonneau cover, you’ve probably wondered if they can be broken into.

And the simple answer is, yes a tonneau cover can be broken into.

But how easy this is depends on several factors.

The style, type, quality and installation of a tonneau cover all greatly affect the level of security it can offer your cargo.

Types of Tonneau Covers and Their Level of Security

can you break in to a tonneau cover?

When it comes to tonneau covers, there are two main types: soft covers and hard covers. Here’s a breakdown of each type and their level of security:

  1. Soft covers: Soft tonneau covers are typically made of vinyl or canvas materials that are lightweight and flexible. They can be rolled up, snapped, or folded for easy access to the truck bed. While soft covers provide some level of protection, they are generally less secure than hard covers. Thieves can easily slice through the material to gain access to the bed or use a tool to pry open the cover. Most soft covers come with latch locking mechanisms, but these are not always effective and can be easily bypassed.
  2. Hard covers: Hard tonneau covers are made of sturdy materials such as aluminum or fiberglass and provide greater security than soft covers. One-piece hard covers provide the most protection since they are bolted directly onto the truck bed and cannot be easily removed. Multi-piece hard covers consist of several panels that can be lifted for access to the bed. While they offer more protection than soft covers, multi-piece hard covers can still be pried open with the right tools. Some hard covers come with strong locking mechanisms such as deadbolts, which add an extra layer of security.

Overall, hard tonneau covers offer greater security than soft covers. However, no cover is completely foolproof, so it’s important to choose one of the best locking tonneau covers and take additional steps to secure your belongings.

Limitations of a Tonneau Cover

Tonneau covers are designed to keep the contents of your truck bed safe and secure. However, they are not foolproof, and there are several limitations besides the material to consider when it comes to preventing break-ins:

  1. Locking mechanisms: While most tonneau covers come with some sort of locking mechanism, they are not always secure. Some more budget covers offer flimsy latch locking mechanisms that can leave your belongings more vulnerable to a break in. Higher-end covers often come with key locks and deadbolt style locks that make it much harder to break into.
  2. Installation: Tonneau covers that are not installed properly can leave gaps or openings that allow thieves to gain access to the truck bed. Additionally, some covers may shift or become loose while driving, leaving the contents of the truck bed exposed.
  3. Accessibility: Even with a secure tonneau cover, thieves can still gain access to the truck bed by cutting through the cover or by removing the entire cover from the truck.

Best Ways to Prevent Tonneau Cover Break-Ins

While tonneau covers can provide some level of protection for the contents of a pickup truck’s bed, they are not completely secure on their own. Here are some tips for preventing tonneau cover break-ins:

  1. Choose a hard cover: As mentioned earlier, hard tonneau covers offer greater security than soft covers. If security is a top priority, consider investing in a one-piece hard cover that is bolted directly onto the truck bed.
  2. Use additional locks: While tonneau covers may come with locks, they are not always effective at preventing break-ins. Consider using additional locks, such as cable locks or padlocks, to secure the cover to the truck bed. These locks can be threaded through the cover’s loops or clamps and attached to the truck’s tie-down points.
  3. Secure the tailgate: Even if the tonneau cover is secure, if the tailgate is not locked, thieves can still access the bed and its contents. Make sure to lock the tailgate and consider using a tailgate lock or seal to prevent tampering.
  4. Park in a secure location: When parking your truck, choose well-lit areas with high foot traffic. Avoid parking in isolated or dimly-lit areas where thieves can easily access the truck bed.
  5. Remove valuable items: One of the best ways to prevent theft is to remove valuable items from the truck bed altogether.


UnderCover Elite One-Piece Tonneau Cover

  • Offers a high level of security for your belongings
  • One-piece design
  • Integrated lock and key mechanism
  • Double-seal system for ultimate weather protection

RetraxPRO XR Retractable Tonneau Cover

  • Lock and key mechanism
  • Can be locked in place anywhere along the bed rails
  • Can hold up to 500lbs of weight on top of it
  • Compatible with almost all T-Slot accessories

About Author

Hi there, my name is Jack Reilly, and I'm a truck driver and writer. I've been driving trucks for over two decades now, and it's a passion that's only grown stronger over time.