English English Nederlands Nederlands Deutsch Deutsch Italiano Italiano Español Español Français Français 简体中文 简体中文 Português Português Русский Русский
    DetailingWiki Newsletter
    Get free and automatic updates on new articles
    We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!

    Advertisement

What is a tonneau

Written by:

A tonneau is an area in a vehicle that protects any passengers and is often covered by a soft or hard cover. The tonneau can be compared with a truck bed and has many different names. Modern cars don’t really have the structure to correctly use this term.

What is a tonneau

A tonneau is a side cover that is used to surround/protect a passenger seat. This can be made from different materials and is often seen on vehicles that either have no roof, have a foldable roof or have a small roof. It is not a type of roofing, but surrounds the passengers, instead of covering them. It is an open compartment which often has a rounded shape. The earlier models had a hinged door at the rear as a means to enter the compartment. Later models had a side entrance. On modern cars the tonneau can also be referred to as a truck bed. The tonneau cover is a sheet of vinyl-like material or (fake) leather that covers the truck bed and prevents water from getting into the truck bed. Some hardcovers for tonneaus are also available, often made from fiberglass, hard plastic or aluminium.

Different types of tonneau

Tonneaus can be found on many different vehicles. Later style vehicles such as the early cars had a removable type of “barrel” at the rear for passengers that either had a hinged entrance at the rear, or at the side. Smaller and later vehicles had the tonneau incorporated into the body of the car. These areas often where covered up when not used to prevent dirt and moisture getting into the compartment. More modern vehicles where better protected against the elements and would have windows and roof that provided a rain-proof seal against moisture, this made the tonneau cover often obsolete. The tonneau can be directly linked to a hard or soft top that is used on convertibles, although it is debatable if the compartment that is being covered should still be considered to be a tonneau, due to difference in type of construction and manufacturing.

Tonneau covers

Covers for the tonneau have been added to cars as early as the 1930’s. When the insight into turbulence and air-friction increased, the use of covers got a new use. Covering up an empty space, or covering an open area would improve the airflow, creating less drag and improving mileage and performance at greater speeds. Thus making racecars with a tonneau cover perform better and winning more races. In modern cars the truck bed cover is the best example of a tonneau cover. It is wrongfully thought that these can improve mileage and performance. The modern vehicles are designed in such a way that the truck bed actually creates an air flow that doesn’t need a cover to decrease the air-resistance. Hard covers can still be used to protect the load inside the truck bed, such as tools and equipment.

Cleaning and detailing tonneau covers

Tonneau covers can still need correction and/or protection. The main difference between these is the hard or soft cover.

Soft cover

The soft cover is most often made from a vinyl-type material or a (fake) leather material. Some manufacturer can cover the vinyl with a layer of fabric for aesthetic purposes, resembling the look of a convertible soft top. Vinyl can be cleaned with regular shampoo, APC and even Traffic Film Removers. A chemical product should be diluted prior to applying and rinsed thoroughly. It can be difficult to correct surface imperfections and it is not easy to polish. In some cases a finishing polish can correct some smaller marks. Dressing can be applied to the surface and the type of protection should resemble the material i.e. vinyl = a type of plastic. Fabric covers can be cleaned in the same way as a soft top, and leather should be cleaned with mild cleaning agents only.

Hard cover

Hard covers are usually made from aluminium, hard plastic and/or fiber glass and is often painted to match the color of the vehicle. If painted, these can be corrected and protected in a similar way as regular paintwork. If unpainted, it would require a metal polish and protectant. Fiber glass can be polished in a similar way as paintwork although care should be taken to prevent overheating.

Different related articles

  • Alloygator
    Manufacturers
    AlloyGator Ltd is an English company that manufacturers plastic inserts that can be mounted between the wheel and the rim to prevent damage to the rim when hitting a curb. The products are being sold in various countries around the world and are known under the name "AlloyGator"....
  • What is a colored coat
    Correction
    The colored coat is sometimes referred to as the base coat. This is a layer of paint that holds the color in which the panel is to be painted. This layer covers the primer and is usually finished with a layer of clear coat....
  • Nanoshine
    Manufacturers
    Nanoshine Ltd is the company behind Ceramic Pro, a product range aimed at product based on the usage of ceramic components. ...
  • What is a primer
    Correction
    The primer coat is used between the material the panel is made from and the layers of paint that will follow. In some cases there can also be filler underneath to make sure the panel is perfectly flat and smooth before starting to paint....
  • The best claylube
    Detailing Miscellaneous
    It is often asked on detailing fora and social media: "what is the best claylube". Off course there is a difference between certain products and brands, but it is important to know what you are asking. In this guide I will try to explain what the problem is with this question unless it is asked more in-depth....
  • AMMO NYC
    Manufacturers
    AMMO NYC is a detailing products manufacturer with the slogan "Drive + Protect". The brand offers a small range of products aimed at the most common steps in the detailing process. ...

Links to this article

There are no external links to this article. Yet.
Sidebar



Stay up to date with our free newsletter
Always be the first to know about new updates, articles and other informative content.
Don't miss out, opt in!
We respect your privacy. No data is used for anything other than sending the newsletter!