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Why Is It Called a Tonneau Cover? Everything You Need to Know


Where did the term “tonneau” come from? Why is it called a tonneau cover?

According to research, this is its name due to its etymology. The French term “tonneau” translates “container” or “barrel” in English. They utilized a tarp when the French needed to shield their goods from inclement weather or curious eyes. Tonneau covers are known as truck bed covers nowadays, whether they are soft or rigid.

So, how did a French phrase end up on a vehicle that is supposed to be all-American?

Let’s learn more!

Why Is It Called a Tonneau Cover: A Brief History

It turns out that tonneau coverings were in use even before the invention of vehicles.

Centuries ago, open-air cargo containers on horse-drawn carriages were initially referred to as “tonneau,” a French term for barrel or cask.

In the early twentieth century, truckers hauling products back from Europe used tarps called “tonneaus” to cover the open gaps.

Automakers began offering a wide variety of choices and combinations in the early twentieth century. The tonneau cover was formerly a popular option for covering the open back passenger compartment, which looked like a barrel.

When not in use by passengers, this sort of tonneau was covered with soft leather to keep the elements out.

Although racers initially used it during the early days of the Bonneville Salt Flat, it was later embraced by them to reduce wind drag on themselves during the competitions.

Because they are so far away from home, they may protect any exposed parts with either hardtop or soft top material, depending on the arrangement that best suits them on each event day!”

There’s one element that tonneau covers helped pioneer in aircraft engineering, according to the world’s record-setting drivers of yesteryear: While racing through the course at high speeds, this aspect was crucial in determining which car best fit their needs.

Tonneau covers faced a short-term comeback due to car aerodynamics and convertible tops improvements, but the influx of pickup trucks assured they wouldn’t go away anytime soon.

What Is Present-Day Tonneau?

Initially, a “Tonneau” was reserved for the backseat passengers. It is common for these sections to be shaped like barrels. The Tonneau’s leather covers were also used to keep it safe while not in use.

They’re employed for various reasons, including safety, aesthetics, and even to keep things dry.

You may want to spruce up your car with a new paint job, or you may want to make it more functional by upgrading it or adding a new feature.

What is the Proper Pronunciation of the Tonneau Cover?

A tonneau cover is best pronounced by making the initial portion of its name lengthy. This may be accomplished by beginning with an “n” and then lengthening it with your tongue.

The two terms “ton” and “neau” might help with pronunciation. Using the phrase “oh!” as an instance, you may use the word “ton” as a synonym for “oh!”

Make sure you use the word in a way that makes sense in the given situation. Additionally, “The trunk lid is covered in dark-stained Burr Walnut and includes the biggest wood veneer applied to a Bentley sedan.”

You can easily remember and practice this method because it’s so simple.

How Are Tonneau Covers Made Of?

tonneau covers made of

The light-duty vehicle market is now dominated by a slew of automakers responding to the enormous demand for pick-up trucks.

Because of the extensive range of choices available with these trucks, a variety of tonneau cover models are available on the market.

However, in most cases, they are constructed of 24-ounce marine-grade vinyl and reinforced by sturdy powder-coated aluminum frames for dependability and robustness. Most covers are designed to fit a bed between 8 and 10 feet long.

For added strength and stiffness, most tonneau cover manufacturers use a dual coating. Additionally, each company has updated its tonneau cover with a top-notch latching security mechanism.

Is a Tonneau cover worth the money?

After reading thus far, you may be thinking if you should get a Tonneau cover or not. If you have a pickup truck and use it for hauling things, investing in a tonneau cover could be a wise decision because it protects your goods.

There are various concerns truck owners face, like tangled wires, worn tarps, and theft of their outdoor gear or any goods. We’ve experienced this firsthand.

All of the above problems might be solved with a tonneau cover.

Before purchasing a tonneau cover: what considerations should you bear in mind?

Before purchasing a tonneau cover, you need to ask yourself a few things: Do you park your truck indoors or outdoors? 

Do you reside somewhere where it snows or rains? Do you plan to travel off-road? What are the most common items you transport when it comes to moving?

Having the answers to these questions is half the battle won. The other half chooses from among the several tonneau covers on the market.

Fortunately, we’ve produced an article specifically about the many varieties of tonneau covers, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on any information.

Do You Need a Tonneau Cover?

A tonneau cover may be useful if you use your pickup truck to transport goods. Tonneau covers are beneficial for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important is that they shield your cargo from the elements.

Were you tired of knotted ropes and worn-out tarpaulins? Were your truck’s tools or outdoor gear stolen throughout the night? A tonneau cover might make your life simpler.

You may wish to install a tonneau cover on your pickup truck for the following reasons:

Make sure your cargo is protected from the weather:

Your belongings should not be exposed to the elements or the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. It is essential to safeguard your goods with a tonneau cover.

Preventing theft is a top priority:

If you’re transporting anything of value, a tonneau cover is essential. Even non-locking tonneau coverings may keep your belongings hidden from inquisitive eyes and deter a robber.

Clean up your vehicle:

A tonneau cover gives a vehicle a clean appearance. It’s possible to have a hard tonneau cover that perfectly matches your truck’s color. 

According to some folks, tonneau covers may even save you money on petrol!

A minor increase in the gas economy may be possible even though its science remains controversial.

Numerous Alternatives are at Your Fingertips

Keeping in mind that Tonneau is a distinct business, I agree that there are a lot of options out there, and making a decision might be challenging. 

So, when deciding on a tonneau cover, keep the surroundings in mind. Make a decision about where to park the truck. If it’s raining or snowing where it’s being stored,

Tonneau covers come in a wide variety of styles. The most basic coverings are made of soft vinyl fabric. Velcro straps hold them in place. 

Weather-resistant vinyl-fabric tonneau covers are the best option for a vehicle. An expensive tonneau would be ideal for those who frequently use their truck cover as a tool storage area at the expense of security.

Some examples of premium tonneau covers are:

What Do You Know About Folding Tonneau?

If you’re looking for an upgrade from your standard tonneau cover, a foldable one is a way to go. Each panel of a folding tonneau cover is retracted and folded back on top of the previous panel.

It’s for such three reasons why I’m saying this:

Private cargo is handled in a streamlined manner:

You may conceal part of the truck bed with a folding tonneau cover while exposing the rest. If you’re transporting an unusually shaped item, this is a valuable tool.

Superior protection:

Thieves and robbers will be put off by the folding tonneau covers’ built-in fiberglass and strong plastic.


If you own a pick-up truck, chances are you’ve experienced the annoyance of having to remove and reinstall the tonneau cover every time you need to access your belongings. Folding tonneau covers make your job easier and save you time because they are highly sturdy and light.

Folding tonneau covers include clamp-on mechanisms to the inner rail lip and may be disassembled and reattached fast and efficiently, weighing 45-60 lbs and costing $250 – $1750.


Your pickup bed and cargo will be protected, and you will save money on petrol, as well as prevent cargo theft and loss with a tonneau cover.

Maintaining the resale value of your truck is made easier with a tonneau cover

Depending on the substance, they can be either soft or rigid. Regardless of these differences, one thing is for sure: they may make your journey easier and longer-lasting.

is a tonneau cover worth it


Is Tonneau Covers Is Worth Investment?

A tonneau cover is well worth the money. You’ll be able to protect your cargo, improve the appearance of your truck, increase fuel efficiency, prolong the life of your tires, and keep the resale value of your vehicle.

What is the price of a tonneau cover?

What is the price of a tonneau cover made of solid plastic? Soft tonneau coverings are less expensive than hard ones. Manual coverings cost between $500 and $900, whereas motorized folding covers can cost up to $2,000.

Does a tonneau cover help you save money on gas?

The average drag decrease was 5.7% when employing a tonneau cover. The fuel economy improved by around 1.8 percent due to the reduced drag. 

It doesn’t sound like much, but a 1.8 percent increase in the gas economy over the course of a year makes a big difference in the amount of money you spend on your vehicle.

What is the best secure truck bed cover that you can find?

Painted one-piece tonneau covers” are the most secure tonneau covers available on the market today.

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