How to Remove Ford F150 Bed Cover? A Step-by-Step Guide

Pickup truck bed covers provide many benefits – protecting cargo from weather and prying eyes, improving fuel economy, even enhancing the truck’s appearance. But there comes a time when you’ll need to remove that bed cover from your Ford F150 for cleaning, repairs, or replacement.

Removing a pickup bed cover isn’t difficult, but the process varies depending on the type of cover installed. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to remove all the popular bed cover options on Ford F150 trucks, from simple snap-on vinyl covers to retractable hard covers.

Introduction: Why Remove a Pickup Bed Cover?

Before jumping into the step-by-step process, let’s go over some of the reasons you may need to remove the bed cover on your Ford F150:

  • Cleaning and Maintenance – Periodically removing the cover provides access to clean and protect the bed surface underneath. This prevents damage from debris and trapped moisture.
  • Repairs – If the cover is damaged, removing it is the first step for repair or replacement. Common issues include torn/degraded fabric, broken hardware and mechanical problems with retractable covers.
  • Replacement – Upgrading to a new bed cover with different features or appearance requires removing the existing unit. Selling the truck also typically involves removing the cover.
  • Improved Access – Taking off the cover provides full access to the entire bed for hauling especially tall or large cargo.
  • ** discontinued from the manufacturer, or just sustain cosmetic damage over its lifetime.

Whatever the reason, removing a bed cover is usually quick and straightforward when you follow the proper steps based on the cover type.

Preparation Tips Before Removal

Before getting started, keep these tips in mind:

  • Check the owner’s manual – Consult the installation/removal instructions in your owner’s manual for cover-specific guidance.
  • Gather tools needed – Have Screwdrivers, wrenches, trim removal tools and pry bars on hand to remove clamps, hardware and trim.
  • ** Support large covers** – Get an assistant or support stands ready for large, heavy folding covers.
  • Avoid bending/denting the cover – Carefully remove retractable covers to avoid damage that could void warranties.
  • Watch for stripped, stuck or missing hardware – Getting hardware off can be tricky if it’s already damaged or corroded.
  • Work slowly and methodically – Don’t force anything or rush the process to avoid breaking parts.
  • Take photos if needed – If the removal sequence isn’t clear, take photos of hardware locations to aid reinstallation.

Now let’s go over how to remove the most common bed cover types equipped on the Ford F150 pickup:

Removing a Snap-On Vinyl Cover

The most basic and affordable bed cover option is a “snap-on” vinyl cover (also called a “truck tarp”). Here’s how to take it off a Ford F150:

  1. Release the tailgate latches and lower the tailgate.
  2. Locate the plastic snaps that secure the front edge of the cover to the bed. They are spaced every foot or two along the front.
  3. Starting at one corner, unsnap each fastener by hand until the front edge is loose. Take care not to break the cheap plastic snaps.
  4. Lift up on the loosened front edge and push it back toward the cab several feet to access the side snaps.
  5. Working your way along both sides of the bed, release the snaps attaching the cover sides to the bed rails.
  6. Once all side snaps are undone, the entire cover can be pulled out of the bed in one piece.
  7. Inspect the snaps and fabric for any damage before storage.

This simple process takes just a few minutes when you work slowly and methodically. Avoid pulling too aggressively and putting stress on the fabric or attachment snaps.

How to Remove a Roll-Up Tonneau Cover

Roll-up covers are a very popular upgrade from basic vinyl snaps-ons. The process is just as straightforward:

  1. With the tailgate lowered, examine how the rear edge of the cover attaches. Most use a horizontal Velcro strip, while some have snap-buttons or tension knobs instead. Release whichever attachment is present.
  2. At the front, find the tension knobs or levers that secure the cover when rolled up. Loosen these knobs to release the tight fit of the rolled cover.
  3. Gently roll the cover toward the rear of the bed from front to back. The entire cover will roll up onto itself into a tight bundle.
  4. If equipped with side rails or track systems, look for removal points. These allow the rolled up cover to be lifted out for storage. Vinyl-top rail systems usually have removable plastic end caps near the tailgate.
  5. Carefully lift out the entire rolled assembly. Keep it round and avoid bending the vinyl cover material.
  6. Remove the rails/tracks if desired, then inspect and clean the bed surface once the cover is fully removed.

This process works for any roll-up style soft tonneau. Take care when rolling and lifting the cover to avoid damage that might impede proper reinstallation later.

Step-by-Step Removal of a Tri-Fold Bed Cover

Folding “tri-fold” covers are the most involved to remove but follow similar steps:

  1. Release both tailgate latches and lower the tailgate. Tri-folds attach to the tailgate with brackets that must be detached.
  2. Identify the type of brackets used and remove the hardware that secures them. Most use simple hook bolts into threaded holes or welded nuts on the tailgate.
  3. With the tailgate loose, stand in the truck bed (carefully) and release any clamps along the front header of the cover. Most use rotating cam locks, which can be turned 180 degrees to an open position.
  4. Examine how the side edges attach. Common hardware like plastic friction knobs or rubber T-bolts must be detached prior to folding.
  5. From the rear, gently fold the first third of the cover forward onto the second third, tucking the hinge joint tightly. Avoid bending the panels.
  6. Likewise, fold the second third forward onto the final third. The cover is now folded into thirds and ready for removal.
  7. Lift the entire assembly out from the front of the bed. For large tri-folds, have an assistant help remove and carry the cover.
  8. Set the tri-fold down carefully using support stands to avoid scratching or creasing the panels.

Taking your time is key with tri-folds to prevent expensive body damage that may void warranties. Follow all preparation steps prior to starting, and have help ready for safe removal.

How To Remove a Retractable Hard Tonneau Cover

Retractable hard covers offer the most protection and convenience but require more care during removal:

  1. Park on level ground and set the parking brake. Open the tailgate fully to access attachment points.
  2. Identify the type of side rail system used – toolbox style, under-rail design, etc. Determine how the rails attach and any sequence for removal. For example, front rail first or simultaneous side rail removal.
  3. Examine the canister at the cab end of the bed where the cover retracts. This must be detached prior to removing rails. Hardware is typically found inside the bed near the cab.
  4. Release any clamps securing the cover to the bed. Usually rotational cam locks like on tri-folds.
  5. Once hardware and clamps are detached, carefully slide the entire rail/cover assembly rearward. Keep it centered side-to-side. Improper alignment can quickly cause expensive damage.
  6. When fully retracted, lift the cover out of the bed starting with the canister end. Some have integrated handles to aid removal. Again, keep it level and take care not to bend or dent the panels.
  7. With the cover fully removed, detach and remove the rails if desired before cleaning and inspecting the bed.

Getting a second set of hands is wise for retractable hard covers, which can be very heavy and unwieldy. Their snug tolerances also require alignment attention during removal to prevent binding or abrasion damage. Work slowly!

Quick Tips for Removing Any Fixed Hard Tonneau

Full “topper” covers that attach at the top of the bed sides follow similar steps:

  • Remove any tailgate bracket hardware allowing the cover to detach from the gate.
  • Check for attachment points along the front bed rail and remove if present.
  • Examine both sides for clamps, bolts, or other fasteners into the side rails. These must be fully detached.
  • Ensure wiring plugs for any interior lights are disconnected before lifting off.
  • Recruit help and use proper lifting techniques, as these covers can be very bulky and heavy.
  • Lift straight up evenly at all corners, then move the entire piece away from the truck carefully.

Hard aluminum or fiberglass toppers are best removed and installed using adequate manpower and protective gear to prevent injury or damage.

Conclusion and Summary

Removing the bed cover on a Ford F150 is straightforward when using care and patience:

  • Always consult factory removal guidance first for cover-specific steps.
  • Have any special tools ready and get help for large, heavy covers.
  • Work methodically around the cover, releasing all clamps, snaps and hardware as you go.
  • Avoid damaging the cover or truck bed by lifting, folding and aligning pieces properly.
  • Once removed, thoroughly clean and inspect the bed area before reinstalling or replacing the cover.

Follow these best practices, take your time, and removing any Ford pickup bed cover will be a pain-free process allowing ready access to the entire bed area when needed.


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