do tonneau covers save gas mythbusters

Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas: Mythbusters

Thinking of buying a Tonneau cover for your aerodynamic vehicle? A Tonneau cover can keep your haul safe, provide additional safety from potential thieves, and keep everything organized. But, vehicle owners use this bed cover for another core purpose.

Can you guess it? Well, many people believe Tonneau covers can offer improved gas mileage. Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas Mythbusters? However, before considering such claims, you want to make sure you have proof.

After talking with several mechanical experts and reviewing a few experimental data, we have finally come to a confusion-free conclusion. Here, we will share an unbiased summary of whether Tonneau Covers really save fuel mileage or not. Let’s dive in without further ado!

Do Tonneau Covers Really Save Gas?

A Tonneau cover can save gas mileage if you drive your truck or vehicle at a specific speed. As per SEMA’s study, if you drive your car at 85 mph, you can save a small proportion of gas for one mile per gallon. The overall fuel efficiency might be improved by around 5% to 10%, depending on your vehicle.

Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas, Or is It Just A Myth: Jump Straight To The Fact

Do Tonneau Covers Really Save Gas

The simple and direct answer is: YES! Tonneau Covers will improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. But the question is: how much do you save from this? Some studies showed it could save your gas more than 10% by decreasing aerodynamic drag.

In contrast, some experts commented it could save only 5% to 6%. The main reason behind different results is that experts used various types of vehicles from several brands. They also used many kinds of Tonneau Covers to draw a better conclusion.

However, all vehicle technicians and automobile mechanics admitted that Tonneau Covers could actually save gas mileage. The result may not be noticeable for a single drive. But, when you consider hundreds of mileage, it becomes eye-popping.

However, it depends on several criteria on how much fuel you will save. Your vehicle brand, setup, driving style, engine performance, and many other attributes will affect fuel efficiency. All these factors may negatively or positively affect your fuel economy.

Mythbusters Study on Truck Bed Covers

Mythbusters Study on Truck Bed Covers

Mythbusters, a science entertainment television program, showed a documentary about how much a vehicle will save gas using Tonneau covers.

They have used different types of Tonneau covers, such as hard Tonneau covers, tailgate-free covers, mesh tailgates, and tailgate down. But the test showed a completely unexpected result.

According to the result, soft or mesh Tonneau covers only helped the vehicle to improve its fuel efficiency. Other types of Tonneau covers did not increase the fuel mileage.

A soft Tonneau cover allows the wind to pass through smoothly without developing any pressure variance. It also decreases the drag dramatically,

However, some experts think the result might be different if they used different truck types. They also added that various styles of covers might show different results.

Do Tonneau Covers Help Fuel Economy?

Usually, water will not leak through Tonneau covers under normal conditions. However, extreme weather conditions may cause leakage if the aero cover is too soft. But a solid quality Tonneau cover will not pour water on the middle section of the bed. You may see water on the sides.

For example, if heavy rain with a storm occurs continuously for several hours, it may result in water leakage issues. You may see a small amount of water leakage. After all, Tonneau Covers have water resistance properties. But they are not fully waterproof.

If you notice severe leak issues after a few years of usage, try using a new seal. You can use silicone seals since they are affordable and straightforward to apply. If the problem still persists, installing a new Tonneau cover appears necessary.

How Do Tonneau Covers Improve Gas Mileage?

How Do Tonneau Covers Improve Gas Mileage

A tractor or vehicle’s gas mileage is affected by various factors. Installing compatible undercover truck bed covers can improve the overall performance of your truck.

You can keep yourself worry-free while pulling the trailer. Also, a truck bed cover ensures minimal fuel emissions. Below are ways Tonneau Covers improves your gas mileage.

  • Better Aerodynamics Drag

Tonneau Covers have a light layer of fabric. They cause less drag on the airflow for the engine. The fuel efficiency will automatically improve since the soft cover is not adding any pressure.

  • Decreased Draft

Negative air pressure will be created when any items inside the vehicle are mode due to wind. This can lead to higher mileage, But a Tonneau bed cover will prevent this unwanted pressure.

  • Better Airflow

A good-quality Tonneau cover can ensure better air circulation for your vehicle. Plus, your car engine will remain in a cool condition. This will prevent excessive fuel consumption.

  • Lower Exhaust Emissions

Installing a decent Tonneau cover ensures minimal exhaust emissions from the vehicle. It also notably reduces CO2 emissions. So, a reduced amount of exhaust heat will get inside the truck.

  • Cooler Cabin

Excessive hot weather may make the engine too much hot. This will lead to more burn of fuel. But a properly installed rail Tonneau cover prevents the heat from reaching the engine area.

Will Dropping Your Tailgate Improve Your Truck’s Gas Mileage?

Lowering the tailgate will not improve your gas mileage. In fact, it may slightly drop the gas mileage than the standard one if you don’t install any Tonneau cover.

So, why it doesn’t improve the gas mileage? The backside cab of your vehicle gets an adequate amount of air due to the Pickups’ design. Then, it pushes the air on the truck.

But, when you drop the tailgate, it will change the dynamics of airflow. As a result, a minimal amount of air will get inside the engine. This will affect its performance.

According to the Mythbusters TV show, your vehicle’s fuel mileage will improve slightly if the tailgate is at an upper level. But it should not be more than the recommended level.

Why Does A Truck Bed Cover Save You Gas?

Why Does A Truck Bed Cover Save You Gas

Vehicles like trucks can decrease drag and wind noise since they have aerodynamic capabilities. But they are not the best ones. While driving your car at a highway speed, the air will move from the front section to the middle section. This will cause the plummet down.

However, no truck bed or tailgate means quick airflow over the driver compartment. Conversely, a truck bed will create some resistance that will cause additional drag. The extra drug will lead to excess fuel burn. This will result in decreased fuel mileage.

Many car mechanics suggest directly lowering the tailgate. However, it is not a practical solution. Additional pressure will be generated on the bed. This will raise its turbulence level but reduce fuel mileage.

The best solution is to use a truck bed cover/topper to control the drag of your pickup truck. Once the air passes through the driver compartment, the cover will hold the air appropriately. This gives a clear answer: “Do Tonneau covers save gas Mythbusters?”

Quick Tips to Improve Fuel Economy

Quick Tips to Improve Truck Fuel Economy

A Tonneau bed cover may help you reduce fuel mileage. But the result is not significant. Apart from knowing the question of “Do Tonneau covers save gas Mythbusters?” here are a few tips you can follow for better fuel savings.

  • Properly Inflated Tires

Appropriately inflated tires at the correct pressure will have better traction. Plus, it will cause less friction with the road. This will result in better vehicle handling and improved fuel mileage.

  • Clean the Air Filter

Make sure to remove the gun and debris from the truck air filter. This will protect the internal engine parts and decrease emissions. The engine will perform consistently, improving gas mileage.

  • Avoid Using Cruise Control

Constantly using your vehicle’s cruise control will lead to additional gas consumption. It can also be dangerous if you use cruise control during ice, snow, or rainy weather.

  • Better Alignment with Wheels

If your vehicle is aligned with tires and other parts, it ensures better handling and traction. You can stop the truck precisely. This reduces the gas mileage.

  • Be Stress-Free

Being stress-free means your negative emotions will not affect your driving capabilities. Practice relaxed driving habits and use mindfulness strategies to improve your vehicle fuel efficiency.

  • Regular Maintenance

Make sure to do maintenance tasks to prevent costly repairs regularly. It will keep different parts of your vehicle in good condition, such as the engine, transmission system, cooling system, oil changes, fluid flushes, etc.

  • Steady Speed

Maintaining a constant speed for your vehicle will help you to improve its FE. After all, you will not have to shift the gear too frequently. Also, make sure to keep the speed limit since it will affect fuel efficiency in the long run.

How Much Gas Does A Tonneau Cover Save?

To draw a better conclusion with enough evidence, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has tested several vehicles from different brands with various types of Tonneau covers. They used multiple options to make them more appropriate and precise.

The team conducted these tests in both full-size wind tunnels and AeroDyn Wind tunnels. According to the result, a Tonneau cover can average reduce around 5.7% of drag. This leads to a 1.8% improvement in fuel mileage.

You may think it will save gallons of gas. But considering it for a whole year, it will obviously be a noticeable amount. So, a compatible truck bed cover will improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.

Tonneau Covers vs MPG Performance

A Tonneau Cover can improve the MPG performance of your truck pickup moderately. Plus, it keeps the vehicle bed protected from airflow. This will ultimately enhance aerodynamics. Better aerodynamics means better fuel economy since the engine uses less energy to push the car.

In contrast, your truck pickup will face additional drag without a Tonneau cover. The engine will struggle a little bit to work. You may not enjoy quick acceleration and be able to stop the vehicle promptly because more air is hitting the wheels of the truck.

But with a good-quality Tonneau cover, the MPG performance of your vehicle may increase up to 15% because of less drag. However, the cover’s material, weight, and styling will affect how much fuel you will save.

Besides, driving habits, tire pressure, weather, location, engine platform, road conditions, and vehicle weight may positively or negatively affect the outcome. All these factors will determine the overall MPG performance of the truck.

Bed Covers and Tarps Are Still Useful

Bed Covers and Tarps Are Still Useful

Still wondering about this question: Do Tonneau covers save gas Mythbusters? You have already learned how a bed cover or tarp can improve the fuel-efficient of your vehicle. Here are a few additional benefits you will get for using this

  • Adding Some Values

Tonneau covers can add some value to your truck by protecting it from rust and moisture. The vehicle will remain in good condition for a long time. Hence, you will get a great resale value.

  • Better Appearance

Tonneau covers come in various shapes, designs, colors, sizes, and styles. So, you can choose any option based on its compatibility. This will enhance the overall appearance of the vehicle.

  • Less Cleaning

Since less dirt and moisture will sit on your truck bed, you need to clean it less frequently. But make sure you know how to clean the Tonneau cover as regular maintenance.

  • Simple Loading and Unloading Cargo

A Tonneau bed cover allows you effortlessly cover and open up the trailer. Whether you have dump trucks or tippers, you can open the topping from front to back or one to another.

  • Optimal Protection

Tonneau covers can protect your cargo from dirt, dust, water, and other things, especially during inclement weather. They are made of UV-resistant materials to safeguard the materials.

  • Protecting Other Drivers

Tonneau covers will provide enhanced protection for other drivers of the cargo. Things below tarps will remain in a safe condition even at highway speeds. This prevents endangering others.

  • Advertisement

Apart from protecting your items from falling, you can utilize your tarp for advertisements. Many companies showcase their logo on the large section of the bed cover.

Do Truck Caps Improve Gas Mileage?

Do Truck Caps Improve Gas Mileage

Truck caps or Camper shells are not suitable for improving gas mileage. These toppings are made of fiberglass or aluminum. Their average weight can be anywhere from 170 to 200 lbs. Moreover, its additional weight will pressure the engine to burn more fuel.

Instead of improving fuel efficiency, the additional weight of truck caps can reduce the standard mileage. The result may not be eye-popping for one ride. But the overall cost might be higher when you consider a whole year. So, you can’t expect to improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics.

However, you can use truck caps to create a shelter on the bed and carry a lot of equipment that requires extra protection. It also allows you to use the space as a comfortable nightly shelter when you are on trips.

Final Words

Still wondering about this question: Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas Mythbusters? A good quality Tonneau cover can significantly reduce your vehicle’s drag, resulting in better fuel economy. But remember, you need to drive the truck at 85-90 mph.

But the Tonneau bed cover alone can’t help you save gas significantly. You need to avoid using idling and cruise controlling unnecessarily. Also, make sure the Tonneau cover is made of lightweight materials but has a solid construction.

Other than these, using lower-viscosity oil and following up-to-date maintenance can make your Tonneau bed cover a more practical choice. Considering all these aspects, we believe you will probably save a decent amount of fuel in the long run.

About The Author

Michael H. Smith

Michael H. Smith

Michael is the lead content creator for Wheelspick.com. As a car enthusiast and based on his real life experiences he is sharing his opinion about various automotive vehicles and parts. So that our reader, can focus solely on buying best gadgets for their automobile and get the best products reviews and guide experience!

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