Truck owners already know about bedliner, the tough coating that protects a pickup bed from damage.
It’s becoming more and more common, however, to see entire pickup trucks fully coated in the durable material, which gives the truck’s body a coarse, matte-like finish. What’s the deal and why are people covering their trucks in bedliner?
We first noticed this trend in full force last fall at the Specialty Equipment and Manufacturer’s Association (SEMA) Show, a show that shines a spotlight on the aftermarket automotive scene. At first, all-black bedliner was being used to cover entire trucks, but then we began to see trucks pop up that had interesting colors and designs.
One of those trucks was the LINE-X Tundra made by Zero to 60 Designs, seen above, which was covered with a bright blue bedliner.
“LINE-X Body Armour is a distinctive exterior automotive coating that provides a durable skin and rugged look for any vehicle,” states the website of LINE-X of Orange County, promoting this form of car customization.
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The custom Tundra had a really eye-catching design, but it left us with many questions. It’s easy to understand why truck owners spray the bed in this durable and rugged material to protect it from wear and tear, but besides liking the sandpaper-like matte finish, what other benefits does it have when a whole truck is covered in it? Is it permanent?
“Much like a truck owner would look to protect the bed of their truck from scratches and nicks, the main reason people do this to their vehicles is for protection for the trail,” said Josh Burns, Editor-in-Chief at Off–Road.com. “The coating can protect the body from dirt, rocks and other debris off of the highway.”
Burns describes the modification as a way to take the ruggedness of aftermarket parts and extend it to more of the vehicle.
Protecting the Entire Truck
“Many aftermarket off-road parts such as bumpers, rock sliders and suspension components like upper or lower control arms will get powder-coated to protect it from debris and to help with long-term durability for the parts,” he said, because these are the areas that are most vulnerable to damage when off-roading. This thinking can also extend to other vulnerable parts of the truck.
But coating half or part of a truck in one material and leaving the rest as is might look a bit wacky, so folks have taken to covering the whole pickup in this bedliner material. “Sometimes you’ll see vehicles get a complete coat of bedliner-type material on the rig for protection. Some vehicles coat the lower portion of their rigs and the lower panels on doors since this is the area most susceptible to damage,” he said. “Really, the coating is essentially protecting the paint while also covering it.”
Burns pointed out that the modifications originally seemed to be for show, because people simply liked the look. “We’ve seen this done on high-end SEMA builds more than anywhere else, but it’s not something you see a whole lot on the trail” because those true rough-and-tumble types will more likely look for a different type of modification.“The areas more prone to serious damage will rely on heavy-duty protection, such as skid plates and rocker panel rock sliders.”
Alternatively, some truck owners may just like the look of the rugged bedliner coating. “It’s certainly an option for added protection, but it can double as a two-tone color scheme for aesthetics as well,” Burns said.
There are some drawbacks, though, besides the polarizing styling. “While it will protect the paint, it also covers it entirely, and it’s not something that’s realistically coming off,” said Burns, indicating that this isn’t like some Plastidip you can peel off your car after you’re tired of it.
There are also some concerns about quality. “The biggest catch with doing this would be to make sure the coating has great UV protection; most do these days,” warned Burns. “The early black coating for truck beds didn’t always have great UV protection and the color would fade quickly.”
It’s not exactly a cheap modification either. Some quotes range from $3,000 to $5,000 for coating the whole vehicle, which compares to about $500 for just the bed.
So Why Are People Covering Their Trucks in Bedliner?
It may be crazy looking and a bit extreme, but this modification has some practical uses as well. Owners of trucks who don’t care about having a shiny vehicle may be interested in covering their whole car in bedliner for aesthetics and extra protection, but if they want a truly rugged off-road vehicle, tougher components like skidplates and rocker panels are a better choice.