Drop-in and Spray-on Truck Bed Liners

By: James Hawthorne

One of the greatest qualities of a truck, whether a semi-truck, pickup truck, or dump truck, is its ability to carry heavy loads. But truck owners know that repeated use of the truck bed with heavy materials will cause wear and tear. In order to protect ones investment in the truck, truck box liners have become a popular form of defense. They not only increase the lifespan of the vehicle, but will also increase the value of the truck if the owner should ever consider trading, selling, or leasing their equipment.

There many different features that truck box liners have to offer, but they all fall into two general categories: drop-in and spray-on. There are pros and cons of each option, which should be examined and researched before a purchase is made. The type of liner a buyer ultimately chooses depends largely on the type of hauling that will take place with his or her truck.

Drop-in bed liners offer a high amount of protection to a truck's bed, and are generally applied to industrial-grade trucks. The liners are often fairly thick and have rigid bodies to prevent dents in the bed of the truck. Also, they last a long time, are easy to install and remove, and are easy to clean. Some plastics manufacturers, like Horn Plastics Inc., produce a variety of truck bed liner styles, with each style offering different strengths. For example, UHMW (Ultra-High Molecular Weight) liners, contain silicon to make the surface slippery, allowing materials to be easily unloaded without sticking.

Drop in liners need to be properly installed and maintained, so they don't shift around in the truck bed. For example, if dirt, sand, or other materials get underneath the liner, scratching of the bed could occur. This can also cause weak spots to form in the liner, but following through with the recommended maintenance and cleaning is the best way to prevent this from happening. When maintained properly, the lifetime of HMW and UHMW drop-in liners are greatly extended.

The second form of liner is a spray-on type. These liners are sprayed directly onto the truck bed, and there is a reduced possibility of slipping or scratching. Although they are not as thick as the drop-in style, the spray-on liners do minimize minor denting. They are easy to clean, available in many different colors, and have a sleek look. However, because these bed liners are applied directly to the truck, they cannot be removed. Heavy or sharp loads will have a greater chance of damaging, gouging, or denting the truck bed with spray-on liners because of their limited thickness and durability. Also, spilled paints, or other hard-to-remove stains are made even more difficult to remove because of these liners, potentially overruling the variety of color choices by permanently staining the bed.

A truck bed liner exists for almost any type of load one my wish to carry. When choosing an appropriate liner for your truck bed, a few important points to keep in mind are:

1. How is the truck being used
2. What types of loads is it carrying
3. How long does the liner need to last
4. Are the visual aesthetics of the truck important

While evaluating liners, these questions will facilitate finding and choosing the right type of liner for your needs. And you'll end up with a safe and effective product that will extend the capabilities and lifetime of your truck.

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