Buyers' Guide to Ute Covers

Utility vans are an excellent means of transport for those who carry heavy loads, such as tradespeople or frequent campers, but with Australia having one of the highest rates of theft from motor vehicles in the world, it's important to be cautious about what you leave exposed. Ute covers are an essential accessory for any ute driver wanting to store valuable items in their tonneau. Read on for tips on how to choose a cover that is right for your vehicle.

Hard or soft?

Tonneau covers can be broadly categorised into hard and soft types. Hard ute covers are generally made out of fibreglass or plastic, while soft covers are typically made from vinyl. Soft covers have the advantage of being cheaper than hard covers and more flexible when securing larger loads. However, they offer less security. Theft from utes with soft tonneau covers is common, and despite the additional cost, Queensland Police recommend using a hard cover to ensure that property is properly secured.

Locked or unlocked?

All ute covers keep valuable cargo out of clear view, and according to Neighbourhood Watch, even an unlocked soft canopy reduces the chance of opportunistic theft. However, as Mark Oastler from CarsGuide notes, theft from a tonneau secured by an unlocked ute cover can be as easy as unhooking a cord or slashing the fabric with a knife. Locked covers, while more expensive, offer stronger security for your cargo and further reduce opportunities for theft. Take care of your keys, though. Locking yourself out of your tonneau cover is an easy mistake to make, and replacement keys or locks can be difficult to obtain.

Ease of opening

Ute covers come in many forms, each with different opening methods, such as retractable, hinged, snap-on, folding and roll-up. For ute owners who only require infrequent access to their tonneau, such as campers who may only need to open their cover once or twice during a trip, the ease of opening the cover may not be as important as style or security. However, those who require more frequent access and may need to unload tools several times a day should consider how easy a ute cover is to open before buying it. Generally, retracting and roll-up covers require minimal effort to open and do not require the entire cover to be removed in order to access the tonneau. Hinged, snap-on and folding covers need to be fully removed for complete access to the tonneau, so avoid these cover types if frequent access is required.

For more information, contact Nans Tarps or a similar company.