One of the most common and useful aftermarket modifications for pickup trucks is the spray-on bedliner. A good quality bedliner will protect the truck's bed from damage when carrying heavy or dirty cargo, or it can be used to cover over damage that has already occurred. There are many different bedliner products on the market today, each of which has its own pros and cons.
One of the most popular spray-on bedliners is Line-X brand. Line-X is applied professionally using a high-pressure system in which the heated chemical compound (containing a large amount of polyurea) is sprayed onto the truck bed in a thin layer. The result is a roughly textured surface that follows the natural contours of the truck bed. Line-X is glossy and rough compared with other bedliners, giving it excellent traction, but requiring that fragile cargo be wrapped carefully to avoid damage from the Line-X surface.
Rhino Linings is another popular type of bedliner installed by service shops that have the Rhino equipment. Unlike Line-X, Rhino is applied cold with a low-pressure system. This results in a thick surface that covers any subtle curves in the truck bed, including scratches or dents. Rhino linings are rubbery to the touch and help insulate the truck interior by deadening road noise. Rhino lining is also relatively smooth, making it a good choice if you are likely to transport more fragile cargo.
Herculiner is primarily known for its do-it-yourself roll-on bedliner products, but it also offers a process for spray-on bedliners. Herculiner is marketed as a low-cost alternative to other spray-on products and involves a protective layer made of polyurethane and rubber crumbs along with a top coat of UV protectant. Service stations using Herculiner may elect to purchase spray equipment from the company, or simply buy the Herculiner coating and use it with their own equipment.
Factory Spray-On Liners
There are also several spray-on bedliner options offered by truck makers themselves. Nissan was the first company to offer such a product with its Durabed option for the 2004 Titan pickup. Ford was next with its Tough Bed coating, introduced in 2008. Both Ford and Nissan's spray-on liners use mixtures developed by the chemical firm PPG. In the case of Tough Bed, the liner is actually applied by robots at the Ford factory and is covered under the truck's standard new vehicle warranty.
Similarities and Differences
The biggest differences between spray-on bedliners involve where the bedliner is applied. Factory-applied bedliners are more durable, but also cost more. Aftermarket spray-on products may be more affordable but will likely require repairs or reapplications after several years of heavy use. Another important difference is the type of surface the spray-on creates. While Line-X and Herculiner produce a hard shell, Rhino and Tough Bed give a rubberised surface. In addition, Tough Bed and Herculiner are only available in black, while Line-X and Rhino can be custom blended to match your truck's paint job.
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