Which Bedliner Warranty Protects Buyers Best?

Bedliner Lead II

By Tim Esterdahl

By design, pickup truck bedliners take a beating. And since every truck owner knows this, bedliner manufacturers market their products by talking about how "tough" or "resilient" their bedliners are. Considering this marketing, and considering the tough use that all bedliners face, one might assume bedliner manufacturers offer similar comprehensive warranties. That is not the case.

After taking a close look at the warranties of four major bedliner brands — and reviewing the specific language of each warranty with an attorney — we've learned that some popular bedliner warranties don't live up to expectations set by their marketing materials.

While there are many manufacturers of bedliners, for this story we looked at the warranties for some of the more popular optons; spray-in, drop-in, and hybrid bedliners. We focused on Line-X, Rhino Linings, Duraliner/Pendaliner and DualLiner because they are available throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Exclusions for Commercial Use

After obtaining and reviewing a copy of the product warranties from each manufacturer, we learned that Line-X, Rhino Linings and Duraliner/Pendaliner do not warranty their products for commercial users (DualLiner does). This was a little surprising as these companies go to great lengths to advertise the durability of their products.

Since warranties are legal documents, we asked Arizona attorney D. Jeffrey Craven for some insight as to why commercial use might not be covered. Craven is a construction and commercial litigation attorney and has been practicing law for 20 years. He has litigated warranty claims under common law and express and implied warranties under the Uniform Commercial Code.

"Since these tend to be 'lifetime' warranties, they're written based upon an expected level of use," Craven said. "If a contracting company that had a fleet of trucks received warranty coverage for all their bedliners, they could end up making multiple warranty claims during the life of each of the vehicles in its fleet."

How about farmers and ranchers? Would they be entitled to warranty coverage? "That's hard to know. If the farmer is operating a small family ranch or farm, and the truck and bedliner were both purchased in the individual's name, more likely than not the manufacturer warranties would apply. If the farmer runs a large commercial enterprise that is owned by a corporation or limited liability company, it would likely be deemed 'commercial,' " Craven said.

Open to Interpretation

Spray-in liner mw II

Cars.com image, Mark Williams

All the warranties we reviewed contained vague language, either in regard to coverage or in regard to limiting liability. Here are a couple of examples:

  • The Pendaliner/Duraliner warranty stated that it would warranty its product when used in "normal operating conditions."
  • The Rhino Linings warranty excludes coverage for "misuse."

While these terms might seem like normal "legalese" to some, a precise understanding of "misuse" or "normal operating conditions" is impossible since everyone has their own definition.

"My suspicion is that these terms were intentionally left vague in an effort to afford the manufacturer some discretion," Craven said. Does this mean that Rhino Linings or Pendaliner/Duraliner retailers would refuse a specific warranty claim? Not exactly. As franchisees, in many cases retailers are given quite a bit of latitude as to how to handle specific claims. No one can know 100 percent for sure.

It should be noted that both Line-X and Rhino require bedliner owners to return to their installer with any warranty claims (in the case of Line-X, only if the original installer is within 100 miles of the buyer's location). As noted, these individual installers seem to have the power to determine if your warranty claim is valid or not. With hundreds of installers across the U.S. and Canada, odds are good that each installer's definition of "misuse" — or "commercial use" — will vary.

Limited to Original Purchaser

In addition to commercial exclusions and vague language, the warranties from Line-X, Rhino Linings and Pendaliner/Duraliner are not transferrable, meaning that they are only available to the original purchaser.

On one hand, it makes sense for a company to limit its warranty to the actual person who bought the product. On the other hand, if the bedliners really do last for a "lifetime," what's the logic behind limiting coverage to the original buyer only? Shouldn't a product as durable and tough as a bedliner be warrantied regardless of ownership?

Warranty Comparison Results

All of the bedliner manufacturers we reviewed market their products as strong, tough, indestructible, etc. Yet most of these companies limit their warranty coverage in some specific ways. After reviewing each warranty in detail, we prepared a simple chart pickup owners can use to evaluate each product.

Bedliner

Additionally, here are the links to the warranty policies for Rhino Linings, DualLiner and Pendaliner/Duraliner. We also obtained a copy of a Line-X warranty policy from a local installer; upload it here.

Finding the Bottom Line

Be aware of inconsistencies. The marketing language used by three of the four bedliner manufacturers we reviewed doesn't seem to match their warranty policies. If their products really are as tough as they say, it seems to us their warranties should be better. However, we can imagine some cases where it would be understandable why one wouldn't warranty a product for commercial use and/or offer it as a transferable warranty considering Craven's explanation of the legal ramifications.

Our research indicates that DualLiner has the best warranty since it has the least number of exclusions, and the company states it will cover commercial use along with the option to transfer the warranty to a new owner. Note: We aren't saying that one bedliner is better than the others; we are saying that DualLiner seems to offer the best warranty.

Manufacturer images

DualLiner 2 II

 

Comments

Bed liner warranties matter less these days when considering how long people keep vehicles and the risk of manufacturer bankruptcy.

But the main factor is cost. The stuff tends to be ridiculously expensive. I'd rather pay less and have the option of redoing it down the road if needed. And that may be the main reason there's really no need for a warranty.

Good article. I wish PUTC would do more aftermarket product reviews and analysis. There's a lot of good stuff out there, and there's a lot of junk from China.

I had a spray in liner (Turbo Liner) & really liked it on my last truck. I refuse to get plastic liners, they are slippery, rub the paint off the box & hold the nasty stuff in so it starts rotting the box out. The only reason I haven't done it yet is there's been some other things come up that have taken priority. I'm hoping to get it done on this truck over the summer.

I have Line-X on my truck since '10 and have been extremely happy with it. I paid $100 extra for non-fade formula ($600 total) and this thing shines 'til this day. It's black, same color as my truck.
I've got some scratches here and there but it's holding up pretty good. I don't think I'll abuse it to the point of needing repairs on it and if it hadn't started peeling off 'til now I don't think it will start coming off tomorrow. So warranty issues are non relevant for me, really (knock on wood :)

Is this a soft sell by Duraliner ???

@Uncle Bud--totally agree. this is the content I hope to see more of at PUTC

@Gregory. My Silverado was a year old when I bought it and the previous owner had the Line-X on the truck already. It has been indestructable, although I can't say I've actually TRIED to destroy it ;)

Regarding the article's discussion of liability and warrantys.

A warranty is nothing more than a promise to do something for you at some undetermined time in the future. You need to be a pretty naive guy to think that every eventuality is covered.

One of the reasons that vendors and installers are so careful about it is because unscrupulous folks and their lawyers are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to hose people.

Allowing the vendor to withhold service under the terms of his agreement with their honest customers simply permits the honest businessman to tell the jerks and their lawyers to go piss up a rope.

All pickups should come with a spray in liner standard from the factory. GM offers it yet 90% of the trucks on the lot don't have it same with most of the others except Nissan, 90% of Titans come with a factory liner. Its ridiculous to have to take 45K truck and have the paint sanded down to apply an aftermarket liner, just ridiculous.

I bought the duraliner for my last truck and it served me well.I will buy one again when I get a new Colorado diesel.

@John,
It's an extra cost that many truck drivers aren't willing to pay. I think there are more trucks out on the road today without any bed protection than there are with one. Most people don't keep their trucks long enough to warrant an extra expense for bed protection. By the time the bed needs repairs they move on to newer vehicle. Same goes for wheelhouse liners.
Spray-in bed liner will not become a standard factory add-on. There is lots of folks out there that will say they don't care for one.
For me, bed liner and wheelhouse liners where the priority additions after my truck purchase.

I have had great wear from the line-x ones in three previous trucks.

Current truck has the ford spray in from the factory. it too seems to be holding up well.

I had LineX on my last two trucks and had damage on both. Both times it was my fault for doing something dumb (alcohol wasinvolved). LineX fixed the damage and didn't say a word to me when I told them it was my fault. I will be getting another LineX on my next truck.

I have a 1/2" rubber made from recycled tires, you can buy it from any rubber, silicon sheets and conveyor belt industrial supplier. You can throw a heavy gear box on it without any damage.Nothing slides on it, cheap, unbreakable, heavy though.

I agree with uncle bud. This is the kind of content we're looking for.

As for bedliners...
Call me crazy but I like my stuff to slide. And if I don't, I strap it down.
I like being able to grab big boxes with two fingers and slide it towards me. I like being able to nudge loaded skids with a fork lift to position them further down in the bed. And I like how easy they are to clean.
I'm definitely a drop-in guy.
I do think spray on has its place though. I think trucks should be completely painted in that stuff.

First thing I did when I purchased my 1990 F-150 was pull the drop-in bed liner out. As kmac1036 said up top, it had scraped the paint in the bed and literally worn the paint down to the primer on the rails. Remarkably however, the bed itself was rust free despite having been covered like that for 22 years. I credit this as much to a properly galvanized steel deck rather than any real benefit or failure of the liner.

I do plan to get the bed sprayed before too much longer though; a quick sanding prep and thick coat of plasticized rubber will help prevent new scrapes that would let rainwater down to the now-exposed metal.

I have put bedliners in all my trucks. It is the first thing that I have done after purchase. I am not like the typical person, I keep my vehicles for over 10 years and I would much rather pay for it sooner than wait to have the damage repaired later. I have never had the spray in liners but I have heard many positive things about them. Maybe next time I buy a truck I will have a spray in liner.

Good article.

I have never used a bed liner in my life even when I actually used a pickup for work. I used to move around timber, which is more forgiving than metal.

I considered one for my BT50 but I decided against, I don't think it warrants the actual work I do with my pickup.

A scratch or two in the bed doesn't worry me.

I would rather spend money for better tie downs and straps.

I remember when pickup beds were single skin an guys used to double skin their pickup beds so dents didn't show up.

Next we'll have pickup bed liner protectors;)

I've been going with the Bedrug for my last three pickups and I love it. Holds up to anything and very comfortable on the knees. My current pickup also has a Line X under the Bedrug so maybe the best of both worlds. But back on the farm we never put any kind of liner in and never had a problem. I do remember my dad did lay in a 4x8 sheet of plywood for some protection.

Why do you need a bedliner when you don't haul anything?

@roadwhale is your 1990 truck a dressup project or is it a beater? If you are fixing it up to look nice, definitely get the liner. If it's just a work truck, Big AL has the right idea.

There must be a full moon or something. Today Zviera, MaXx and Roadwhale all said intelligent things for a change.

@papa jim
I don't mind if somebody attacks the brand I drive, because it's just car and will brake doesn't matter what. We are all fanboys. I just don't like, if somebody attacks me personally and god knows, I didn't started that, but Bafo. I am trying to get back and stop personal attacks, because everybody deserve a second chance.

Thanks to all those who liked the article and want to see more items like it. If you have any particular story idea you want me to look into. Let me know.

-Tim

The best set up I've seen is a spray in line with a checker plate aluminium liner on top of it with a headache rack and box rails.

Many people don't get spray in liners or any sort of liner because their truck never gets used to carry anything remotely damaging or abrasive.

I have a 1/2" rubber made from recycled tires, you can buy it from any rubber, silicon sheets and conveyor belt industrial supplier.

@zviera

seriously, I liked your idea.

But don't be too thin-skinned on a website like this! It's give and take...a few cuts or bruises never hurt anybody.

this is all very interesting but how about telling us which one tested out the best. that's real info!

I like the spray in liners, bunch of my family have it on their personal trucks and it has held up well. I only get the plastic drop in liners because I can pull it out and reuse it in my next truck since I normally get a new truck every 2 or 3 years.


@ This is a great information it can help me, thanks for sharing.

I had a Bed Rug but they are really better used with a topper of some sort. I do like Bed Rug liners.

I replaced the Bed Rug liner with a DualLiner and must say I am very impressed with the DualLiner.

It takes 5 minutes to install the DualLiner. The DualLiner has a rubber nonslip floor mat and hard sides, front and tailgate cover giving you great protection.

I will use a DualLiner in my next truck as well.

Is it just me, or does the top pic look like the bed isn't even sanded/prepped?

I had a bed liner from new it was useless to me and the dealer took it back I put white Linex in the box and over the bed rails, and black in the wheel wells, it is a white GMC 3500 crew cab long box 4x4.
If i ever buy a new unit I would look at all the newer products. I am not brand committed.
Just a thought!

I abuse the bed of my 2013 F-150 hauling anything and I don't have a bedliner.
Without a bedliner its easy to sweep and clean out the bed, or what I do just wait for it to rain outside and nature cleans out the bed for me!
I bet most of you guys would panic if I pitched big logs and rocks in the bed of your truck.
I even throw red hot ashes from my coal furnace in the bed of my truck, if I did have one of those cheap warped plastic liners it would melt and that spray-on liner is a stupid waste of money and its too rough to slide a shovel on, plus they ALL fade in the sun!
Also the spray on liners cover up the heads of the bed bolts making it almost impossible to remove the bed so you can coat the upper frame and top of the gas tank with tar so it doesn't rust out!

Holy smoke, that's a Volkswagen Rabbit truck up top with the partial spray liner!

@Papa Jim: She's a "survivor" with a surprisingly clean body, albeit well-weathered paint over most of it. What I don't want her to do is rust out when she's still a viable beast--even if I don't like her brand or her current 'money pit' tendencies. She runs, albeit somewhat poorly when trying to shift gears (automatic) but as long as I don't let her into overdrive, she up- and down-shifts just fine. Once in overdrive, she doesn't want to downshift on a grade and complains about the 'load' even when empty. I suspect it's either a tranny issue itself or a timing chain. I have no paperwork that shows how she was cared for before getting shipped up to Pennsylvania back in '99. I know she sat under a lean-to (carport) most of the time after that.

I do intend to clean her up a bit and maybe even re-paint her (though a wrap is cheaper for multiple reasons) but either way I go, that bed WILL get sprayed. It doesn't get used enough to keep rust ground off, though for now they're just tiny surface specks where bare metal is exposed.

@Tom#3 - Virtually everyone I know that uses a truck for work that paid for it out of their own pockets have some sort of liner. It not only protects the box but helps resale.

@roadwhale

Your Ford would be a great candidate for a new/rebuilt engine (and trans), but IMHO the body, chassis, and interior have to be in superb original condition for me to take on that expense.

Your timing chain is NOT the problem. A lot of Windsor engines had plastic coated sprockets that would eventually wear out but they almost always leave you at the side of the road when it happens. Not slowly, all at once!

The chain is not very different from every other timing chain. Whether the sprocket or the chain, there's no gray area--it either works or it quits. Been there done that.

You say the transmission works ok apart from OD. If the tranny AND the engine are acting bad together, especially if the OD is involved, I'm gonna guess that there's something queer in the ECM.

Your tranny was probably a vacuum controlled model, but the OD got its own commands from the ECM; could be wrong but I'm pretty sure about this. Electronically controlled automatics were starting to be more common in those days but I doubt that f150s were getting them that early.

A junkyard ECM and harness for a 1990 should not be hard to find--and they're cheap.

In my personal experience there are two things (three actually) that don't age well: P**sy, and wiring harnesses. Be gentle with the ECM's old wiring harness because the insulation (and the connectors) must be pretty brittle around this time.

The interior is the other thing that hates the calendar--If you're really thinking of putting money into the truck, a worn-out interior, cracked dashboard vinyl, seats with worn out springs/padding and missing control knobs will really hurt the truck's value, even if it runs great.

If you really like old trucks (I kind of like old broads myself) be sure to avoid automatic transmissions.

Stick shift and left-foot pedal is the real deal. The Fords of that vintage had a tough manual trans. The Windsor engines were good motors.

I'm going to say that my personal experience with timing chains AND that other are different--especially with the Windsor engines; but I'll acknowledge that the Windsor experience was on a 20-year OLDER engine. This is a place I'm admitting I don't know enough to make a definitive diagnosis but I do know enough to worry about cost. My '72 Ford with a Windsor literally had a stretched timing chain that made it weak as water if I tried to take any grade whatsoever. In '86 it cost me almost $1,000 to have it replaced. You think I want to put that kind of money in a 25-year-old truck if I don't have to? Meanwhile, the Haynes manual does discuss stretched chains and the recommendation to replace chain and sprockets if chain deflection is out of spec. I'll also note that a lot of gear has to be removed from the area just to get at and pull the timing cover to make the swap, so the cost has almost certainly not gone down.

That said, I had an '86 Oldsmobile with a nylon timing gear (not nylon-coated--pure nylon). That thing just quit when the gear shredded and bothered to force a valve job in the process--at $2,000-$3,000.

Another possibility that you hinted at is the vacuum lines. At 25 years old, if any of those lines are original they could be leaking to the point that the valve's just not getting enough pull. This would be a relatively cheap fix--IF that is the cause. The ECM would be my last guess since if that's the problem it would show up on the ODB codes. The ECM is again a relatively expensive fix as well.

As for the interior, it is in remarkably good shape. The fabric of the seats is not torn, though it does show some wear, and the dash is not cracked, though at the same time I'll note it does need replacing because the stock radio (or an aftermarket one) had been literally ripped from the dash and all but one of the mounting tabs broken--an issue not visible but makes the existing radio sit rather loosely in its slot. Also, the panel holding the lights, wiper and fuel tank select switch has all four mounting tabs broken and because this was the 'luxury' model of its day, a wood-grained replacement panel is impossible to locate. There are a few ways I could cheat to keep the original panel but since I have to get behind the instrument panel itself to fix another small issue, I might as well replace it with a new one, even if it doesn't have the wood-grained trim.

Do I want to make it "pretty"? Only so far as it doesn't LOOK like a beater (you should see the beater trucks around here. They're almost as bad as the ones I've seen in the southeast!) I'm more concerned about making it reliable--if not perfect. I'm not willing to spend tons of money and I'll certainly get rid of it if it looks headed to cost more than another thousand dollars just to keep it running. I'm more willing to take on a new truck with a few years of factory warranty than keep sinking money into a truck I don't trust.

@roadwhale

you did not explain why the truck works well with the OD turned off.

Meh, just make the bed out of composite SMC material like Toyota does with the Tacoma and do away with the bedliner altogether. Also saves ~300 lbs.

That's the point; I don't know why. It's one reason why I think maybe it's the vacuum lines, but if I'm wrong, I've still got an expensive timing gear and chain swap to do.

@Roadwhale

try locking out the OD with the shift lever switch. Just running in 1, 2 and 3 without the torque converter lockout and the OD lockout will tell you a lot.

If if still runs like crap, just remember that the old TBI motors that chevy and ford had were not that great under best conditions. If it runs ok, then you know for sure that there's an issue with the computer controls on the OD.

Trust me on this. I would strongly caution you against changing the timing chain until you can get the motor to idle right and run good at moderate load.

I had a Spray-Lining dealer called North West Coating & Lining Service (http://seattle-spraylining.com/) spray their Spray-Lining bedliner on 3- 22 ft long flat-beds with stakes over 10 years ago. My farm still halls tanks, big heavy sharp parts like discs, shears, corroded fencing, etc. The 3 beds are still protected but slip-proofing was worn a bit. Jake at North West Coating & Lining Svc re-coated them in 2011 under his Spray-Lining Unconditional Warranty. Its better than Rhino or Line-X whose warranties say stuff but mean nothing.

Thanks for breaking the myth of the "nationwide lifetime warranty". For the money, Speedliner spray on bedliner is still the best. It's weird how people just don't compare tensile and tear strength to see that this is true.

This article seems to have a lot of untruths to it and looks like a article for one particular brand. I've been a LINE-X customer for about 3 years and I did my research before spending my money. LINE-X is the ONLY franchise and they have about 400 locations in the US and have been spraying bedliners for about 20 years. Because I was in the military and moved around the country, that was important to me. They have a Lifetinme Warranty that they gave me in writing for bubbling, peeling, or cracking that is good at ANY of their locations. I had about a 3 inch tear that I caused by sliding in a heavy piece of AC equipment that had a sharp corner with a fork lift. I brought it to another LINE-X dealer half way accross the country and they guy there went out of his way to fix it for me and said he he appreciated my business and wouldn't accept a penny! LINE-X does have a bediner that will not fade called Premium. I paid a few bucks extra and I've had mine for over 3 years and it looks like new. I also compared LINE-X to a bunch of others before I decided on mine. LINE-X sprays their bedliners to about 1/8 inch thick. The guy who sprayed mine in Charleston, SC said they are all required to spray that thick and they are regularly spot checked by the corporate office. He showed me examples of other bedliners he had to take out and some were even mentioned in this article. Most were sprayed to half of what LINE-X sprays and didn't even look anywhere as good. I saw some videos of blast testing with LINE-X and that sealed the deal for me. Like I said, I did plently of research on the internet and compared the different bedliners I saw around base before I decided to go with LINE-X. Seemed to me like everyone else was trying to compare themselves to LINE-X so for me it was a no-brainer. I believe you get what you pay for.



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