Retrax Pickup Truck Bed Cover Review

Looking for a Truck Bed Cover?

Retrax Cover on a 1997 F-150 Super Cab. © Dale Wickell

Have you been thinking about buying a bed cover for your pickup truck, but have hesitated to go ahead with the purchase because you're afraid you'll end up with something that's awkward or difficult to use? I'm on my second RETRAX retractable bed cover, but not because there was anything wrong with the first -- it's on my old truck and functioning perfectly for the new owner. When I bought a new pickup I missed the RETRAX's looks, security and ease of use, so I bought another one. Here's a quick look at my first RETRAX installation, on a 1997 Ford F-150 SuperCab pickup truck.

Introduction to the RETRAX Bed Cover

When I started looking for a bed cover I knew I wanted something that would be durable. The RETRAX cover is made from a strong material called LEXAN® and is UV treated for extra sun protection. Sealed ball-bearing rollers allow the cover to retract or close without springs or any other kind of mechanism, and anti-bind ball-bearings keep it from stalling along the track.

The RETRAX bed cover is reinforced every 4.75" with embedded, tempered aluminum support beams. It will support heavy snow loads and the company says the cover is strong enough to stand on (although they don't recommend it). I don't doubt that at all but haven't felt a need to try it out.

I felt that the cover's storage system was another plus. A spiral track keeps the cover from touching itself as it retracts, eliminating wear and tear.

Nothing about the cover struck me as a negative, and comments from other owners were good, so I placed the order.


The RETRAX bed cover was carefully packaged and arrived in excellent condition. Instructions included a parts list that made it easy to compare what was actually received with what should be in the box.

The easiest way to approach the bed cover installation is to lay out all of the components in the order in which they are assembled. The slight glare you see in the photo of components was created by the protective film that covered all painted surfaces, and the film remains in place to prevent scratching during installation.

There are a few pieces to assemble before you place the cover in the truck bed as a single unit.

Trucks with Bedliners

If you have a bedliner, you'll need to make slight modifications to it to create clearance for the RETRAX unit, but since all bedliners are different the company can't actually give you a template or tell you exactly where to trim, but the job isn't difficult.

My truck had a molded bedliner, so I notched it at both of the front corners to make the retractable unit fit properly. To determine where to trim the bedliner, I slid the unit in place and crawled underneath to mark the trim spots. I used a jigsaw to make the cuts, but using a Dremel tool would probably make the job easier. The process took a little time but wasn't difficult.


The bed cover is held in place by four clamps, two on each bedrail. If your vehicle has a bedliner, as mine did, you'll need to notch it to install the two rear clamps.

Aligning the side rails is an easy but critical process, since placement affects how smoothly your bed cover slides open and shut. Just follow the company's simple instructions and you won't have any problems.

You'll need two people to place the pre-assembled unit in the truck bed. This is the only part of the installation where a second person is needed.

Once the RETRAX is in the truck bed, final assembly is a simple matter of lining up the bedrails and tightening the four clamps. If you ever need to take the bedcover off of the truck all you have to do is remove the clamps and lift it out of the bed.

The RETRAX bed cover is equipped with a waterproof lock that enables you to secure the unit at any point between fully open and fully closed. This is handy for carrying different types of cargo, and for trucks with a fifth-wheel, because it allows you to pull the cover back and lock it where needed.

When the bed cover is pulled all the way to the tailgate, and the tailgate is locked, it creates a secure area for storing and hauling your cargo.

The Bottom Line

I like the RETRAX bed cover's features and appreciated its ease of installation.

  • Instructions are clear, simple and accurate.
  • In a truck without a bedliner, the installation could easily be completed in one to one and one half hours (my installation took about two and a half hours because of bedliner modifications).
  • The protective film remained in place during installation, so I didn't have to worry about scratching the bed cover while I worked with it.
  • There are only two exposed fasteners when the unit is closed and they are covered with protective caps, keeping out water and dirt and giving the bed cover a finished look.
  • The bedcover's professional appearance enhanced the looks of the truck.
  • The bedcover works as the company says it does, sliding back and forth easily using the handle on the driver's side of the cover.
  • When the RETRAX is in place and closed it creates a water-tight storage area. It rained heavily the night of my first installation and the truck bed stayed dry.

The company offers additional bed covers, including an electric version with remote controls. You'll find covers to accommodate most pickup trucks, so take a look at the RETRAX Web site and explore all of the options.