Dents, bumps, bruises, and dings are more than just an inconvenient eye-sore on your pickup's rear end-they also contribute to the all-around weakening of the tailgate itself. A tailgate cap is the cheapest way to go about giving this area a decent amount of protection. Armed with this handy little guide, it becomes far easier to make the right, and informed, choice.
One cap to rule them all
The great thing about tailgates is that, in general, they are of the same specifications and measurements across a wide range of makes and models. Fit is not too much a problem for this accessory as it is with other accessories. To be safe, however, it always pays to be aware of the specifics of your ride based off the owner's manual that came with your truck-it will save you a lot of unneeded frustration.
So what is the question?
All in all, the only thing that you truly have to wrack your brains about is what kind of material that you want your cap to be hewn from. There are some practical benefits associated with the two that are going to be discussed below. Honestly, however, it all boils down to preference and the kind of look that you want your pickup to take on.
- Polymers: These are what are informally known as "soft" tailgate caps. Not quite rubber, these have the same consistency and feel to them. One advantage caps made from polymers have over others is that they provide a great degree of grip. That means that stepping onto them, you aren't likely to slip off. Even wet, these types of caps provide enough traction to be safe. The only real downside is that they are almost exclusively in black.
- Aluminum: These are the opposing "hard" tailgate caps. They add a metallic border to your truck and are, undoubtedly, far higher-scoring in the looks department. A disadvantage is that they don't provide as much traction and are also likely to eventually get dented and dinged themselves. Certain brands alleviate the former by adding thatched elevated grooves across the length of these caps. That gives a little extra traction-but not much.
The final word
Tailgate caps that are polymer based are slightly cheaper, but not by much. They only differ in price from aluminum caps by $5-7. Ultimately, it boils down to which one fits the look that you want to achieve for your pickup truck.