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In the past, a standard-length truck bed was 8 feet and a short bed was around 6 feet. The variety of bed lengths offered by the truck manufacturers today cannot be expressed that simply any longer. Today a “short bed” could be 5’, 6’ 6.5’ etc. and to complicate matters, the industry doesn’t always advertise bed length in the same way. Some express it in inches, some in a combination of inches and feet and some just in feet.

A 6.5’ bed, verbally expressed as “six and a half feet”, could be a 78.7” bed or a 78.8” or an 80” bed. That lack of standardization leads to a lot of confusion. Taking an actual measurement is the only way to know, for sure, what your bed length is. So, grab your tape measure and place one end on the inside rail of the bulkhead (“A” on the illustration) and extend it to the inside rail of the tailgate (“B” on the illustration) and record the reading.

Measuring your truck bed

Unfortunately, tape measures don’t read in decimals. So, let’s say your tape reads 79”, grab your phone or calculator and divide 79 by 12. (Ex. 79/12 = 6.58 feet). You have a “six-and-a-half-foot bed” or a 6.5’ bed. If your tape reading was 80” you would have an 80/12 = 6.67’ bed but it would still be considered by the industry as a “six-and-a-half-foot bed”. Another example would be an 8’ bed or "long bed" could measure anywhere from 94' (94/12 = 7.8’) and a 98” (98/12 = 8.2’) . The point is, manufacturers round up or down so don’t worry about an inch longer or shorter than the advertised length in feet.

If you have a tailgate liner you must deduct the thickness for the proper bed length. There is usually an exposed edge when you have a tailgate liner so measure from that point if you can. However, If you have an over the rail bedliner you will not be able to install most tonneaus without cutting it below the rail or removing it entirely. Under the rail bedliners are easier but still may need to be notched or cut for clamp clearance.

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