What Are the Rails in My Truck Bed For?

Truck beds are a necessary accessory for any pickup truck, and the rails that line the sides of the bed provide more than just a decorative element. The side rails on your truck bed can be used to secure cargo, attach accessories, and even provide support when going off-road. Knowing what these rails are used for and how to use them is an important part of owning a pickup truck.

Securing Cargo

The most common use of side rails is to tie down or secure cargo in the bed of the truck. With a good set of ratchet straps or bungee cords, you can easily tie down large items like furniture or building materials in the back of your truck. The side rails provide an anchor point to loop your cords through and help keep your items from sliding around while you drive.

Attaching Accessories

The side rails in your truck bed can also be used as an anchor point for attaching various accessories. A variety of aftermarket products exist that are designed to fit into the channels on either side of the bed.

These include things like tie-down cleats, bike racks, ladder racks, tool boxes, and more. If you want to maximize your hauling capacity, adding accessories is a great way to do it.

Off-Road Support

Finally, some newer trucks have special off-road features built into their beds. For example, many models now come with cutouts on either side that allow you to attach recovery straps or tow ropes in case you get stuck while off-roading. The side rails also work as an anchor point for mounting recovery points for winching vehicles out of mud or sand.


Side rails on pickup trucks serve many purposes from securing cargo to attaching accessories and providing support when going off-road. Knowing how these rails can be used is an important part of owning a pickup truck.

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Susan Delgado