Back in 2009, we purchased a Toyota Hilux dual-cab ute.
Since then, the rig has completed more than 170,000km and has travelled through every state and territory except Western Australia. It has also had a lot of aftermarket accessories added – about $16,000 worth, at last count.
But what do you think was the first item that we fitted to the Lux? It wasn’t the canopy, bull bar, rear bar or snorkel – although, we purchased them in quick succession and we like them a lot.The thing we fitted first was the Speedliner ute liner – so that means this gear test has been six years in the making.
Given that the Hilux was bought to be a utility vehicle – not a tourer – a tray liner was always going to be an early purchase. But we were concerned that a plastic tub liner could easily trap moisture and that everyday vibrations would cause the liner to wear the tray’s paint down to bare metal. Moisture, abrasion and metal can mean only one thing – rust – as our friends at Wizard Paint Repairs recently confirmed. They told us that they’ve seen three-month old Nissan Navaras and Ford Rangers come into the workshop with tub liners that had already caused surface rust.
So when we saw Speedliner (back in 2008) advertised as the world’s toughest spray-on protective coating, we thought we’d give it a crack. And we’re glad we did.
So what is Speedliner? It’s a spray-on polymer that permanently adheres to the surface of your ute’s tray. It is also recommended for boats and horse floats – in fact, anywhere you want a durable coating. It provides a rust-proof, waterproof, tear-resistant, air-tight, non-slip surface that’s unaffected by fuel spills and is resistant to chemicals. It’s also UV stabilised, meaning that it doesn’t fade.
The manufacturer also claims it’s got 500 per cent more impact-strength resistance than any of its competitors, and can stretch to 570 per cent of its own size. While we can’t say we’ve tested those last two statistics ourselves, on the basis of Speedliner’s performance in our Lux over the past six years, we reckon the advertised descriptions sound about right.
We’ve thrown all sorts of kit in – and out – of the back of the tray during this period. We’ve moved two houses, housed two dogs, moved around 12 tonne of firewood, transported three goats, helped fix six fences, and conducted about 200 trips to ARB, TJM and Bunnings to pick up kit. On top of that, the tail gate has been used as a camp kitchen and fish-filleting station and the whole rig has been used as a mobile closet, larder and safe base for our team as we’ve explored this great nation of ours.
After all this, we can’t find a single scratch, dent, tear, peel or discolouration across the Speedliner – and we didn’t even buy the hardcore version with the Kevlar additive. To get it looking like new again, all we do is hit it with a blower vac (to get rid of the dust and debris) and then apply a high pressure hose for any stubborn bits.
We’ve found an added benefit of the Speedliner is a quieter ride, as it dampens the vibrations from the load in the back tray. By contrast, plastic tub liners create noise and resonate it, like a drum, throughout the vehicle.
Speedliner was brought to Australia from the United States in 2006 by Steven Cardwell (who remains the Australian distributor based out of Rockhampton, Queensland).
A real point of difference with other spray-on liners is that all licensees are required to undergo three days of theory and training with Steven before they can even advertise that they have the product.
Some dealerships (such as Lennock VW and Nissan in Canberra) offer Speedliner as an optional extra on new vehicles. We were looked after by Wizard Paint Repairs (which is the regional licensee for the product in Canberra, Ulladulla, Eden and Goulburn region).
While we opted for charcoal from the 18 standard factory colours, being a specialist paint workshop, Wizard Paint Repairs can create more custom colours if you want them to. Perhaps your local distributor will do the same.
Hot Pink or Zombie Green, anyone?