Even if you have a big pick-up truck, it can be hard to drive on a snowy or icy road. To make it easier and safer, you might want to add some weight to the bed of your truck.
Adding 100–150 pounds of weight to the bed of a pickup truck over its rear axle can make it much more stable in the snow. The most common safe ways to add weight are with sandbags and concrete blocks.
But there are some things you should remember if you want to do this in a safe and effective way!
Why Weighing Down a Truck Bed Is Useful
When you put the right amount of weight in the back of your truck, it can help you a lot on slippery winter roads.
If you add weight to your truck bed and your truck is rear-wheel drive, you can expect to gain more traction, control, and stability because your truck’s wheels will be able to grip the road surface more strongly.
But even if you think that the more weight in your truck bed, the better, that isn’t always the best thing to do. If you add too much weight, you will need a longer stopping distance. Since the roads may already be dangerous, making it harder for your truck to stop could cause you to get into an accident that you might have been able to avoid otherwise.
We usually don’t think it’s necessary to add more weight to the bed of a truck with front-wheel drive. With a front-wheel-drive truck, more of the truck’s weight is already near the front axle. This gives your truck’s tyres the grip they need on slippery roads.
If you add weight to your truck bed in these situations, the worst thing that could happen is that you won’t be able to speed up as fast and you’ll use more gas.
Does Adding Weight Help 4WD Trucks Too?
When you have a 4WD truck, you rarely, if ever, have to worry about putting more weight in the bed. Your 4WD truck always sends the same amount of power to each of its four wheels.
Because of this, your truck should always have enough power to give you the grip you need to drive on a snowy or icy road.
Many people who drive pickup trucks get confused and think that the way 4WD trucks and AWD trucks work in the winter is the same. If you do this, you’re doing something wrong that could lead to a serious car accident.
When you have an all-wheel-drive (AWD) truck, it is made so that the weight is always stable in both the front and back. When you add more weight to an AWD truck, the computer gets confused about how the truck’s weight balance has changed.
In the worst case, this computer mix-up will cause your truck to spin and slide in places where that wouldn’t normally happen.
How Much Weight to Add
Once you’ve decided that adding weight to your truck bed will help you get better traction on snowy roads, the next step is to figure out how much weight your truck needs.
In these situations, a lot of truck drivers think they need to put hundreds of extra pounds of weight in the back of their truck. Even though this sounds like a good idea, it isn’t!
We recommend adding between 100 and 150 pounds of extra weight to your truck bed if you want to slow down your truck in the winter. By putting this weight over the axle, you should get just enough extra grip when driving in the snow.
You might be able to gain up to 200 pounds without any bad effects, but any more than that will do more harm than good.
Adding too much weight to your truck can make it use a lot more gas than it should.
Not only will your car use more gas, but it will also take longer to speed up and stop. This could make you more likely to get into an accident than if you didn’t have any weight on your bike.
Five Options to Weigh Down a Pickup Truck Bed
If you decide you want to add more weight to the bed of your truck, give yourself some time to think about how you will do it. If you don’t want your truck to get damaged on the way, make sure that whatever you use won’t move around in the truck bed.
Most people prefer to use sandbags to make their trucks heavier in the winter. When you use these, put them right over the back axle of your truck. If you put the sandbags behind the axle, the front of your truck will become lighter, which will make it even harder to drive.
In the winter, you can also use concrete blocks to weigh down the bed of your truck. Since these are usually very heavy, you should only have to walk a few blocks to get to 100–150 pounds.
But make sure the blocks are well held together. If you don’t, they might slide around and damage the bed of your truck.
People often use the weights they use for exercise to add extra weight to the beds of their trucks to make them more stable. Just like with other things, you should always put the weights right over your truck’s rear axle and make sure they are secure.
If your truck bed has a toolbox, you can use it to your advantage to get better traction in the winter. You won’t have to do much heavy lifting with this, even though it’s big enough to hold a lot of tools and other things.
Also, anything you put in the toolbox will be safe from the weather, and you’ll still have plenty of room if you need to carry other things.
Last but not least, you can use the snow itself to get a better grip.
If you’ve been parking your truck in a garage, pull it out onto your driveway. Then, get your shovel and put the snow you’ve shovelled out of your driveway into the back of your truck.
If it is cold enough, it will not melt while you are driving. Also, this option won’t cost you anything, will only take a few minutes to complete, and will be more than enough weight to give you a surprising amount of traction.
Is It Bad to Leave the Weight in Your Truck Bed?
When you put weight in your truck bed in the winter to help you get better traction on slick roads, you may wonder if you can leave that weight in your truck for good.
Most of the time, you should be able to leave your truck bed loaded for as long as you need to as long as you have used common sense and followed the manufacturer’s recommendations for maximum payloads.
Since a standard pickup truck only needs to carry 100–150 pounds, this is well within the limits of any truck.
Some people don’t pay attention to the details of this matter, which is a shame. When this happens, trucks do get damaged.
If you go above and beyond what the manufacturer says, you could hurt your truck’s suspension system.
A repair could be even more expensive if your truck isn’t under warranty or if it turns out you didn’t follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
In these cases, your warranty could be void, and you’d have to pay for the expensive repairs yourself.
Extra Weight, Extra Confidence!
If you just started driving a pickup truck or aren’t used to driving in the winter, putting heavy things in your truck bed can give you more confidence on the road.
When snow or ice makes the roads especially slippery, 2WD pickup trucks often fishtail because the back tyres have less grip on a slippery road.
Adding 100 pounds or more of extra weight to the truck bed will make it less likely that the truck will slide or spin out of control.
Are Winter Tires A Better Choice?
If you’re worried about the extra weight in your truck’s bed hurting it or just don’t want to deal with adding the weight, winter tyres may be a good alternative.
When the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, regular tyres can lose grip because the rubber in them gets hard and stiff. Winter tyres, on the other hand, are made of rubber with special compounds that help the tyres grip the road better when it’s wet.
Also, remember that it won’t matter how much weight you add to the truck bed if the tyres have worn down too much. Even if you have a great 4WD truck, slippery tyres on slippery roads are never a good thing.
If you think that adding weight to your truck bed in the winter will give you the extra traction you’ve been looking for, make sure you do it in a way that keeps you and your truck safe. On a slippery road, you will be safer if you are careful as you move sandbags, weights, or other things.