How do you weigh a truck bed to improve traction? (2023)

Pickup trucks can definitely haul heavy loads, after all, that's what they're made for. But the bed itself is pretty light, and in slippery winters it becomes difficult to ride where the rear wheel doesn't have enough traction. When the truck bed is empty, it does not provide enough traction for the rear axle, so drivers can often lose control of the rear wheel due to slippery roads. In this scenario, loading the back of the truck would be a good option, and there are a few ways to go about it.

How do I load the truck bed for better traction?To increase traction in the winter, you can load the back of the truck by placing a few pounds of bags of sand, rock salt, or gravel directly on the axle. This gives you extra traction and also faster stopping power.

Table of contents

(Video) How to avoid fishtail & get more traction | Winter Driving Tips

Weighing the truck bed for better traction

Step 1

Get some sandbags and fill them with sand or some cinder blocks, bricks or pebbles. I think the sand and bricks will be enough to provide the traction needed. You can also buy some plastic bags and then just fill them with water to weigh down the back of the truck.

step 2

Now place these weights directly on the rear axle. Placing them behind the axle is quite detrimental as it could raise the front end and reduce front wheel traction. On the other hand, the weight of a truckload of water is fairly harmless as it lays flat on the bed and covers a larger area. All you have to do is put it in the truck and fill it with water from a garden hose.

ALSO SEE: Can I drive a truck without a box? -The Complete Legal Guide

step 3

The next important step is to fix or secure these weights so that when you brake suddenly, they don't fly out of the rear window and land on someone's head. Or if you back up and come to an abrupt stop, you could fly out the back door and end up in someone else's cab. Since these are loose bags, they are definitely prone to slipping when riding in normal conditions.

Level 4

To avoid this, have some ropes tied through the holes in the blocks or, in the case of a water bag, through the grommets. Then tie the other end around the attachment points on the truck bed. The sandbags are the most difficult to attach, so you should wrap rope around the sandbag several times and then attach it to the anchor points or truck frame.

(Video) Ultimate Traction Weight

step 5

Now take it for a winter morning ride and see if the weights are enough to provide traction. You would definitely feel whether the weight is less or too much. Next, it shouldn't hamper our handling skills. Also, be sure to check your mileage with the weights on the back of the truck. Then repeat the above steps until you find the right weights for your train.

It should be placed right next to the wheel wells in a pickup truck bed.

How much weight should he add to the back of the truck?

Recommended weight limits are:

  • 240-300 lbs for ½ ton truck
  • 300-400 lbs for trucks from ¾ to 1 ton

How does it affect braking performance?

Of course, a heavier vehicle seems to mean a longer stopping distance, but that's not the case when you add weight at the rear. The extra weight flattens the rear tires and gives them extra traction on the surface, so instead of a longer stopping distance you're actually braking faster and getting a little sluggish.

ALSO SEE: How to Fix a Taillight on a Truck Bed

your choice of material

You can purchase up to 70 pound tubular sandbags, which can cost under $5 at hardware stores. They are a very good option to fill with sand or salt or stones. Other commonly used materials are potting soil, rock salt, cat litter, gravel, etc. Cat litter can be used to sprinkle on the ground to help you get traction when you get stuck in snow. Many would leave their fifth wheel on the hitch, which can add up to 250 pounds of extra weight. Some keep your gas tank full, which can help you add nearly 100 pounds of weight easily. You also have the option to purchase water bladder traction aids, which can cost as much as $200.

(Video) Better then sand bags for weight

Make sure you don't have any of those plastic or canvas bags as they will disintegrate over time and the stuff in the bag will be scattered in the bed of the truck causing an extra headache cleaning the bed. In this case, a double-wrap bag that can survive the winter would be a great option.

For sandbags, you can use wood paneling around the wheel arches to keep the weights in place at all times, even at higher speeds.

Many have the benefit of not adding any weight if they have accessories like a toolbox that they can fill with their tools and gear to provide extra traction.

Related Questions:

Are heavier cars better in the snow?

Yes, heavier cars can have better traction than lighter cars. It's just the extra weight, but the tires on heavier cars have special tread patterns that help with traction in the snow.

SEE ALSO: Does a tonneau cover improve mileage?
(Video) Adding weight for traction

Is 4WD better than RWD in winter?

Yes, a 4WD has a better chance of traction than an RWD. It is definitely better for off-road driving and driving in slippery winters. Otherwise it's a waste of money and power. In fact, a FRD is better than a RWD even in winter.

Can I drive with winter tires all year round?

No, it is not recommended to drive with winter tires all year round. The tread rubber of winter tires is more flexible than that of all-season tires, which provides more traction in winter but wears out faster in hot summer.

Can I only mount winter tires at the front?

It is not recommended to fit winter tires only on the front, as this increases the risk of losing traction of the rear axle when braking. It is always advisable to fit winter tires on both the front and rear axles.

When should you put on winter tires?

The usual time for fitting winter tires is between late November and early April. To maximize the life of the tread, use it only in winter.


Now that you know how to weigh your truck, there are a few basic rules to follow. For example, you have to use the usual railroad tracks because in case of an accident they become dangerous projectiles and can cause much more damage to the people around you than they should. Don't just fill the truck with sand or snow without bagging it as it will fly away while driving, interfering with the drivers behind you. In order to save fuel, it is best to only drive with weight if you lose traction, otherwise continue driving normally. I hope this blog has helped you solve at least one problem related to truck beds. Until we stumble upon a new blog, good luck on your adventure.

(Video) Can Adding Weight To Your Car Improve Acceleration?


How do you add weight to a truck bed for traction? ›

Where Should I Put It? Sandbags should be centered over the rear axle, or as close to it as possible. This means in the trunk or cargo area as close to the rear wheels as you can in RWD cars and SUVs and right next to the wheel wells in a pickup.

How much weight should a truck bed be for traction? ›

100 to 150 pounds right over the axle should be plenty to give you a decent amount of extra traction. More than that will just suck your gas and not really benefit you. Make sure you use something that isn't going to slide around much. People who have water softeners often use heavy plastic bags of softener salt.

How do you weigh down a truck bed? ›

If you don't want to spring for expensive truck bed weights, bags of sand or dirt are going to be your cheapest option. Of course, if you already have something like an excess of bricks or cinder blocks laying around from an old construction job, those will work too and you don't need to pay for them.

Does more weight give better traction? ›

The more weight you have pushing down on the tires, the more likely the tires are to cut through the snow and give you some traction. Ray: But there are lots of good reasons why they don't just make cars as heavy as possible. For one thing, weight kills fuel economy.

How do you increase traction force? ›

In some vehicle types, even the 'weight' could be influenced. Not the vehicle weight as such, but by lifting one rear axle, the remaining drive axle will get heavier pressure, and traction will increase accordingly (however, in some countries, this method for increasing traction isn't permitted).

Does weight affect traction? ›

These are the factors that affect traction: The weight on the tire -- The more weight on a tire, the more traction it has. Weight can shift as a car drives. For instance, when a car makes a turn, weight shifts to the outside wheels.

How much weight should a bed support? ›

What are typical mattress weight limits? In general, conventional mattresses are designed to support people weighing up to 250 pounds. For mattress sizes that can accommodate two sleepers, like queens and kings, that's up to 250 pounds per side of the bed, or a 500-pound total weight limit.

Do bed weight limits matter? ›

According to the sleep experts, when you or your loved one weighs more than 200 pounds or weighs more than 400 pounds together, you will need to check that your mattress is ideal for supporting your body weight. This means that bed size matters for overweight people.

What happens if you put too much weight in your truck bed? ›

If you go over the payload capacity, you run the risk of breaking your truck's suspension and even voiding your warranty. Thankfully, there is a way to calculate exactly how much weight your truck can handle, known as the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating.

Does putting weight in the back of a truck help on ice? ›

Putting weight in the box will help traction, putting but too much will create a new problem – a tendency to spin out of control as that heavy rear end tends to swing out in the turns.

How does the distribution of weight affect traction? ›

If a vehicle brakes going into a corner, there is less weight over the rear wheels. This is because the weight of the vehicle moves towards the front and this can cause the back of the vehicle to lose traction. In turn, this could cause the rear of the vehicle to slide outward during cornering.

How do you weigh a bed? ›

Weighing your patient

To set up, take each pad to a corner of the bed and position next to the castors. The colour-coded cables are then used to connect the scale pads to the indicator. Turn the scale on and push the bed onto the pads. You can then use Tare as described above.

How do you distribute weight on a truck? ›

Heavier items should be loaded in the front, with lighter, smaller items placed near the rear. If you are towing a closed trailer, the lighter, smaller items should be placed near the top of the trailer in the rear. For an open trailer, smaller items shouldn't be loaded above the height of the sides of the trailer box.

How do you calculate weight for traction? ›

The formula for calculating traction weight is 10% of a patient's body weight, unless otherwise stated by the medical team.

What is the best way to get traction? ›

You'll get the best traction by straightening the wheel, so do this as much as your parking situation allows. Put your vehicle in the lowest gear. If you've got a four-wheel drive SUV or pickup, engage the low-range gearing.

What features are designed to improve vehicle traction? ›

Electronic stability control (ESC) and traction control are two systems that are designed specifically for improving your car's handling. Both units have built-in computer systems that notify your car when something goes wrong.

How do you weigh each axle? ›

Truck Weight 101
  1. First, stop with only your steer axle on the platform to get your steer axle weight.
  2. Continue until both the steer axle and the drive tandems are on the platform. ...
  3. Subtract the steer axle weight from the tractor weight (so 2 minus 1), and you have the weight for your drives.
Jan 16, 2018

Why do trucks need to be weighed? ›

Truck weigh stations are important because weighing trucks prevents overweight trucks from going onto highways that cannot handle the heavy load. Trucks that weigh over the regulated weight limit can cause irreparable damage to roads and bridges. Many states collect taxes on transported goods based on weight.

Does my truck need to be weighed? ›

Generally, any commercial vehicle that exceeds a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of 10,000 pounds needs to stop at a weigh station.

What are the 3 most important factors affecting traction? ›

These are the main factors that affect traction while driving:
  • The material the road surface is made from. ...
  • The condition of the road. ...
  • The condition of your tires. ...
  • The weight of your vehicle. ...
  • The balance of your vehicle.
Dec 14, 2020

How can I improve my rear wheel drive traction? ›

Add weight to the rear.

"If there's weight on the axle and tires which spin," writes The News Wheel, "the car can grip better." In a car, this means loading up the trunk. In a truck, this means loading up the bed. You can use sandbags, boxes of kitty litter, or even bags of dirt.

What three 3 things can reduce traction? ›

What three things can reduce traction? This is just a list of things that can reduce traction: bald tires, worn shock absorbers, low tire pressure, or a change in roadway conditions such as snow, ice or rain.

How do I know if my bed is too hard or too soft? ›

If you are experiencing pain on your side as a side sleeper, it is likely your mattress is too firm, or does not have enough padding. If you are experiencing lower back pain, chances are your mattress is either too soft, or is broken down in the middle.

How heavy is too heavy for a bed? ›

Mattresses for heavier or larger sleepers (18 stone plus) need to follow slightly different rules to ensure they last and provide enough comfort. Most mattress manufacturers have a weight limit of 18 stone (115kg) per sleeper, which means you're going to struggle if you are of this weight or above.

How can I make my bed more stable? ›

Add slats. A great way to turn a regular bed frame into a super-strong one is to add extra slats in between the metal of the frame. Adding slats will add extra support and take pressure off of the existing frame when weight is applied to the bed. You can buy slats from most hardware stores or online.

Is a harder bed better for your back? ›

Doctors used to recommend that patients with chronic pain sleep on a firmer mattress. However, studies have shown that people with low back pain who slept on hard beds had the poorest sleep quality. Firm mattresses are not recommended if you have more severe back conditions including scoliosis and arthritis.

Do beds get harder or softer over time? ›

All mattresses get a little softer within the first 50 to 60 nights of regular use. This is called the natural break-in period. However, this natural break-in doesn't make it an uncomfortable mattress, rather it tempers down the extra firmness of a new mattress.

Do you weigh less before bed? ›

If you weigh yourself at night, you're going to weigh more than you actually do, according to Discover Good Nutrition. Weigh yourself first thing the mornings, after your body has had a full night to digest your food. Otherwise, you'll be seeing higher numbers that don't correlate to all of your hard work.

How can I increase the hitch weight on my truck? ›

How to Increase Towing Capacity
  1. Get the Right Hitch. First and foremost, you will need to invest in the right type of hitch. ...
  2. Use a Programmer. ...
  3. Replace Axles. ...
  4. Upgrade the Braking System. ...
  5. Install a Bigger Radiator. ...
  6. Upgrade Suspension. ...
  7. Enhance Your Intake and Exhaust. ...
  8. Upgrade Your Truck.
Sep 20, 2020

Does weight in the trunk improves traction? ›

Driving on these icy roads is going to be a concern, but there are ways to make sure drivers are being safe. Some people put weights in the back of the car, such as sandbags, to weigh down the back tires and give it a little traction. The Kansas Highway Patrol says it actually can help especially while braking.

How can I increase my bed payload? ›

How to Increase Payload Capacity?
  1. Better rear springs. The overall weight of the payload is spread across all the springs in your trucks. ...
  2. Longer beds. Installing longer beds in your trucks helps you maximize your existing truck's payload capacity. ...
  3. Extra bed racks. ...
  4. Shock absorber coils. ...
  5. Use trailer.
Sep 20, 2022

Where is the best place for hitch weight? ›

Your hitch's maximum tow weight rating can usually be found on a label on the hitch itself.

How can I add more weight to my axle? ›

By sliding the trailer tandems forward, you will put more weight on the trailer tandems and take weight off the tractor's drive axles. Conversely, by sliding the trailer tandems toward the rear of the trailer, you will take weight off the trailer tandems and put more weight onto the tractor's drive axles.

How much weight does a weight distribution hitch reduce tongue? ›

A weight distribution system will not change the tongue weight of the trailer. It just maximizes the vehicle and hitches capacities if rated for weight distribution (check the sticker on the hitch and the owners manual for your 2013 Ford F-150).

How does weight affect traction? ›

These are the factors that affect traction: The weight on the tire -- The more weight on a tire, the more traction it has. Weight can shift as a car drives. For instance, when a car makes a turn, weight shifts to the outside wheels.

What is the cheapest way to weigh down a truck bed? ›

This really comes down to preference, but you'll find that sandbags are the most popular option, as they are fairly cheap, especially for the amount of weight they provide. We've also seen people use bags of rock salt, cat litter, potting soil, and miscellaneous things they have around the house.

Does adding more leaf springs increase payload? ›

Does Adding Leaf Springs Increase Load Suspension? The purpose of the installing a new leaf isn't to increase the capacity of the load that a vehicle can handle. Vehicles are designed to only carry a certain amount of weight before things such as tyres, axles and the overall suspension system is compromised.

What increases payload capacity? ›

The safest way to increase payload capacity is to reduce weight. Removing the rear seats will buy you a few extra pounds of carrying capacity. Beyond that, if you must move a heavier load than your vehicle is rated to carry, rent something that can safely do it.


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