Even if you have a large truck, driving on a snowy or icy road can be difficult. To make it easier and safer, you can add some weight to the truck bed.
Adding 100 to 150 pounds of weight to a truck body on its rear axle can make it much more stable in the snow. The most common safe ways to add weight are sandbags and cinder blocks.
But there are a few things to remember if you want to do this safely and effectively!
Why loading a truck bed is useful
When you put the right amount of weight on the back of your truck, it can go a long way on slippery winter roads.
If you add weight to the truck bed and it has rear-wheel drive, you can expect to gain more traction, control, and stability because the truck's wheels will be able to grip the road surface better.
But even if you think the more weight in the bucket the better, it's not always the best thing to do. If you add a lot of weight, you'll need a longer stopping distance. Since the roads can already be dangerous, making it difficult to stop the truck could cause an accident that you could have avoided.
Normally, we don't find it necessary to add more weight to the bed of a front wheel drive truck. With a front-wheel drive truck, most of the truck's weight is already near the front axle. This gives your truck's tires the grip they need on slippery roads.
If you add weight to the truck body in these situations, the worst that can happen is that you won't be able to accelerate as quickly and will use more fuel.
Does adding weight help 4WD trucks too?
When you have a four-wheel drive truck, you rarely, if ever, have to worry about putting more weight in the bucket. Your 4WD truck always sends the same amount of power to each of its four wheels.
Therefore, 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 trucks are confused and think that the way 4WD and AWD trucks work in winter is the same. If you do, you are doing something wrong that could lead to a serious car accident.
When you have an AWD truck, it's built so that the weight is always stable front and back. When you add more weight to an AWD truck, the computer is confused about how the truck's weight balance has changed.
At worst, this computer mess will cause your truck to spin and slide in places where it normally wouldn't.
how much weight to add
Once you've decided that adding weight to your truck's body will help you get better traction on snowy roads, the next step is to determine how much weight your truck needs.
In these situations, many truck drivers find they have to put hundreds of pounds of extra weight on the back of their truck. Although it sounds like a good idea, it's not!
We recommend adding 100-150 pounds of additional weight to the truck bed if you want to slow the truck down in the winter. By putting that weight on the axle you should get enough extra grip when driving in snow.
You can gain up to 200 pounds with no ill effects, but more than that will do more harm than good.
Adding too much weight to your truck can cause it to use a lot more gas than it should.
Not only will your car use more gas, it will also take longer to accelerate and stop. This can make you more likely to have an accident than if you didn't have weight on your bike.
Five ways to reduce the weight of a truck bed
If you decide to add more weight to the truck body, take some time to think about how you're going to do this. If you don't want your truck to get damaged on the road, make sure everything you use doesn't move around in the truck bed.
Most people prefer to use sandbags to make their trucks heavier in winter. When using them, place them over the truck's rear axle. If you place the sandbags behind the axle, the front of the truck will be lighter, making it even more difficult to handle.
In winter, you can also use cinder blocks to weight the truck bed. Since they are usually quite heavy, you only need to walk a few blocks to reach 100-150 pounds.
But make sure the blocks are securely attached. Otherwise, they could slide and damage the truck body.
People often use the dumbbells they use for exercise to add extra weight to their truck beds and make them more stable. As with other things, you should always place weights over the rear axle of your truck and make sure they are secure.
If your truck bed has a toolbox, you can use that to your advantage for better winter traction. You won't have to lift a lot of weight with this, although it's big enough to hold a lot of tools and stuff.
Plus, everything you put in the toolbox will be protected from the weather, and you'll still have plenty of room if you need to bring other stuff.
Last but not least, you can use the snow itself to get better grip.
If you parked your truck in a garage, park it in the driveway. Then grab your shovel and place the snow you shoveled from the garage onto the back of the truck.
If it's cold enough, it won't melt while you're driving. Plus, this option won't cost you anything, will only take a few minutes to complete, and will have more than enough weight to provide a surprising amount of traction.
Is it bad to leave the weight on the body of your truck?
When you put weight on your truck body in the winter to get better traction on slippery roads, you might wonder if you can keep that weight on your truck forever.
Most of the time, you should leave the truck bed loaded for as long as necessary, provided you've used common sense and followed the manufacturer's recommendations for maximum loads.
As a standard pickup truck only needs to carry 100-150 pounds, this is well within the limits of any pickup truck.
Some people don't pay attention to the details of this matter, which is a shame. When this happens, trucks are damaged.
If you go beyond what the manufacturer says, you could damage your truck's suspension system.
A repair can be even more expensive if your truck is not under warranty or if you don't follow the manufacturer's instructions.
In such cases, your warranty may be void and you will have to pay for expensive repairs.
Extra weight, extra confidence!
If you're just starting to drive a truck or aren't used to winter driving, putting heavy stuff in the truck bed can give you more confidence on the road.
When snow or ice makes roads especially slippery, 2x4 trucks often break down because the rear tires have less grip on a slippery road.
Adding 100 pounds or more of additional weight to the truck body will make the truck less likely to slide or spin out of control.
Are winter tires a better option?
If you're worried that the extra weight in the truck bed will hurt you or you simply don't want to deal with the added weight, winter tires can be a good alternative.
When the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, regular tires can lose grip because the rubber in them becomes hard and stiff. Winter tires, on the other hand, are made of rubber with special compounds that help the tires grip the road better when it's wet.
Also, keep in mind that it doesn't matter how much weight you add to the truck body if the tires are badly worn. Even if you have a big 4WD truck, slippery tires on slippery roads are never a good thing.
If you think adding weight to your truck bed in the winter will give you the extra traction you're looking for, make sure you do it in a way that keeps you and your truck safe. On a slippery road, you'll be safer if you're careful when moving sandbags, weights, or other things.