Trucks are a very common mode of transportation across America, and it’s not difficult to see why. Thanks to the larger size of trucks compared to cars, they tend to come out of incidents with other vehicles better. They are simple to drive and offer you a much better storage space for your journeys.
However, trucks also come with a few drawbacks that should not be overlooked. For example, trucks are larger and weigh more than cars. This means that you’ll need to stop the vehicle earlier to ensure that you don’t cause any collisions.
One of the main concerns of truck drivers is that they will fishtail on the road. Fishtailing is where the tail end of your truck cannot be controlled and swings either side due to a lack of traction with the tires.
Fishtailing can be very worrying when you’re in the moment. For this reason, it’s important that you take the necessary precautions to prevent it. Wintertime is where you need to add weight to your truck bed the most, as ice on the roads can cause a lot of issues.
Adding weight to the truck bed can prevent your wheels from spinning, fishtailing, and you losing control of your vehicle. Today, ATVA Online will be looking at some easy ways that you can do just this and keep yourself much safer during the colder months.
Adding weight to your truck bed
There are plenty of ways to add weight to your truck bed.
You can either purchase a product specifically for weighing down your vehicle or you can get creative with supplies you have at home.
Sometimes you don’t know how much weight you need on the truck bed without taking it for a test run, so make sure you do this before setting out on a long journey.
Organizing your luggage
You might have some tools or luggage all ready to go on your journey with you, and you can utilize this to weigh down your truck bed. Keeping the heaviest supplies near the back of the truck will ensure that weight is evenly distributed throughout the vehicle.
Depending on how much you need to take with you, this will work for giving your truck a little to a moderate amount of traction. While it might not be the best way to add weight to your truck bed, it is using what you’re already taking with you and you won’t need to struggle to find what you actually need rather than just weight adding items.
Add more weight
Sounds simple enough, right? Just take more luggage with you. If you often struggle to pack lightly, this might sound like a dream come true for you. However, we probably should mention that you’re more than likely going to need something heavier than an extra bundle of clothes.
Instead, you can add weight to your truck bed with things such as sandbags and cinder blocks. These are easy to stack and therefore add more weight to your truck, and they’re easily accessible as well.
Simply take your chosen weight and add them evenly over the truck bed so that there is not more weight on one side than the other. This will ensure that there isn’t one side that’s more likely to slip on the roads than others.
Purchase a weight aid
Weight aids are very common among truck drivers because they’re easy to use, simple to store and add much more weight to the truck bed than you first might think. Our favorite weight aid is the ShurTrax CLW0056 LW-0056 All Weather Traction Aid.
This model can add up to 400 pounds of weight to your truck bed, making your winter drives much more manageable. How it works is that you add water to the weight aid until it is completely inflated. It will lie flat on the truck bed so that you can add additional weight to the top of it.
For example, the model from ShurTrax can hold up to 500 pounds of cinderblocks, sandbags, and other cargo. A weight aid can be very beneficial if you don’t want your entire truck bed to be covered in cinder blocks or sandbags.
Where to add weight to help with traction
Yes, adding weight does help with the traction of your truck. Trucks are designed to carry heavy loads on the truck bed, and this allows the weight of the truck to be evenly distributed. However, if there is little to no weight on the truck bed, all of the weight will be at the front of the truck.
If the weight is at the front of the truck when you’re driving in poor conditions, this is where you might find yourself spinning or fishtailing. The easy fix is to add weight to your truck bed so that the weight is distributed evenly across the entire truck.
Having said that, you need to know your truck’s drive wheels. These are the wheels that move when you hit the gas pedal. Two-wheel drive trucks either have rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. Some trucks have an all-wheel-drive in which all four wheels move when the truck accelerates.
Rear-wheel drive trucks have back wheels that move the vehicle forward when the gas pedal is pressed. To properly weight a rear-wheel-drive truck you’ll need to place the weight on the rear axle to properly stabilize the vehicle in poor conditions.
Add the majority of your weight to the backside of your truck bed, but don’t add it all there without distributing it across the rest of the bed. It’s also worth noting the maximum weight limit your truck bed can hold so that you don’t go overboard with your weights.
Accidentally putting too much weight on your truck bed can affect the fuel consumption and slow the speed of your truck down. Although trucks can carry a lot of weight, there will be a maximum weight limit written somewhere in the owner's manual for you to follow.
Front-wheel drive trucks need more weight added near the front axle. This is good news for anyone with this type of vehicle because the engine, cab, and even your own body weight will help give the tires enough traction to keep them stable.
However, you can still add weight near the front axle of the truck bed to help keep the truck more stable. This is in case you want peace of mind when you’re driving. Having said that, adding more weight to the truck bed can decrease fuel efficiency unnecessarily.
These vehicles often come with computers that can detect whether the car is slipping or not under the tires. The computer can tell which wheels are losing traction and adjusts the wheels so that they don’t spin out of control.
As there is already a computer preventing the wheels from spinning or losing traction, so adding weight to the truck bed can throw this off and confuse the computer. This is one of the rare cases that adding weight can reduce the traction of the wheels, so it’s important that you know what type of wheel drive your truck is.
Believe it or not, there is a difference between all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The four-wheel-drive consists of all of the wheels spinning to accelerate the vehicle, so the power is distributed across all of the wheels.
There are two ways you can go about these vehicles - either adding weight to both the front and the back of the truck bed or adding no weight at all. Some people feel more comfortable with adding weight to feel more stable, but others prefer to add zero weight to increase fuel-consumption.
To sum up, there are a number of ways to add weight to your truck bed. You often need to add weight to improve the traction of the wheels, particularly in poor weather conditions. You can add cinder blocks, sandbags, or your own belongings to the truck bed to distribute weight.
Whether your truck is a rear-wheel, front-wheel, all-wheel, or four-wheel drive, you need to add the weight over the corresponding axles. While the former need to be weighted, adding weight to all-wheel-drive trucks can actually promote fishtailing and wheel spinning.
Another thing to note is that you need to know how much weight your truck bed can hold. It’s very easy to overload the truck because you want it to be as stable as possible. However, overloading the truck can cause reduced fuel-consumption and slower speeds.