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Do you weigh down your 4x4 truck bed in the winter?

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  • Do you weigh down your 4x4 truck bed in the winter?

    Do you weigh down your 4x4 truck bed in the winter for better traction in the snow? If so, how much weight do you add? What do you make that weight out of?

    My truck bed is always empty and I worry about it fishtailing in the snow. I already have great tires. I would also prefer to weigh it down with something I can use somehow once the winter is over so I don’t have to store anything since I don’t have my own house.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    We do only when necessary, not leave it there all winter.

    Generally a few bales of heavy hay, like alfalfa, work well and if you get stuck, a few flakes help you get traction enough to get going again.

    We have also used concrete mix sacks, but if they get wet they will set in the sack.

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    • #3
      Play sand from a big box store, sold in 50 pound, weather-resistant plastic bags. I recycle the sand into the garden or the horses' wallow in the dry lot. Or keep for the next winter.

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      • #4
        I have a heavy 3/4 ton that sits on one ton cargo van leaf springs. I have always kept a couple hundred pounds of play sand in bags in the bed.

        If a bag springs a leak, I can put the sand somewhere there is ice. Or it's great to put under someone else's tires if they are stuck













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        • #5
          Where are you located? We get a fair amount of smow here, so added weight can help. But usually you don't want a lot because it affects your gas mileage badly. Have you driven in snow much or at all? Fishtailing and sliding on snow is usually from trying to go too fast for conditions. Slowing down, sometimes to a crawl, for curves, turns, stopping, will usually kept the vehicle under control.

          Ice underneath the wheels changes EVERYTHING!! Weight in the back won't help there, you just slide further, faster, spin out.

          I carry about 200#s in back of the 2WD truck. A 2x10 board is behind the wheel wells to hold bags of sand or rocks in place by the tailgate. No load sliding forward with a hard stop! Other folks I know may carry a flat sheet of steel in the bed for weight, couple hundred pounds. Steel doesn't get in the way of picking up a load of grain or "stuff" that needs moving.

          I also carry a small shovel, square shape, in case I need to dig out the truck. Small so it does not take up much room, makes you take small scoops while digging out the wheels to NOT over exert yourself in the cold. An old trick is to throw the snow you shovel into the truck bed. Snow adds more loaded weight, is cleaned out from under the wheels, making it easier to just drive away from where you got stuck.

          Do not BELIEVE that 4WD is going to save you in winter. EVERY ONE needs to slow for conditions, slow down and stop straight, THEN make your turn, so you do not spin out. Locally, those who think 4WD means the rules don't affect them, are the folks who race by us, then we see off the on the side of the road stuck, or way out in the median between lanes! I honk and wave! They will need a tow truck to get out, 4WD alone won't get them out of that. The best tires won't grip on ice, packed snow when you are going too fast. Inertia will just keep you going. 4WD can help keep control of the truck, but it won't make you immune to weather issues, so save it as a last resort. Slowing way down will better help you stay in control oF your vehicle.

          Best of luck with winter.

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          • #6
            Years ago, in a thread like this, someone posted that they put a couple stall mats in the bed. Thought that was super smart! I rarely take the truck out in the winter, but do keep a stall mat or three in there when I do!

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            • #7
              It depends where you live.... when I lived in Alaska, even 700lbs of sand bags in the bed of my Duramax was not enough weight to offset the engine weight on the front axle, even in 4WD (I would usually lock into 4WD in October and never come out of it until April). I had to swap out to studded AND siped tires. Once I had those on for the season (and weight in the bed), I could bust thru anything. My kids school did not have bus service, so we HAD to drive 12 miles one way twice daily, and they NEVER close school up there. Many mornings I was making the first tracks in snow higher than the bumper. It was AWESOME and I miss it very much! There is also A LOT of ice in Alaska, you are basically driving on ice-filled tire tracks for ~6mths of the year, as everyone's studded tires make groves in the pavement, which then fill with snow that the plows cannot remove, which compresses down into ice until it melts away in the spring. I lost count of how many vehicles I pulled out of snowbanks with the Duramax/weighted bed/studded/siped tires - it was a LOT!

              Here in MD (and when we lived in KS/OK) I am able to safely get around with all-terrain tires and 4WD. We just don't get as much snow and "winter" weather.

              If you live in an area with an extended severe winter, then yes, I would add weight (sand is great because it can be used as traction if you do get stuck). You might even want to consider swapping tires if you live in a region requiring that level of winter "prep".

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              • #8
                I buy some poly bags of Tidy Cat. They hold up to winter weather exposure quite nicely since they aren't paper bags. I get a half dozen or so because they are not too hard to lift. When the season is over I donate them to a local shelter. They are happy and I am happy - win-win.

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                • #9
                  I always used to with my old 2001 2500 with tthe crew cab--tube sand or asphalt tubes (both useful come spring.) But my newer truck has a heavy bed liner and wheel hub storage boxes either side, and a full sized cab, so last winter when I didn't get round to doing anything about even more extra weight it was absolutely fine, and I torture-tested it on our icy hill--I do run Blizzaks on it in the winter, too.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you Simkie! I will try the mats over bags of sand or rocks this winter!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Scarlet Gilia View Post
                      Play sand from a big box store, sold in 50 pound, weather-resistant plastic bags. I recycle the sand into the garden or the horses' wallow in the dry lot. Or keep for the next winter.
                      My BF does this in his Tacoma It's a very light "plastic" truck with a relatively powerful engine for its size. I have a Chevy 2500HD (8.1 liter gas) and I used to have issues spinning out even on just wet roads. My solution? A 400 or so pound canopy .
                      COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                      "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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                      • #12
                        I have a water softener system. I stock up on a couple of hundred lbs of water softener salt and put a board across the bed to keep the bags from sliding when I know bad weather's coming. As noted above, won't work for ice but it does help in snow.

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                        • #13
                          I'm another for sandbags and then come spring I can work them into the garden.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                            I have a heavy 3/4 ton that sits on one ton cargo van leaf springs. I have always kept a couple hundred pounds of play sand in bags in the bed.

                            If a bag springs a leak, I can put the sand somewhere there is ice. Or it's great to put under someone else's tires if they are stuck
                            I've always done the same, for the same reason, but with kitty litter in plastic trash bags. About 500# worth as my truck had very stiff suspension. Sand would make more sense, but when I had my truck kitty litter was much cheaper. Made a huge difference in traction and handling in poor conditions.
                            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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                            • #15
                              If you have spares, a few stall mats work really well, don't budge, and you can still pile stuff on them.

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                              • #16
                                Reading this thread reminds me of friends of ours. Their first child was expected during the deep of winter, when snow often arrives in lots of a foot or more at a time. He put a round bale in the back of his pickup at Christmas time. That bale was driven around the county for about 6 weeks before daughter was born. (Sure enough, in the middle of the night, the middle of a snowstorm). That bale was a sound idea.

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