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How to Weigh Down the Back of a 2WD Truck

by Joshua Smyth

Pickup trucks are designed to carry heavy cargoes in their beds. In slippery winter driving conditions, this can mean that a truck with rear wheel drive doesn't get optimal traction when the bed is empty. An empty bed doesn't provide enough weight on the back axle for the drive wheels to grip the ground firmly. This can lead to loss of control on slippery roads. Weighing down the back of a 2WD truck with sandbags, concrete blocks, or fitted weights can help avoid this.

Fill sandbags with sand or collect concrete blocks. You can also buy plastic sacks that can be filled with water to weigh down the back of a truck.

Set weights into the truck bed directly on top of the rear axle. Putting them behind the axle could actually worsen your truck's handling by lifting the front end and reducing front-wheel traction. If you are using a water-filled truck weight, this works somewhat differently; the bag is large and flat and lays across most of your truck bed. Once it is in place, connect a garden hose to fill it.

Secure the weights. This is the most important step. In the event of a sudden stop or crash, unsecured weights could come flying through your back windshield into the cabin, potentially injuring or killing drivers and passengers. To avoid this, tie ropes through the holes in cement blocks or the grommets on a water bag, then tie the other ends around attachment points in the truck bed. Sandbags are more difficult to secure; you will need to wrap them tightly in several loops of rope and tie the rope tightly to the frame of the truck.

Test drive your truck with the weights in it. There is no set amount of weight that is best for traction, and adding too much will impede both handling and mileage. You should not exceed the maximum cargo weight mentioned in your truck's manual. Keep removing weights and adjusting their placement until you are satisfied with your truck's handling on snow and ice.

Drive carefully; your truck will still not have as much traction on snow as it would on a dry road.

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About the Author

Joshua Smyth started writing in 2003 and is based in St. John's, Newfoundland. He has written for the award-winning "Cord Weekly" and for "Blueprint Magazine" in Waterloo, Ontario, where he spent a year as editor-in-chief. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics from Wilfrid Laurier University.

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  • snow road image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com