Skip to Content

How Much Weight to Put in Pickup Truck for Winter?

How Much Weight to Put in Pickup Truck for Winter?

Here are 9 facts about adding weight to your pickup truck for the winter season.

Put the appropriate amount of weight and not exceed the excessive limit. Road grip of pickup truck tires has a direct relation with the amount of load on them.

How Much Weight to Put in Pickup Truck for Winter? To stabilize the truck in winter, you should add a weight of 500-600 lbs up to maximum payload capacity on the rear axle to provide better traction on slippery surfaces due to snow. However, in 4-wheel drive trucks, its computer system automatically manages the power to slipping tires.

If you put the weight on the rear axle, it settles the suspension and exerts a high vertical force on the rear axle.

Through this, you can maintain the vehicle’s stability and no effect on the stopping distance.

How Much Weight to Put in Pickup Truck for Winter?

Driving a pickup truck in the winter season is challenging due to poor road grip and loss of traction on snow-covered surfaces. The problem further aggravates in 2 rear wheel drives.

Pickup has a design to have the lighter backside to carry maximum weight and a heavier front side due to engine, cabin, and crew weight.

Therefore, you have to add extra weight to compensate for this weight imbalance to provide better steering control and traction when you try to accelerate.

The amount of weight can vary from a few hundred pounds on the rear axle to the maximum payload capacity of that pickup.

In front-wheel and all-wheel drive systems, you can use winter tires instead of extra weight to improve fuel economy.

Rear-wheel drive

During putting the weight to your pickup, it is essential to determine the drive configuration of your vehicle.

You should figure out the payload capacity from the given manual instruction. In this case, if you put the appropriate amount of weight in your truck can lead to increase stability, traction.

It is better to work on the off-road and enhance the grip on the road more efficiently. The correct amount can give better rear-tires traction. In this way, it has a positive impact on fuel efficiency and stopping power.

Front-wheel drive

In the front-wheel-drive configuration, weight distributes on the two driving wheels, which gives a good chance for driving in the winter season like snow.

If these become equip with the best winter tires, they provide the best performance in that condition. 

All-wheel drive truck

The pickup with all drive configuration has better holding capacity and stabilizes on rough terrain like snow, water.

It makes the rear and front stable by maintaining the balance. Do not try to put extra load on it, which can lead to poor performance.

The computer detects the loss of traction and slipping like wheel-spinning. Through consequence, the weight can transfer to the wheels.

Four-wheel drive

In this case, weight uniform distribution occurs on all wheels of your truck. These are suitable for off-road, deep snow, and rough terrain.

The combination of it with winter tires gives the high ground clearance, low range power transmission. These are essential factors in winter mobility.

Winter tires

Winter tires are much better as compared to all-season tires. They are best in a mild temperature, but it is difficult for the truck driver to grip on off-road during snow or ice.

These types of tires have a different texture as compared to the other varieties. These are best at under 45 degrees. It gives the best grip at a safe level even on dry pavement at a low and warm temperature.

The manufacturer introduced the best quality porous multi-cell rubber compound. It has a hollow void space, which is a little bit larger than the molecular stage.

Rubber and ice surface texture direct contact can provide the chance for moisture to go for a while. In this way, it increases its performance in that condition and gives enough grip while driving. 

It has a zigzag pattern, multidimensional with more flexibility. The average price of it is approximately is above $500.

Weight distribution on truck tires

Weight distribution is correlated with traction in the winter season, like traction high with more weight transfer.

On a slippery surface, insufficient grip produces by the lightly laden rear wheels. The weight criteria are different for the front and rear wheels, around 50%-65% and 40%-45%.

Without weight, the truck can exert its weight on rear wheels above 30%. According to physics law, 8%-10% of total vehicle weight shifts to rear wheels in typical vehicle acceleration.

The truck with a 4-wheel drive configuration doubles the tractive force by efficiently sharing the driving task for optimum acceleration.

Why would you put weight on a truck during snow?

Loss of rear-wheel traction

Traction can stop your vehicle from skidding on a low friction surface like snow, mud, and others. When the rear wheel loses traction can result in oversteer, overbaking, high acceleration, and driving too fast. 


Fishtailing is another issue that drivers face during driving. In this case, the truck’s rear end slides back and forth. This problem is usually associated with the rear wheels due to poor handling or off-road condition.

Loss of handling

All-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive are ideal for the winter season it has the traction control better than other like two-wheel-drive configuration pickups.

2WD has the drivetrain in the rear position can lead to spinning and sliding because the rear-end has plenty of strength that needs low power. 

How to balance truck weight in the winter season?

In rough terrain like snow, mud, rain, or ice in the winter season, the truck driven with rear wheels faces problems during driving and loses balance.


Pickup’s primary purpose is to carry sufficient load compared to other vehicles with passenger compartments and a trunk for suitable stuff.

Sometimes you observe the traction problem. A vehicle with an empty bed puts a low load on the rear axle, so traction also decreases. 

When you put the sandbag on the truck bed, then its position is the primary concern.

While doing this, you can follow the manual instruction and find the maximum and standard payload limit.

You can also put the load gradually and perform testing to determine the vehicle’s traction. With the safe range, you can face no problems related to handling.

You can make a wooden frame for the placement of a sandbag. First, cut it according to the appropriate size and screw together four-piece.

Then, put 3-4 packs of it inside the frame in consecutive order; each contains 60-70 pounds of sand.

Water softener salt

You can also put on your truck back few water softener salt bags. It helps you in traction factor and melts the ice if you are stuck in it.

Place the drill stem

Another beneficial method you can also use. You can place the 5-6 foot drill stem pieces which meet the weight criteria like 300-600 pounds on the rear axle.

An old piece of carpet

It is also a better idea for you to balance the weight of your truck.

You can place an old piece of carpet around 3×8 to allow you to move the pickup on better texture. It is the better choice if positon in the appropriate conditions.

Balance the truck

If you want your truck to be balanced, you can also use another technique. In this case, from the center of rear and front wheels jacked up from the middle.

Then, put a load on your vehicle bed until it becomes balance from both sides at the same level. 

Wooden pallet

You can also use the wooden pallet to maintain its weight. Place it upside and secure it sufficiently.

The purchase some concrete pack around 60-80 pounds of 4 bags approximately and place over it on the rear axle. This idea is feasible according to your condition, need, and location.

When you find the secure way, then determine the optimum criteria of weight. Old pallets also a benefit for you.

Patio blocks

For weight maintenance, you can also use patio blocks of suitable size which is around 2x7x16. You can place it in the wooden box, position it on the rear axle, and cover it with the lid. 

You can also use the Gatorade bottles filled with dry sand. It is also an effective way to optimize its balance.

Tube sand

The automaker introduced the truck with no problems you face, like traction, because they know the customer demand.

They do not want to put the extra weight on their vehicle bed. You can use the tube sand if some issue appears.

These are available in the form of convenient shape and weight around 50-60 pounds.

You can place 4-5 packs of it over the rear axle if necessary, and easy to remove them. These are available in the sealed plastic bag, which prevents it from water penetration.

 Lower the tire pressure

When you put the extra weight but cannot achieve the desired traction and face any difficulty, there is another suggestion for you to decrease the tire pressure to the optimum limit, like 13-15psi. It will be beneficial for you and work great. 

Heavy steel plate

If you put a heavy steel plate on the bed and bolt it tight ca also have the ability to stabilize your vehicle in winter condition.


If you put the weight other than the rear axle, it reduces the front-wheel traction and has raised the front end.

When you place different varieties of weight, then fix it at their place. Sometimes due to improper adjustment, it can fly out from the tailgate or on the windshield back.

If you put low or high weight, it can cause some issues like steering off the front and braking ability also lose.

Related Articles:

How to get your truck unstuck from the snow?

How much does a Volkswagen Amarok Weigh?

How can a truck catch on fire?

Tips to Keep Truck Battery From Freezing