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What should I put in the back of my 2wd s10 for the winter?

I have a 98 Chevy s10 2.2L, 2WD. I need to know what I should put in the bed so it’s not going to slide all over the place. Also how much weight should I put in there?

Well, from your forum name…you’re not going to have much clearance, and the handling will be “peculiar” in snow with a bunch of weight in the bed. Perhaps park the low rider and go with a winter beater?

Anyways, for weight: I happened to buy numerous bags of concrete for a sidewalk on my property this year. Well, I procrastinated, rains came, and ruined a bunch–turned to concrete in the bags! I plan to toss about six of them in the bed of my F150.

By the screen name I would also guess that the tires on now are not suitable for winter conditions.

I had good luck with mud grips for tires on my little toyota. Not just the back but all four. I also found the snow adding extra eight on an open bed turned out to be a perfect mix. Sure I am an old fart that knows how to drive in the snow, you do not need 4wd traction to make it through the winter, just knowing vehicle limits.

Id go to the local walmart /hardware store and buy bags of whatever is the cheapest and heaviest, be it gravel, concrete. Whatevers cheap! I would also assume youd need atleast 200lbs+ to start having an effect. Drive safe

I usually use bags of sand. If I get caught in a real mess…I just pop open a bag and put it down around the tires.

Since I use quite a bit of oil dry I buy 4 bags each winter to sit in the bed of my pickup and in the spring I pour it into by barrel in the shop. Winters here are mild and snow is rare though. Just a few days of the white stuff as a rule. I’m thankful.

Concerns that I always had were freezing/hardening of whatever is in bags, and… most important… the ballast becoming a projectile in the event of an accident. Bags of concrete would get wet and turn into heavy concrete blocks, sand will get wet and freeze… and promote rust. I also wanted to retain the full use of the bed. So here’s what I did…

I lay (laid?) two 2x4s longitudinally, such that with the tailgate closed they could not move forward or back. Between them I put two transverse 2x4s cut so that they held the “box” I was creating between the wheelwells unable to move sideways. Beneath that was a 1/2" sheet of plywood. It was all screwed together with decking screws.

I put 2’x2’x2" concrete patio squares (two layers) inside the “box” and covered it with another sheet of 1/2" plywood.

That provided sufficient weight kept right over the axle, prevented the blocks from becoming projectiles, kept the blocks secure over the axle, and still gave me a flat bed, albeit 4" higher than the truck’s bed, perfectly safe and perfectly secure.

I sounds a lot harder to make than it actually is, and it works beautifully.

I also put plastic bottles of sand behind the seat back. That keeps it dry and makes it easy to spread should you need to.

Now, as regards the “slamming”… can’t help you there.

I secured a pallet in between the wheelhouses, upside down. Then I put 3-4 bags of 90lb concrete in the pallet. Never had an issue in the snow.

Do not put anything solid that can be a projectile in an accident and kill or injury passerbys, driver or passengers. No concrete or metal anything. I completely disagree with any of this stuff used. Short of welding in a barricade, you cannot easily make wooden 2by4 grids strong enough to hold patio bricks in an accident especially if it isn’t bolted in place to the bed. . The physics doesn’t work. If these things come loose in an accident…and they will, they can go through the just about any window and kill anyone in it’s path. Car and house windows…you name it. I saw a park parked car hit buy a couple of bricks from a truck that had rolled over. Luckily, no one was in the car as they would have decapitated any one in their path. The cheapest way to add safe weight is something like tube sand or plastic bags which break and disperse more easily during an accident. Tie them in place, right up against the front of the bed for safety. For this truck, a couple hundred pounds is more then enough along with good traction tires. If I had an old truck like that which rode like crap anyway, I would just invest in some AT (all terrain tires) that are rated pretty good in snow and wear them year round along with the added weight in winter.


I congratulate you on your ingenious design. (EDIT: Sorry, guess it was TSMB’s ingenious design!) I also notice that you are very, very concerned with safety. This is a good thing. I cannot, and will not, criticize somebody for placing a very high importance on safety, even at the expense of vehicle utility–you have, after all, but one life, and each individual should get final say in how much risk exposure they are willing to tolerate.

That said, I DO think you come off as a bit judgmental towards those who are more “risk-tolerant” than you.

I don’t feel that it is necessary that my “ballast” be any more well-secured that the “payload” I might haul during the rest of the year. This means, if 100# sandstone rocks are acceptable to haul for landscaping, 100# “cement rocks” are okay for winter ballast, too. In the example I gave, every part of said bags are WELL beneath the bed wall height, meaning (considering cement isn’t “bouncy” by nature) I’d have to put the vehicle on its side, roll it, or drop a fair distance to turn anything into a projectile.

Right now, I happen to have an easy chair, water fountain, push mower, leaf blower, line trimmer, and a gallon of 2-stroke gas in my truck (plus associated odds and ends). The chair is on top, and is secured with a ratcheting tie-down; everything else is beneath the top of the bed. This secures the load against forces encountered in NORMAL vehicle operations; I highly doubt that it’s keeping anything in the bed should I roll the truck a half-dozen times. Realistically, mandating that all objects in an open bed remain IN bed following a rollover…would cripple the utility of an open-bed pickup! Everybody would have to switch to cargo vans…which still leaves the driver at risk.

Short of making the entire universe out of Nerf, there’s only so much you can do in the name of risk mitigation. At some point, “being safe, in the event of a collision” has to yield to “being safe, by avoiding collision.” I don’t see why loose bags of cement would be verboten in December, if they’re Kosher in May!

I hear you and everyone has their own opinion based upon their experiences. Mine are from seeing more then a few accidents and many with personal injury, some of which involved open bed trucks with just about anything in back. The stuff that was thrown out of these trucks often did little damage ( more then the accident itself) to the driver and passenger and those on country roads little as well. It’s everyone else in the area that is at risk. If I just didn’t care about other people, I would and have before my experiences, done similarly. Writing up private owners with insecure loads is lauded by other drivers who have to share the road with their glut hanging out the back, but they are at greater risk with those carrying missiles in the back. I know others may not share my views but I don’t worry, those who are as concerned with car safety and I, do. Just read what IS recommended in literature devoted to this question.

I read a story on road course car with a automatic weight sled mounted in rear frame. It shifted forward and rear based on acceleration and braking sections of track. Of course now, it would have computer aided GPS interface so computer would know it position on racetrack and shift weight with no driver input.

Part of "worrying " about doing things safely comes with our experience in mathematics. For the sake of argument, let’s say there is about a 1/1000 (made up) chance you will be seriously injured or injure someone else in a car accident traveling a particular route in your car. There may also be a 1/1000 chance you seriously hurt yourself using a chain saw. If you do 100 activities of this nature over a years time, easily by the more active people, the chance that you will be seriously hurt by any one of them is nearly 1/10. Over five years time, it’s 1/2 or 50% chance you will be seriously injured. That doesn’t look good. So that 1/1000 chance should be minimize as much as possible, as should they all. If you carry potential missiles around with you, you have just upped the chances, even slightly, for both you and anyone else around for being seriously hurt. That becomes another increased probability in your entire scenario added to everyone else. This example may seem a little vague but it exemplifies the way science works in influencing what safety devices will be added to cars. Carrying cement blocks in the back of a pick up every day, instead of just once if you pick them up for a patio project, just upped someone’s chances dramatically over time.

@meanjoe75fan‌ I confess that it is prompted by my trust of science and math and my willing ness to accept it and personal experience when they coincide. When in doubt, I just do a little research and see what others recommend.

It ain’t rocket science. This is just one typical safer option.

Dag, there are a whole lot of physics reasons why I disagree with you, but I’m going to leave it at that. I will acknowledge that if you plow into a bridge abutment at 7-mph or drive off a cliff, my design may not protect you from the box of concrete patio blocks (I seriously doubt of they’d bust through the wooden plywood, especially since both are traveling the same speed in the same direction) and fly free. And they will definitely not pop the lid, considering the amount of force it would take to rip the decking screws free or rip the lid free from the decking screws, again considering that all the parts of the box are moving in the same direction at the same speed.

In a normal accident, even a head on, I’m completely confident in the integrity of the design. Any accident that would cause catastrophic failure of the retaining box or allow the blocks to fly free… well, the box will be the least of your concerns.

I put flagstones in my 79…because that’s what I had available.
— use what you can…cinder blocks, rocks, bricks, railroad ties, sand bags…
Some around here use the snow itself. Shovel the bed full and there’s your extra weight ! when the sun comes out and melts the snow on the road…it melts the snow in your bed too…job done.

In my 79 , I once pulled to a cautious stop to wait for the light at the tracks where MANY had polished it to a glaze brfore me.
while stopped.
STOPPED…foot on the pedal , front wheels going nowhere…the rear wheels were still turning on the ice !
spinning…and creeping sideways to boot ! ( put it in neutral, problem solved )

THIS is where I learned to always put it in neutral for a more controlled stop in slippery conditions.

Same…"There are a while lot of physics reasons why I disagree with you"
It’s OK, I am patient enough to listen to the references.

We all do things in a variety of ways but this is a public forum where people are legitimately asking questions. I would think we should recommend the safe way. It doesn’t take much on their part to start “googling” recommended ways of doing it find out we have some recommend throwing anything you can in there including rocks, bricks, concrete…and it is not recommended by anyone associated with the automobile industry. I would just as soon not go along with everyone else in these recommendations and loose credibility.

Just being alive and having never gotten into an accident doesn’t mean you were doing it safely. I liken it to using a seat belt. You become the projectile if not and I bet most on this board thinks it’s worthwhile to belt the rear passengers in. They likewise would never think about putting bricks on top of the rear window ledge or even in the back seat floor of a rwd car. Yet, somehow we think that little window will protect us and who the heck cares about anyone else in the area should our truck roll over. As you so aptly said, and rightly so, that’s the least of your worries at the time it happens. My thought is, maybe it should be before a crash.

To go along with Volvo V70 I also wonder about the stance of this S-10 based on the use of the word “slammed” in the ID.
Slammed to me means being lowered and if that’s done without the use of airbags any additional weight may have the tail scraping the ground; all assuming the truck is lowered.

To go along with the idea of carrying weight in the bed I would also be very careful of exactly what it is that is being carried. I remember vividly coming up on the scene of a head-on collision one night about 3 weeks before Xmas and trying to help extricate a few badly mangled people from a late 70s Ford Ranchero. No law or medics on scene yet.

That Ranchero had some 5 gallon cans of cold roofing tar in the bed during the combined 120+ MPH impact and several of those cans came through the back of the cabin. Even that cold tar spread out all over the cabin and all I could see in the cabin was tar and blood.
One can came through the back window and exited the front. At least it went between the 2 occupants; otherwise, someone would have been decapitated.

That sounds horrible but it happens too frequently.
As far as weight in bed is concerned, the body is lowered over the rear axle but the axle still remains the ground clearance. Over loading a truck can reduce it’s departure angle enough for it to drag though. Though it isn’t quite the same question, even 4wd trucks can take advantage with some added weight in the rear for better winter handling.

Dag, I’m not going to do this. You provided zero references, I’ll follow that lead.
Since you’re patient, have a nice wait. I’m not going to tutor you. But realize that what you’ve posted so far are not physics, not even statistics. And realize that the admonitions against rocks and bricks are against loose rubble, not contained and secured loads. For the record, that includes any other unsecured materials including unsecured containers. Unsecured materials in the bed are extremely dangerous.