Winter Driving

I have a Toyota Tacoma four wheel drive pick up truck. How much weight should I put in the bed? I have about 200 pounds in the bed now. Is that too much?


It depends. Is it a short bed 4 cyl ? I kept about 4 bags (280 lbs) of 70 lbs each of tube sand between the wheels. It was fine. If it’s a 6 cyl with a little more weight up front, I’d opt for a little more in back, maybe another bag. Either way, it does improve the ride.

An alternative is just two bags for economy and ride and watch the forecast, add as needed up to 4-5 bags and think of it as weight training.
Advice…DONOT use solid weight. Double wrapped tube sand bags are best. It doesn’t roll, stays put and is safer in a collision. You can also safely stack stuff on top and use some of the sand in a pinch.

I commend you for the question. Too many 4wds with no weight are very poorly balanced and one reason you see them in the ditch on slippery roads. The weight (soft weight) in back can be a life saver and 4wds need it as much for balance, traction and handling as a 2wd.

Three hundred is a bit better and tires with good traction are better than those without. Maybe 200 is enough for a Tacoma.

Make sure you keep it over the rear axle as much as possible for the best results.

No matter how much weight you use, keep in mind it must be secured so it does not become a projectile in a collision.

I can’t remember the poster on here, but they made a custom box for the bed of their truck to keep the weight secure and still be able to use the bed

I had a Toyota truck and put mud grips on because of the poor traction. They had a more aggressive tread but ok for year round use. I did not need added weight, though being parked outside the bed would fill up with snow and as I drove mostly in town it worked like an automatic weight addition for extra weight in the snow.

Put a flat shovel back there, too. Also food, hand warmers, and any extra winter clothes you could envision needing. Better to load up with stuff you might be able to use for something other than ballast, and you can only use so much sand.

I did not make a box but I secured a wooden pallet upside down between the wheel wells and it stayed put.

“I had a Toyota truck and put mud grips on because of the poor traction. They had a more aggressive tread but ok for year round use. I did not need added weight,”

Had poor traction, but did not need added weight ? I’m a little slow and I miss the point. Maybe adding more weight would have helped ? My short bed Toyotas 2 and 4 wd were absolute animals with appropriate tires and the added weight that they all need. W/O weight, they (4wd) all have poor balanced traction and handling, even with great tires. Trucks are made to carry weight…Traction weight must be soft and dispersable…bricks,granite, steel and stone cannot be adequately secured for an accident and must never be used unless truck was designed for it (dump beds).

The downside is the reduced mileage and performance, increased brake wear. It’s worth the trouble to remove the ballast when it’s not needed…