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How to Load an ATV in a Truck Bed or Trailer


For owners of ATVs who need to transport their quad to another location, the most common method is to either use a sufficiently sized pickup truck bed or to load the ATV into a trailer.

Of course, for the transportation process to go safely and smoothly, one must understand how to safely load the ATV first so it is secure during transportation.

Here’s a quick overview of the process of loading an ATV into a truck bed or trailer.

Black Widow Aluminum Bi-Fold ATV Ramp
7' 10" Bi-Fold ATV Ramp

Use a ramp

The majority of trailers will either have ramps attached or be low enough to the ground where you can easily purchase and use a small ramp that will allow you to safely load an ATV. But regardless of whether you’re using a trailer or the back of a truck, the most important thing is to make sure you a) have a ramp meant for the job and b) properly secure that ramp in position.

Ramps can be a potential safety hazard if they are not secured properly. If you do not have straps or another method of connecting them to the truck or trailer, they could slip off while you try to load the ATV, which could cause significant damage and injury.

Black Widow Aluminum Multi-Fold ATV Ramp
6' 8" Multi-Fold ATV Ramp

Properly position the ATV

Once your ramp is set up for safe loading, make sure you position the quad so you are lined up straight with the ramps. A crooked alignment with the quad could result in you flying right off the side of the ramps before you’re loaded.

Give it a little distance. Get about five to 10 feet back from the ramps and push the quad forward without turning the wheel. If the quad moves forward straight, you have a good alignment and can proceed.

Black Widow Steel Multi-Fold ATV Ramp
6' 2" Extra-Wide Multi-Fold ATV Ramp

Loading the quad

Here’s the part that requires precision, patience and control.

Although you can load an ATV manually by pushing in up the ramp into your truck or trailer, the fastest way to load it is by carefully riding up at a controlled speed. This is why having your loading ramps completely secured to a metal part of the vehicle's frame is critical - if they aren't properly secured, there's a risk that they'll kick out or slip while you're on the ATV mid-ramp. That spells disaster for your ATV, for you, and possibly for any bystanders who could be hit by any of the fallout.

We always recommend having a spotter when loading any powersport vehicle. Not only is it a good safety practice in the event of a loading accident, they can provide a second set of eyes to make sure that your wheels are properly aligned with the ramps and that you're loading straight.

Although hard to do, keeping the ATV going at a controlled, steady speed up the ramp minimizes the amount of time you're on the ramp, and reduces the risk of something going on. By taking the time up front to set up properly, you can roll right on up and keep the jerky start-stop motion at bay.

Mac's ATV Wheel Net
Mac's ATV Wheel Net
Mac's ATV Wheel Nets are a good resource for keeping the quad secure without compressing the suspension.

Securing the ATV

You’re not done once the ATV is in the trailer or truck bed. The next step is to secure it so it does not move around while being transported.

To accomplish this you’ll need a set of high-quality ratchet straps. Strap the front of the quad around the handlebars and keep the ends hooked in around the front tire inside the truck bed or trailer. This will provide enough forward and downward tension to prevent the ATV from bumping and moving during transportation. The second strap will then pass through the grab bar and down to the rear wheel, where it will provide slight tension down and to the back, preventing the back from bouncing during transportation.

Before you go anywhere, make sure you grab on to the handlebars and give the ATV some pushing and pulling. It shouldn’t move or wiggle at all. If it does, you’ll need to increase the tension and/or potentially add another strap so you can better keep the quad in place.

Follow these steps and you’ll be able to safely transport your ATV wherever and whenever you need without a whole lot of extra equipment necessary!

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