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How to Load and Tie Down a Snowmobile in a Pickup Truck

01/19/2022

If you’re going to use your pickup truck as your means of transporting a snowmobile to and from the trails, it’s important you have the proper equipment and know-how to do so safely.

Here’s an overview of the steps to loading and tying down a snowmobile in a pickup.

Make sure you have the right ramp for the job

You can’t use just any ramp to get your snowmobile into your truck. Snowmobile ramps are specially designed with clear side panels for the ski runners to glide up safely and smoothly. If you have a snowmobile with studded tracks, make sure you use a ramp that is designed for those types of tracks, or use ramp grips to prevent damage to center rungs.

Snowmobile Ramp
Up close view of side panels for the ski runners to glide up safely and smoothly
Our Black Ice Snowmobile Ramp and up close view of side panels for the ski runners to glide up safely and smoothly

If you attempt to use a ramp that is designed for other types of vehicles the ski runners might catch on the rungs, which could result in catastrophic damage and potential injury.

If the angle is still too high with the ramp going up to your pickup truck, you can purchase ramp extenders that will reduce the angle of the ramp by lengthening the distance of the incline.

Closed ramp and ratchet straps to attach to truck

Attach the ramp to the truck

Once you’ve got your ramp out of storage and set in place, you then need to attach it to your truck so it does not slip or fall while you are loading the snowmobile.

You can use a chain or ratchet strap to secure the ramp directly to the truck at the hitch or any metal part—you just don’t want to connect it to plastic components, as that could result in snapping or breakage. The connection point between the ramp and truck should be directly behind the ramp to prevent movement from side to side.

Line up your snowmobile

Snowmobile ramps have separate sections for skis and tracks, so you need to double and triple check that your alignment is correct before you ride up. A failure to do so could result in the snowmobile slipping and falling, which could cause some significant (and expensive) damage and potential injuries.

Snowmobile in truck bed

Ride it up!

Give your snowmobile some good, even power and confidently move it up the ramp. Just be careful not to fully throttle up—you don’t want to run the snowmobile right into the back window of the truck. Always drive the snowmobile in front-first to prevent wind damage to the windshield during transportation.

Tie it down

Once you’ve got the snowmobile positioned in the truck bed, you can bring out the tie-downs. The snowmobile may be longer than your truck bed, in which case it becomes even more important to ensure the vehicle is properly tied down before moving forward.

Ratchet Straps with S-Hooks
Ratchet Straps with S-Hooks
Check out Black Widow's Ratchet Straps with S-Hooks

Use a tie-down bar to keep the front skis in place, then attach ratchet straps to the back of the bar to keep it secure. Hooks in the suspension should be tight enough that they won’t pop out while the vehicle bounces around during transportation. The snowmobile should also be tied down with criss-crossing ratchet straps connected to the truck bed.

Only after you’ve checked all of your connections and ensured the vehicle is secure can you drive away.

Follow these tips for hauling your snowmobile in a pickup truck and you will be able to enjoy your adventures throughout the coming winter without any safety concerns!

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