Getting Your Truck Snow-Ready for Winter

Getting Your Truck Snow-Ready for Winter

Driving in the winter can be dangerous. When snow hits the ground or if ice is present on the roads, your risk of getting into an accident increases. The best way to avoid the risk of an accident is to prepare your truck for the snow with tires, truck bed weight, and additional accessories.

Snow Tires Upgrade

One of the best ways to prepare your vehicle for the winter is to upgrade to snow tires. Snow tires have wider tread grooves, deeper sipes, and durable sidewalls. These features enhance traction and durability when driving in winter conditions.

Snow tires are an excellent upgrade but there are some drawbacks you need to consider. First and foremost, the ride quality is less comfortable because of more road noise and vibration. The other drawback is that many snow tires double as off-road tires, so your fuel efficiency declines when you use them.

To maximize the benefits of snow tires, only use them when driving off-road or in the snow. It's also important to monitor the tire pressure of snow tires. During the winter, ensure the tire pressure is where it needs to be before driving in the snow. Low tire pressure reduces traction and the durability of the snow tires and makes your truck in the snow dangerous.

Add Weight to Truck Bed

Adding weight to the truck bed of your truck is also effective for better traction in the snow. Pickup trucks are built to carry weight in the truck bed, so the vehicle is off-balance when there's no weight back there. Adding sandbags and other items that add weight to the truck bed help to counteract this problem.

When adding weight to the truck bed there are a few things to consider. First, consider how much your truck weighs. Lighter trucks need less added weight than heavier trucks. For light trucks (under 5,000 pounds), add between 100 and 200 pounds. Trucks that are over 5,000 pounds need between 300 and 400 pounds of added weight.

There are also right and wrong ways to add weight. You don't want to just throw anything into the truck bed, so it's best to use sandbags. Cat litter and fifth-wheel hitches are also good options to keep in the truck bed. Cat litter weighs around 30 pounds and wheel hitches way about 250 pounds.

Keep in mind that adding weight is not the right move for every vehicle. For example, FWD and AWD vehicles don't need added weight for driving in the snow. For FWD vehicles, the engine helps with traction because it presses down on the front axle. On the other hand, AWD vehicles have power going to each wheel so it's not wise to unbalance the vehicle's natural power distribution.

Utilize 4-Wheel Drive

4-wheel drive is great for trucks in the snow. Vehicles that have 4WD benefit from turning this feature on when driving on surfaces like snow and ice. In fact, 4WD is also great for off-roading.

Modern vehicles have features like 4WD auto, which automatically changes from 4-wheel to 2-wheel drive when necessary. AWD vehicles also change how many wheels receive power automatically. An AWD vehicle is different from a 4WD vehicle because they don't change between 2WD and 4WD.

That said, some vehicles require you to change into 4WD manually. To change to 4WD, simply move the shifter into 4L or 4H. 4H allows you to drive at speeds close to 55 miles per hour, while 4L is for getting your vehicle out of tough spots.

Sold out

Sold out

Sold out

Check the Basics (Oil & Antifreeze, Battery, Heater)

Preparing your truck for the winter also means checking the basics. Upgrading your tires and using 4WD won't save you from a lack of antifreeze or a dead battery.


Having the right battery is essential for winter preparation. Cold weather strains a car battery and prevents it from starting when temperatures reach a specific point. To avoid this problem, install a truck battery that has between 600 and 750 cold crank amps (CCA). Also, check the battery terminals for corrosion and make sure it maintains between at least 12.6 volts.


Heaters are designed to last for many years. Unfortunately, components break and heaters fail. In the winter, make sure your heater is working properly or you'll shiver on long drives. Check components like the heater core and clear obstructions to the vents in the cabin.

Oil & Antifreeze

Before the winter, change your oil and antifreeze. Having bad antifreeze will cause components to freeze, which leads to extensive damage. Oil changes aren't as important but you want the perfect amount of lubrication and friction during the winter months. Failing to change the oil may result in premature engine wear.

Helpful Snow Accessories

Several helpful snow accessories are available to prepare your truck in the winter. Some of these accessories will even help you make some extra money or clear your driveway faster.

Snow Plow

Snow plows are great accessories to help you prepare for the winter. A snow plow mounts to the front of your pickup truck and allows you to push snow and other types of debris to the side. Snow plows make it easy to get out of your driveway and many companies spend a lot of money to plow parking lots. In many cases, snow plows pay for themselves.

Snow Pulley Assembly

Snow pulleys typically come as snow plow pulley assemblies but some pulleys mount to bumpers. These pulleys help you pull other vehicles out of the snow. To use one, simply mount it to your bumper and attach it to the hitch of another vehicle. Some require you to turn a crank but many are automatic.

Tire Chains

Tire chains are a simple addition to trucks that improve traction in the snow. These chains wrap around the tread of tires and prevent the tread from slipping in the snow or on ice. Overall, they're effective because it gives your tires more chances to grip the road. There are some drawbacks to tire chains as well as precautions you should take. For example, it's never a good idea to drive fast with them. Tire chains also reduce your fuel efficiency.

Tow Hitches

Tow hitches are another important component. Most trucks come with tow hitches but if your truck doesn't have one you're in trouble if you get stuck. In the winter, tow hitches give rescue vehicles a place to attach a pulley. Without a tow hitch, rescue vehicles have to attach the pulley to your truck's chassis, which may cause warping and other damage.

Snow Accessories to Keep in Your Truck

Some minor accessories also make a difference for your truck in the snow. Examples of some other accessories are listed below.

  • Jumper cables
  • Compact snow shovels
  • Salt & salt spreaders
  • Snowbrush
  • Ice scrapers
  • Flashlights
  • Extra clothing
  • Portable air compressors
  • Tool kits
  • First aid kits
  • Gas cans

These are only some of the helpful accessories to keep in your truck. Depending on the situation you might need some or all of these items. At Leonard Truck Accessories, you’ll find all the best parts and accessories to equip your truck for the winter months.

Free Ground Shipping*
Best Prices
Secure Shopping
30-Day Returns