How to Put ATV in Truck Bed: Don’t Make These Rookie Mistakes

Are you bored of the local ATV trails? As fun as riding quads can be, it can get boring to do keep riding on the same roads. Fortunately, all you need to transport an ATV is a truck bed. Transporting the ATV is the best option you can choose if you don’t want to buy a trailer. While this might seem intimidating to people who are new to four-wheelers, I assure you that loading the ATV into a truck bed is quite simple if you know how to do it safely.

6 simple steps to load your ATV into a truck bed:

  1. Position the four-wheeler facing the truck bed with the wheels straight;
  2. Place the ramp on the tailgate while making sure that it’s aligned with the ATV’s tires;
  3. Secure the ramp by using tie-down or ratchet straps fixed onto the truck bed (this step is very important);
  4. Put the four-wheeler into a low gear so that it produces enough power to climb the ramp;
  5. Begin by applying constant throttle until the quad reaches the top of the truck bed (do it slowly);
  6. Once the ATV is secured with straps in the truck bed, you can go ahead and remove the ramp.

The step-by-step guide featured above shows just how simple loading an ATV into a truck bed is. If you are still hesitant to carry your ATV in a truck bed, then you should keep reading because I will explain each step of the guide in more detail. I will share some video guides, but that’s not all. I’ll reveal a secret method for loading your ATV without a ramp!

infographic showing how to put ATV in truck bed

How Do You Put an ATV in a Truck Bed?

carry ATV with truck

Right from the get-go, I need to mention that you need a ramp to load an ATV intro a truck bed. While there might be some ways around it, using a ramp is always the way I choose to do it because it’s the safe way. Even though buying a ramp is an extra expense, it’s definitely worth it. You will be able to visit any ATV trail without having to pay for logistics.

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When it comes to choosing the best type of loading ramp, my personal favorite is the dual-runner because it has two individual ramps that are easy to transport and line up with your tires. Safety straps are a must not only for securing your ramp but your ATV as well. Personally, I would invest in ratchet straps, but tie-down ones work very well too.

With that out of the way, here are the steps you need to follow to correctly put an ATV in a truck bed:

#1 Position your ATV

I like to start out by driving my ATV right in the back of the truck, leaving enough space for the ramp to be attached. I make sure that my tires are facing straight forward to avoid any issues when going up the ramp.

#2 Position the ramp

Now that you have your ATV in the right position, it’s time to add the ramp on the tailgate. Make sure the center of the tires lines up with the ramp, especially if you are using a dual runner. This way, your ATV will run up smoothly in the back of your truck.

#3 Secure the ramp

If your ramp is not securely attached to your truck, then it will fly out from under you and cause the ATV to flip over. This is, obviously, extremely dangerous. In order to avoid any issues, you need to use a safety strap to attach the back of the ramp to the safety chain hook-up on your truck. Tighten the straps to make sure the ramp won’t move when you load your ATV. You can read my how to strap an ATV guide to see the best way to do it.

#4 Drive up the in a low gear

Use the lowest gear on your quad and apply constant throttle to drive up. Do not let go of the throttle before you reach the truck bed because you will slide backward.

#5 Slowly approach the front of the truck bed

With patience, creep up the ATV to only leave a few inches between your cabin and your vehicle. This will ensure that even if you have a 6-wheeler, the back wheels are not pressing too hard on the tailgate. The weight of your quad can crush your tailgate, so make sure it is properly distributed in your truck bed.

I know that visual learning is sometimes the best way of figuring stuff out, especially when it comes to new techniques like loading an ATV into a truck. This is why I decided to include this detailed video from AutoGuide which is a visual representation of the steps I just shared with you:

Can You Put an ATV Into a Truck Bed Without Using a Ramp?

Loading an ATV into a truck bed without a ramp is not the best way to do it, but it’s possible. You just have to be a little creative. Whether you don’t want to buy a ramp or have enough time to get one from the store because you are feeling spontaneous, you should be pleased to know that there are two ways to put a quad into a truck bed without any extra equipment. Here is how you can do it:

#1 Use a Winch

As previously mentioned, you have to get creative to load four-wheelers into truck beds when there isn’t a ramp around. Using a winch is a simple way to do it. You need to secure the winch to a nearby tree or post, attach the cable to the front of ATV and use the winch to slowly pull up the quad. You will be guiding the ATV from the back and therefore, you need to be extra careful not to make any mistakes.

#2 Use a Loading Dock or Raised Surface

If you are lucky enough to have a loading dock or raised surface nearby, you can use it to get the ATV on top of the truck bed. Begin by backing up the truck to the edge of the dock (or raised surface). Now position the ATV on the raised surface and begin pushing it onto the track ATV. You will probably not be able to do this all on your own. So, it’s best to ask some friends for help.

Top 3 Beginner Mistakes to Avoid When Loading Four-Wheelers Into Trucks

ATV secured to a truck bed

Let’s face it. Loading a four-wheeler into a truck bed is scary when you are doing it for the first time. There is no shame about it. After all, a small mistake and you will have to pay hundreds of dollars in repairs. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case for you. When I first started the ATV-Outdoors blog I made it a goal to teach others to avoid all the beginner mistakes I made. Nonetheless, here are the most common beginner mistakes you need to avoid:

  • Applying too much throttle

Applying too much throttle when loading the four-wheeler is one of the worst things you can do. The quad will go too fast and you risk hitting the truck bed.

  • Failing to Use the Straps Correctly

You should always double-check that you strapped the ATV correctly in the truck bed. If you don’t do it, then you risk causing serious damage to both the ATV and the truck.

  • Incorrect Ramp Placement

The part I struggled with the most when first loading my ATV was the ramp placement. If you don’t place the ramp on the tailgate with the centerline of the ATV’s tires directly aligned, then you will make it way more challenging to get the vehicle into the truck bred.

Final Words

As challenging as putting an ATV into a truck bed might seem daunting if you are a beginner, you can definitely get it done safely by using a ramp. My beginner guide shows how to do it in six easy steps, but there are also some alternative solutions without a ramp. However, I highly advise investing in a ramp. After all, it’s a lifelong investment that will be worth it.

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at if you want to get in touch.

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