How to Put ATV in Truck Bed: Avoid This Beginner Mistake

If you are ready to explore new and exciting trails beyond your local area, then it’s time to learn how to transport your ATV safely. Every beginner off-road rider will ask themselves: “how do you put an ATV in a truck bed?” at some point, so let’s put this question to rest. Today’s article is all about this topic, and it includes a detailed guide on how to safely load your quad into your truck.

In order to put an ATV in a truck bed, you need two items: a ramp and safety straps. You start by positioning the quad with its tires straight, facing the truck bed. Position the ramp on the tailgate so that the centerline of the ATV’s tires are directly aligned with the ramp. Do not proceed before securing the ramp to the back of your truck with either tie-down or ratchet straps. Afterward, put your quad into 4LO to produce enough power to straddle the ramp. Apply constant throttle until you are on top of the truck bed, then slowly creep the quad towards the front. Remove the ramp and secure the ATV with the safety straps to compress the suspension.

Loading an ATV into a truck bed is not as difficult as you think, as long as you know what you are doing. In the following paragraphs, I’ll expand on the process and give you my personal tips to make your experience easier. Keep tuned to learn about how you can put your ATV in a truck bed when you don’t have a ramp available as well.

How Do You Put an ATV in a Truck Bed?

carry ATV with truck

The first step for loading your quad into your truck is investing in a good ramp. I know it’s an extra expense that might not seem worth it, but in my opinion, it’s a life-long investment. With the right ramp, you can load other off-road vehicles as well, such as a side by side or a dirt bike.

If you are a big off-road enthusiast like myself, you will be sure to enjoy how easy and safe it is to load your machines with a trustworthy ramp. You can choose a bi-fold, a tri-fold, or a dual-runner. My personal favorite is the latter 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.

Now 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.

#4 Drive up the ramp at 4LO

Use 4LO or the lowest gear on your quad and apply throttle. Do not let go of the throttle before you reach the truck bed because you will slide backwards.

#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 that is a visual representation of the steps I just shared with you:


How Do You Install a Quad Without a Ramp?

Let’s say you are going on a spontaneous trip with friends, and there is no time to research and purchase a good aluminum ramp. Well, there is still quite an easy method of loading your ATV without too much fuss that you can try. For this one, you will need to start off with your quad on an elevated surface, such as a hill.

Drive up the hill with your ATV, then back up the truck next to it. The tailgate should not be higher than the middle of your quad’s tires so that you can easily drive up into the truck bed. After you are up on the truck, slowly creep up towards the front of the truck bed and secure your ATV down with straps. Make sure to leave your quad in park and take off the keys before driving off. If your elevated surface is not high enough to drive up the tailgate, you can use the advantage to lift it off manually and push it into the truck with the help of a friend.

Are you worried about getting a flat tire on your ATV? You should consider reading my article on how to patch ATV tires.

Can a Side By Side Fit in a Truck Bed?

hauling side by side

First and foremost, if you know your side by side is wider than 60 inches, you can say goodbye to transporting it with your pickup truck. But not all side by sides are that large, so there is a possibility you can still transport a UTV with your truck.

While most ATVs are short enough to not worry about fitting them on a truck bed, the same cannot be said for UTVs. A quad usually sits at around 85 inches long, whereas a side by side can have as much as 160 inches. Even though large Yamahas and Can-Ams are better off transported with a trailer, most SXSs under 115 inches will be able to fit onto a truck bed.

However, much like UTVs, not all trucks come in the same shape and size. Most truck beds can be divided into three general categories:

  • short beds: around 70 inches long that can only fit a handful of side by sides;
  • standard beds: around 78 inches long;
  • long beds: around 90 inches long, this being the best option for UTV owners.

Even if you have a shorter SXS, you will most likely use the tailgate for added length. So be sure to distribute the weight evenly or use support bars to strengthen the tailgate.

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.

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