Between packing everything you own, living out of boxes, transferring your utilities — moving can be a stressful event. The last thing you want to worry about is how you’re going to safely transport your belongings to your new home. If you plan to use your pickup truck, there’s a right way and a wrong way to load your things. The last thing you want is to have your stuff flying out of the back of your truck like giveaway prizes being tossed to a crowd at a live event. To help you prevent that from happening, we’ve come up with four steps to help you safely and effectively load and transport your belongings during your next move.
1. Check Your Load Capacity and Tire Pressure
Before you even begin loading your truck, there are some things you should do first. Start by checking your truck’s load capacity. It’s important not to exceed the load capacity or you could seriously damage your vehicle. You can determine load capacity by checking your owner’s manual for the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). It can also be found on a label on the rim of your driver’s door.
The GVWR is the total weight of your vehicle plus any cargo or passengers. Once you have the GVWR, subtract the weight of your truck to get the load capacity. For example, say your truck’s GVWR is 7050 lbs and your truck weighs 4500 lbs. Its load capacity would be 2550 lbs. Whatever the load capacity is, don’t exceed it. Make more than one trip if you have to.
In addition to checking the load capacity, make sure you have enough air pressure in your tires to compensate for the extra weight. Be careful not to put too much air in your tires. That could cause alignment and steering problems. Check your owner’s manual if you’re unsure about the amount of tire pressure to add.
2. Load Your Truck
When loading your truck, be sure to load the heaviest items first. The heaviest items should be closest to the cab. Try to even out the weight on both sides of your truck. Loading heavier items first and evenly distributing the weight will help to maintain good handling and steering.
You can load boxes in between the heavier items. You can also stack lighter boxes on top of heavier items. Just be careful not to stack items too high or you could lose them while driving. You should also disassemble any bed frames or other furniture that can be taken apart before loading them in the truck. Carefully wrap any pictures or mirrors and be sure to put them where they won’t move. Things should be snug so they won’t shift around. Electronics and other valuables should be placed in the cab of your truck.
3. Strap it Down
As you load things, be sure to strap them down so they don’t fly out or get damaged. The best way to secure your belongings is to use ratchet strap tie-downs. A ratchet strap has a hook on one end and a lever mechanism with a short strap and hooks on the other end. To use the straps, secure the hooks and then slide the strap through the middle slot in the direction you started from. Pull most of the slack out of the strap and begin moving the lever forward. The strap will tighten as you move the lever.
4. Cover Your Belongings
Once you have everything loaded and tied down, you should place a tarp or webbing over everything. This just adds an extra layer of security and helps to ensure that nothing flies out while driving. It can also help to protect your belongings if it’s raining outside. Once you’ve covered everything, you should tie down the tarp or webbing with ratchet straps. Be sure to secure the hooks to something strong, like the truck anchor points or rails on your truck bed.
So there you have it. Following these four steps will help to ensure your belongings arrive safely at your new home. Others on the road will also benefit from you taking the time to carefully load and secure your items.