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Before buying a Side by Side I wanted to know all the different expenses involved and one of the big costs is going to be how to haul a UTV. Questions came up like: does my current truck work? Am I going to have to invest in a trailer? Which UTVs will actually fit in my truck bed?
When investigating these questions I didn’t find just one source for all the answers I was searching for so I decided to make one.
UTVs That Fit in a Truck
In general, the side by sides that are going to fit into a truck bed are the trail class UTVs that are 50″ wide and under. Here are some examples:
- Cam-Am Maverick Trail
- Polaris RZR 570 / 800 / 900
- Honda Pioneer 500
- Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail
- Older Yamaha Rhino (52″)
Some things to consider now will be getting the UTV up into the truck, keeping the weight off the tailgate, and not smashing into the back window.
And for all of you wanting to fit a larger 60″ UTV, there are still options out there for your truck. Keep reading.
Advantages of Hauling a UTV in your Truck
- Speed can be a factor. In almost every state there is a towing max speed limit of between 55 – 65 Mph. Here is a great resource to find specific state information. drivinglaws.aaa.com
- You won’t have the additional costs of owning a trailer like licensing, maintaining, or storing.
- You can free up your hitch for towing additional toys or a camper. (This could be an answer to the question: how to haul 3 side by sides)
The Average Truck Bed Size
The two average truck beds we are going to be talking about here are the ‘short bed’ and ‘long bed’ truck beds which are 6′ and 8′ in length roughly. Both are designed to be able to pick up building materials that come in 4′ x 8′ sizes like drywall or OSB particle board in between the wheel wells.
There is only 48″ in between the wheel wells and a trail UTV is usually right at 50″ so that means you will have to drive up and over one or both of the large wheel well ‘humps’ in the back of the truck.
In the picture below, this person fabricated a ramp system for the back of their truck to get around the wheel wells.
Weight on the Tail Gate
Because of the overall length of most UTVs, the tailgate will have to remain down as the UTV will be sitting on it. Tailgates were not designed to hold a significant load so you will need a solution.
I have seen some different custom fabricated options in the forums where people weld up some square tubing going from the end of the tailgate all the way down to the receiver hitch of the truck for added support.
A company called DG Manufacturing created a product that looks like a steel strap that works in conjunction with your stock tailgate cables. The Tailgate EX Support is available for just about every truck on the market and are in the $80 range. Click here to go shop for one on Amazon.
Getting a Side by Side up into your Truck
There are many options when it comes to getting the UTV in your truck whether it be just a couple ramps all the way up to a push-button system.
If you are going to use just a pair of ramps you will want to make sure you buy ramps that have a weight rating that covers your UTV, any fuel in it, and your weight included. That should be in the 1500lb range. Don’t just ‘wing it’ with some old lumber you have laying around the house. Be safe.
A great ramp option is the Yaheetech Aluminum folding ramps. They have a 1500lb capacity rating and come with safety straps to hook to your truck to make loading safer. They are in the $150 range and you can click here to go shop for them on Amazon.
When it comes to loading a UTV in a truck bed, I recommended you pull it in backward so that the majority of the weight is not directly over the tailgate. The engine in a UTV is located above the back wheels making that area the heaviest. This is where you would want to get a product like the Tailgate EX Support mentioned earlier for added tailgate strength.
Truck Cab Safety
Something to consider when putting a UTV directly in the bed of a truck is keeping your Side by Side from driving right into the back of the truck cab.
Two great options for keeping your truck cab safe are wheel chocks for the UTV and a headache rack for the truck.
The wheel chocks can be a very inexpensive way to avoid a very expensive accident. This could be something you make yourself out of wood or you can buy plastic chocks on Amazon for around $16.
A headache rack is a metal frame system that helps protect the back window and cab area of a truck. It is also used as a way to haul lumber and ladders that are too long for the truck bed. This is something you could custom fabricate or just pick one up off of Amazon for $140.
Don’t forget straps. No matter what solution you end up deciding on you will want to buy some good straps to keep your UTV securely in place. Make sure they are rated to secure 1500lbs or more. Click here for our recommendation on Amazon.
Another ramp option that has a unique pivoting system is the Mad-Ramps. It connects to your receiver hitch for a quick secure installation and keeps the back wheels of the UTV just off the tailgate for added safety. Mad-Ramps sell for $995 plus tax and shipping. See them in action below and visit their website to check out their 27 five star reviews! madramps.com
One great feature of the Mad-Ramps is that you don’t have to remove the ramps every time. You just simply slide the forward and lock them in place as opposed to removing them completely and then having to find somewhere to store them during transport.
The In-The-Truckbed Rack and Ramp Option
A custom metal fabrication company called Tumbleweed-Mfg out of Amarillo, TX has made a rack setup that attaches to and is supported by your receiver hitch and on the other end connects to a gooseneck ball.
The large rectangular frame can be installed by one person and will let you put a 4 seat UTV in a 6.5′ truck bed. Check out this YouTube video to see it in action and give them a call at 806-622-9411 to get yours.
UTV Carrier Rack
For a lot of truck owners, the idea of a carrier rack can be a very appealing one as it puts the UTV up and out of the way of the tailgate making it possible to tow a trailer or camper as well as haul the UTV. This also frees up the bed of the truck to store more gear.
DiamondBack sells a flatbed carrier rack that is mounted to the top of your truck bed and sits on top of your bed rails much like a Tonneau cover.
It has a built-in headache rack so you don’t have to worry about smashing your back window and includes ramps and a tailgate-panel jack post that lets you open and close the tailgate with a UTV loaded.
This carrier rack accommodates for UTVs up to 60″ wide and is priced in the $2800-$3300 range depending on which finish option you choose. Delivery in the US is included. Diamondbackcovers.com
4 Seater UTV Truck Rack
So you have a larger 60″ Side by Side and still want to fit it in your truck? A company called Green Mountain Metalworks custom fabricates rack systems that extend up and above the cab of the truck to accommodate for larger UTVs like the Can-am Maverick X3 Max and other 4-seater UTVs.
They make a bold claim that they can custom build a rack for almost any truck and UTV. The racks advertised on their site are in the $2400 – $2600 range and they offer accessories like a roof guard, winch mount, and fuel can rack. Get yours started today with a $515 deposit by visiting gmmetalworks.com.
The Hydraulic Lift Option
If you really wanted to go all out on your truck rack option then the Hydraulic Tufflift is in a category of its own. They specialize in custom fabricating what amounts to a flat deck that you can park a UTV on at ground level and then a hydraulic arm pulls/lifts your load up onto your truck.
These bad boys are in the $10k – $15k range but they do offer financing and occasionally offer used trade-ins on their Facebook page. If you want to see more videos, check out their website at tufflift.net.
What NOT To Do
The video below shows plenty of examples of what NOT to do including… trying to load without ramps, not securing ramps, wheelieing into a vehicle, jumping/pulling/throwing out of a vehicle, and just a lot of stupidity.