One of the most significant selling points of a pickup truck is how easy it makes moving heavy items, from refrigerators to washing machines. There’s no doubt that your vehicle can do the job. But you have a job to do too — loading and unloading the objects into the truck’s bed.
The right tricks and tools will help you do this safely and efficiently.
1. Protect Items With Moving Blankets
Whether it’s a bed frame or a dryer, when moving heavy items with your pickup, you want to ensure they arrive in one piece. Moving blankets prevent dents and scratches and protect against dirt, pollen, and dust.
You might think that you can use regular blankets to wrap up your appliances when moving them. They don’t offer the same level as protection, however. Look for padded moving blankets made of a durable, machine-washable material like polyester. Double-stitching prevents frays and tears.
Wrap the object being moved in the blanket and then secure it with a layer of stretch wrap. You can also use moving blankets to slide heavy furniture without scuffing up floors. Moving blankets also create a soft, slidable surface for loading and unloading your pickup truck via ramps — more on that in point 5.
2. Preserve the Truck Bed With a Liner
Before you even load any objects into the truck, prepare the vehicle. To protect your pickup when moving heavy objects, invest in a truck bed liner. This keeps your cargo concealed and safe and prevents you from scuffing up the truck bed. If you have a classic truck with a metal bed, this further protects against chipped paint.
Three types of liners are available — rugged (usually made of space-age polymer), rubber, and carpeted. Different sizes are available to fit different sized trucks. For example, you can find models covering bed lengths of up to 88 or 100 inches.
For moving heavy objects, a tear-resistant carpeted liner is ideal. Before installing, wipe down the truck bed with a cleaning solvent and allow it to dry completely. Then, secure the liner with the fasteners provided, and you’re good to go.
3. Use Forearm Forklifts for Safe Carrying
Moving heavy items like a washing machine or refrigerator can wreak havoc on your back. Even if you’re working with a buddy, these appliances’ enormous weight will strain muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the spine. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up with a painful injury like a herniated disc.
Enter ergonomic forearm forklifts — your new favorite moving accessory. These allow for safe lifting. By using leverage, they make objects up to 66% lighter. Each person loops one end of the strap around each forearm, and you carry the object between the two of you. With this technique, you avoid the risk of dropping unwieldy goods.
When searching for forearm lifts, look for durable materials that won’t stretch. Polypropylene is a great option. Check the load specification before buying. Professional grade straps can support up to 800 pounds.
4. Use a Pushcart Dolly for Transport
Half the battle of loading and unloading a truck is getting the item to the vehicle. With a carry-weight of up to 400 pounds, pushcart dollies do the hard work for you. You can use the forearm forklifts to place the item on the pushcart easily.
Pushcart dollies hold hefty loads, from dishwashers to dryers. With 360-degree swivel wheels, you can easily maneuver bulky goods directly to the truck. The padded handles allow for a comfortable grip. Most dollies have a folding handle, so you can pack them up and stow them away when not in use.
A pushcart dolly is a long-term investment and the type of tool you can repeatedly use, offering an excellent bang for your buck. When you no longer need it for loading or unloading, you can transport other bulky items.
5. Turn to Ramps for Loading and Unloading
Loading ramps aren’t just handy for ATVs and boats. They are also a must-have tool when moving heavy items into your pickup. Instead of heaving a huge mattress or household appliance into the bed, you can inch items up the tracks. The moving blankets will help make this possible by providing a smooth sliding surface.
Opt for an aluminum ramp that will promote smooth sliding. Tri-fold model allows for secure storage and can be extended to various lengths depending on the height of your truck bed. You can also choose from a variety of different sizes depending on the size of the job.
For unloading, slide the object back down. This is a two-person job! For safety reasons, don’t try this alone. Use moving straps to secure the object between two persons, one on either side of the ramp. You can also use the ratchet tie down straps (see the next point) for this purpose.
6. Secure Items with Ratchet Tie Down Straps
Once you have your goods in the truck bed, secure them for transport. This ensures that nothing falls off once you’re on the road. Ratchet tie down straps are the answer, capable of holding all shapes and sizes of goods in place, whether it’s lawn equipment for motorcycles.
When selecting ratchet straps, look for fray-resistant materials, like high-quality polyester. Check the load capacity as well as the breaking strength to make sure the straps won’t break under pressure.
Secure your cargo by wrapping it with the straps and then securing them to the truck using the S-hooks at each strap’s end. Crank the ratchet until the object is secure. The strap should be taut. Finally, lock the strap securely by flipping the ratchet into the closed position.
Moving heavy items like a washing machine isn’t just tedious. It can also be dangerous if you don’t do it right. Don’t take any chances. This list gives you an overview of tricks and tools that will ensure a safe, streamlined process. I’ve also highlighted techniques to protect your goods — and, just as importantly, your truck — throughout the move.