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How-To Guide

How to Properly Load a Lawn Tractor into a Pickup Truck or Trailer

 Updated on: July 20th, 2020

How to Properly Load a Lawn Tractor into a Pickup Truck

Anyone who’s seen the lawn mower loading fail videos on YouTube knows loading lawn tractors and riding mowers into the bed of a truck or trailer can be dangerous if not done properly. Loading safely is a delicate marriage that requires pairing the correct ramp for your specific type of lawn mower, situation, and truck or trailer height.

In this article, we touch on common problems, cover the proper loading process, and remind you to tie-down your equipment before hitting the road.

Arched ramps compensate for low ground clearance

As you might imagine, all lawn mowing equipment from lawn tractors or riding mowers have very low ground clearance because of the cutting deck. This low height can be a problem when it comes to loading because it creates the risk of high-centering the mower when it gets to the top of the ramp. The best solution for this is to choose a ramp that is a) long enough and b) incorporates an arch to gently bring that mower up and over the lip of your tailgate without damage to your truck or your equipment.

Zero-turn lawn mowers will require wider, stronger ramps

When dealing with zero-turn mowers you have two additional obstacles: variance in wheel offsets and uneven weight distribution. Take these into consideration when choosing the right loading ramp and make sure to pick a zero-turn mower ramp that’s wide enough to accommodate the wheel gap, as well as one with a higher weight capacity to compensate for the total weight of the equipment.

If backing up is not an option, make sure your ramps are long enough to avoid tipping

The center of gravity on most garden tractors is higher than you might think, which can lead to tipping or flipping when going up a steep incline. Longer ramps will help to keep you and your tractor right side up!

Keeping the above in mind, the only thing left to do before you get started is to make sure you’re investing in the right ramp and other essential loading equipment to make the job as safe and seamless as possible.

How long should my lawn mower ramps be?

Ramps are our specialty, and we’re made it incredibly easy to calculate the minimum ramp length you will need for your specific piece of mowing equipment. Fill in the Lawn Mower Calculator form below, and once you have a baseline for the length it’s time to decide on the width set-up (full-width or dual runner), rung or plate surface, and any other bells and whistles.

Fill in the form below to see the minimum ramp length you need.

Please enter Wheelbase.
Please enter Ground Clearance.
Please enter Loading Height.
Minimum ramp length = ft. (1:12 Slope)

The proper loading process

Once your ramps, vehicle and mower are ready to go, here are the steps to see the process through safely:

Park your truck on a flat surface

Park your truck or trailer on a flat surface, or facing a slight incline—this will reduce the steepness of the loading angle by bringing the feet of the ramps up. Set the parking brake to make sure that there will be no unexpected shifting as you start to load.

Unfold the ramps and place the finger or plate ends

Unfold the ramps and place the finger or plate ends on the edge of the tailgate or trailer. Your ramps will most likely have come with safety straps, and if they didn’t then make sure you procure some. This is one of the most important steps for safe loading!

  • For trucks: Secure the ramps to the truck via the bumper (steel bumpers only)
  • For trailers: Secure the ramps to the trailer hitch safety chain loops.

If the tie-down straps are not secured to the truck, you run the risk of having the ramps slide out while you and the tractor are on the ramp, which will most certainly result in damage to your equipment or personal injury.

Unfold the ramps and place the finger or plate ends

With the ramps secured, it’s time to load. If you are comfortable doing so, reverse the mower in to keep the center of gravity lower and prevent it from doing a wheelie. It will be a lot easier to do that when loading into a trailer than a truck, so consider your comfort level and what makes the most sense for your situation.

carefully and confidently drive it forward up the ramps, into the bed of the truck

As you ride the mower up, keep it in low gear and do not stop midway. Channel that confidence and drive it on up without stopping. If you do have to stop for any reason, it’s better to let the mower/tractor roll all the way to the ground before trying again to ensure that you have the momentum to clear the ramp.

Unfold the ramps and place the finger or plate ends

Once in the truck bed or on the trailer, set the mower/tractor parking brake and grab your tie-down straps. See below for additional important information about tying down your equipment.

Securing your mower to your truck or trailer with tie-down straps

The last thing you want is to be driving down the highway only to hear or see your equipment rattling around in the back. Securing your mower will ensure that the it stays in place as your travel, especially at higher speeds. Ratchet straps are the best choice, but any quality strap will work. Never use bungee straps, as the material can stretch and snap if the straps are older and they usually aren’t rated for the weight of larger equipment. Chains are another solid choice as long as they are rated for the weight. Rope will suffice in a pinch, but shouldn’t be relied on for regular use.