A truck is one of the most versatile work vehicles you can add to your fleet. Most major automotive manufacturers now have these trucks on the roads to meet American drivers’ growing demand. Whether you want to use your truck for business or home use, it is important to outfit it with the best accessories to optimize it for its assigned duties. And truck ladder racks are, without a doubt, among those really useful truck accessories.
Why Install A Ladder Rack On Your Truck?
A ladder rack not only optimizes your truck for cargo handling but also makes it safer. Loading and removing ladders and other bulky items from the top of your truck is a dangerous task but a ladder rack will significantly reduce the risk of injuries.
If you use your truck for commercial purposes, a rack system will also boost the productivity of your crew. Most of the ladder racks on the market require less effort to operate and this means fewer hands to lift and remove ladders and other bulky items.
Installing a Truck Ladder Rack System
Most of the ladder racks on the market are lightweight and quite easy to install. Below are some of the steps to follow for your truck’s ladder rack installation.
Find the Right Ladder Rack
You can only install a rack system successfully if it fits your truck. When shopping for a ladder rack, consider your cargo handling needs to find the right system for you. Some ladder racks come with extra features to help in the transportation of pipes, conduits, and other supplies and tools.
Other things to consider when ordering a ladder rack include the model of the truck, the maximum total weight you expect to haul, and the warranty on the product. Where you want to install the rack is also an important factor to take in before buying one. Some racks are meant to be installed on the top or side of vans while others are designed for pickup trucks instead. You can also install the rack onto the top of a pickup truck tonneau cover for maximum cargo space.
Preparing Your Truck
Whatever the kind of truck you own, there are some essential preparation tips to consider. If you plan on installing your rack on a pickup truck, remove the bed lining to reach the metal or fiberglass body of your truck first.
A pickup body is strong enough to handle the rack and the hardware but you should check for any signs of damage including rust. Such body damage can compromise the effectiveness of the rack system and also pose a big safety risk to the user. It is advisable to repair any body damage even before considering installing a ladder rack.
Marking the Rack Position
Marking the position of the holes is one of the most important tasks when installing a ladder rack. Every truck is different in size and you should use the provided hardware to determine where you will fix the bars. To complete the whole installation, you’ll need a small hammer, a drill, protective eyewear, tape measure, screwdriver, and a wrench.
Take proper measurements and if possible, position the bottom bars on top of the truck bed edge to correctly mark the position of the holes. Once you have marked the holes, drill the holes and gather all the nuts and bolts provided in the kit.
Assembling the Rack
After prepping the truck body for installation of the ladder rack and marking the holes, unwrap the package holding the rack. The kit usually includes crossbars, mounting hardware, bed rail, and an instruction manual.
The instruction manual will help you identify all the components in the package. The first thing to do is to lay down all the parts on a flat surface and make sure they are all there. You don’t want to find out one or two bolts are missing when the rack is already on the truck. Attach each of the parts using the provided attachment hardware. For some pieces, you only need to slide one through the other before tightening using as screw or other hardware.
For every combination you do on one side, you will have corresponding parts for the other side. There are also bars and parts for the section behind the driver’s cabin. Make sure all the bolts and nuts are correctly tightened to avoid malfunction when you finally install the ladder rack.
There are multiple clamps throughout the rack system and all work together to hold everything tight. You should closely refer to the instruction manual to avoid making any errors with the assembly.
Raising the Rack System into Position
After assembly, you’ll need a second set of hands or more to help you raise the unit to the bed of the truck. Before doing this, reinstall the bed liner removed earlier.
At this point, make sure you position the rack so that it will lie perfectly on the holes you had earlier drilled in the truck body. Once the rack is in position, use the attachment hardware to tie it down securely.
Checking the Instruction Manual
There are different ladder racks on the market and each comes with unique installation requirements. It is important to follow the instructions provided. This is the only way to guarantee the performance of the ladder rack. Some racks require no drilling and instead use complex clamp systems instead to hold the bars and rails in place. Check any installation safety warnings on the parts and attach or install them as advised.
Test the Ladder Rack
Once the ladder rack is in place test its strength and functionality before putting it to work. You can test it by placing and removing a ladder using the appropriate operational mechanism. It is also important to drive the truck around to get a feel of the rack position and stability.
Ladder racks for trucks are among essential accessories if you want to get more out of your work vehicle. They boost the cargo capacity of your work vehicle and enhance safety when handling and transporting bulky items on the truck bed for a reasonable amount of money.
Trust us! Once you try one, you won’t want to work without one anymore!