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Growing up in snowy northern Michigan, I got used to the idea of my mom putting bags of cement in the trunk (over the rear wheels) to "improve traction" during the winter months, when at any given time, the snow could be piled up knee-high on the country roads. This made sense to my child brain, but now as an adult I'm scratching my head a bit.

  • Does adding ~100lbs of weight over the rear wheels actually help anything?
  • If so, does it only help in a rear-wheel drive car?
  • Would it also provide useful traction improvement on rainy days?
  • And finally, is the effect (if any) worth the cost in decreased gas mileage?
  • If you grew up there, did you try with and without - what did you notice? – Solar Mike Jan 19 '18 at 8:11
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    It only makes sense with Rear Wheel Drive. Use bags of sand instead, you can cut a bag open and use it if you get stuck in some cases. – GdD Jan 19 '18 at 9:59
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    Don't let the cement get wet; Dampness will ruin the cement. – blacksmith37 Jan 19 '18 at 16:18
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Adding weight definitely helps but that depends on the type of vehicle i.e FWD or RWD.

If its a RWD and if you drive solo then you can add weight but if your car is already fully loaded with people at back or cargo then you don't need to.

For best traction you want a greater percentage of the vehicle’s weight centred over the drive wheels, the wheels where the engine sends the power to propel the car. You can find more information here. https://www.lesschwab.com/learn/article/does-adding-weight-in-the-back-improve-my-cars-traction-in-snow

  • Not only fwd or rwd - if the car is rear engine (vw beetle for example) it is not necessary either... – Solar Mike Jan 19 '18 at 7:13
  • @SolarMike good point – DhKo Jan 19 '18 at 10:00
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By the nature of being built to carry cargo, trucks are light in the rear end. Unloaded, a truck will have an increased chance of tire slippage on wet, icy or muddy surfaces.

Adding weight increases the downforce on the roadway surface by the law of gravity. In those situations where the tire may slip, the extra weight helps the tires get better traction. With a pickup truck, it is important to place the weight over the rear axle to get maximum effect.

As with any vehicle, adding weight will affect fuel economy. 100 lbs in the back of a pickup truck will not likely be noticeable. I used 200 lbs when I had my pickup and it didn't make any difference in mileage.

NOTE: No amount of weight will overcome tires in poor condition.

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