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What do you load in your truck bed? A truck’s bed is where many things are carried, stored, and used. This space can be ideal for hauling a load of mulch or soil but also transformed into the central location of your tailgate party. Many people carry dirt bikes, lawn tractors, or ATVs in a truck bed. GM recently filed a patent for foldable ramps to ease the burden of carrying wheeled vehicles in the truck bed.

Foldable Loading Ramp on the back of a truck used for loading dirt bikes and motorcycles.
Foldable Loading Ramp | iStock images/Prapat Aluminum

How difficult is it to load ATVs and lawn tractors into truck beds?

The best way to load wheeled vehicles into truck beds requires a set of ramps. These ramps are typically made of aluminum or wood, with a metal piece that smooths the transition from the ramp to the bed.

Unfortunately, some ramps aren’t long enough, and have a low enough angle to allow some wheeled vehicles to climb into the truck bed. When this happens, a ground area with a slope is required to reduce the angle. When ramps are long enough to load lawn tractors, the ramps might stick out behind the truck’s tailgate and require a flag to warn others of the potential obstacle.

While not extremely difficult, loading and unloading lawn tractors and ATVs from a truck bed requires more equipment than if the truck came with built-in ramps.

What does the GM patent cover?

GM filed a new patent application for a foldable ramp design recently. GM filed this patent on July 13, 2022, and published it on January 18, 2024. The patent describes a foldable ramp design system that makes loading and unloading items in the bed of a pickup truck much easier.

Unlike wooden or aluminum ramps, this patent shows foldable ramp sections joined by a hinge. The ramp would fit within the GM truck’s bedside to store away easily when not in use. This could solve many loading and unloading challenges associated with ATVs, motorcycles, and lawn tractors.

Does this new GM patent design present any challenges?

Most new ideas come with some challenges. Using foldable ramps instead of solid pieces comes with specific challenges. The hinged part of the ramp must be strong enough to handle the weight of items going into the truck’s bed. This means using heavier materials and a thicker structure, which increases the truck’s weight.

If the ramps are too heavy, they might not make loading and unloading easier for users to move them. These ramps could be a viable option for new GM trucks, if made of a strong, lightweight material. This would give new truck owners a more useful pickup.

Source: GM Authority