Garaging a Pickup? 6 Things to Consider

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Everyone who owns a pickup truck, full-size or not, seems to have a funny — or not-so-funny — story about parking their pickup in their garage or other parking structures. Yes, pickups are bigger than most automobiles, yet more people than you’d think forget that.

Excluding the warning signs about roof height you might see at the entrance of a multistory shopping mall parking garage or underground parking lot, there are many common-sense things to consider when parking your pickup at home or away.

It’s not just about whether if fits: Can you can pull in far enough to close the garage door or fit between the white lines? You also must think about opening doors and being able to walk around the truck to enter the house. And don’t forget those pesky support beams and low-hanging door motors. In parking garages, you also must be mindful of support beams, turning radiuses and the vehicles you park between.

During recent testing in the Pacific Northwest with a pair of Toyota pickups, we had the chance to compare 2018 Tundra half-ton and Tacoma mid-size pickups in a residential garage. The garage housed storage closets and cabinets, a hot water heater, air conditioning, a water softener, a center support beam and an access door to the house. When we compared the trucks in different parking spots in the garage, the results were informative, so we’re sharing them with you.

Here are six things to consider before you purchase your next pickup if you plan to park it in a garage. Remember, just because they fit doesn’t mean garaging it will work for you.

1. Ceiling Height

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Measure to the lowest point of the garage ceiling; many garages have automatic garage doors and the motors for those will severely affect how much clearance you’ll have to work with. That height will determine whether a mid-size, half-ton or heavy-duty pickup will fit.

2. Will the Garage Door Close?

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Making sure you can close the garage door may seem obvious, but in the case of the garage we used for our test, one parking space had significantly more room behind the trucks than the other space. Our Tundra barely fit in the smaller space.

3. Truck Length

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Also a bit obvious, the length of the pickup you purchase will matter. Just about every U.S. pickup model offers at least two different bed lengths and two cab configurations, both of which will affect the wheelbase and overall length. A tape measure will provide the absolute length of your truck, but you may need to see for yourself by bringing home your truck of choice for a garage test.

4. Support Beams

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And having room at the nose and rear bumper doesn’t mean you’re home free. Be aware of where support beams are located and where other family vehicles will be parked. Open doors on both sides of the truck to check door clearances. Not all parking structures are wide enough to accommodate large, swing-out doors.

5. Can You Move Around the Truck?

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Just because you have length and door clearance doesn’t mean you’re done checking things yet. You still need to see whether you can move around the truck in the garage with the garage and house doors closed. Make sure you have enough room to scooch around all sides of your pickup so no one gets trapped inside once it’s parked.

6. Truck Weight

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Although it may not seem important, it’s always good to know how much your vehicle weighs, empty and loaded, in case the parking garage or structure has a maximum weight limit. Both the gross vehicle weight rating and a factory calculated max payload capacity are listed on the door tags of your vehicle’s driver-side door. Of course, you can run to the nearest CAT scales at your local truck stop as well.

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Former Editor Mark Williams lives in Southern California with his wife and enjoys camping, hiking, skiing, big trucks and towing, and backcountry 4x4 driving. Email Mark Williams

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